Will Lolla Go On? Organizers Still Haven't Announced Future of Chicago Festival

Organizers and city officials have been teasing a decision for weeks, even saying an announcement was expected last week

Daniel Boczarski/Redferns

With Milwaukee's popular Summerfest and Chicago's Pitchfork both canceled due to coronavirus, many are still questioning if Lollapalooza will go on.

Organizers and city officials have been teasing a decision for weeks, even saying an announcement was expected last week.

"I expect that we'll be making a decision sometime next week," Lightfoot said during a news briefing on May 22.

But no such announcement has been made.

Organizers of the city's biggest music festival repeatedly said they expected to make a decision on Lollapalooza's fate by the end of May.

"As a reminder, we remain in touch with our partners in the City of Chicago about this year's Lollapalooza," organizers said in an email to fans earlier late last month. "As the festival is still several months away, we are taking careful consideration to work through our options. We are confident that we will have enough information to make a definitive decision about the path forward by the end of May."

Lollapalooza is scheduled to be held over four days, from July 30 through August 2, in the city's Grant Park. Last year it drew roughly 400,000 people to Chicago.

Pitchfork Music Festival - also held annually in Chicago - announced earlier this month that it was canceling its 2020 event due to coronavirus.

"It can be pretty daunting to think about the future of live music right now, but know that we are fully committed to bringing Pitchfork Music Festival back in 2021, if the public health situation allows for it," the fest wrote on its website. "In the meantime, we urge everyone to follow local health department guidelines. We are in this together, and, if we all do our part, we’ll celebrate next year in person."

Meanwhile, the group plans to host live streams to "use the full weight of Pitchfork to support musicians and the community around our festival."

On Thursday, Summerfest announced that it would also cancel. The event, which typically takes place in July, had already been postponed to September due to concerns over the virus.

"After careful, diligent, and thoughtful consideration and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our community - including artists, fans, vendors, participants and staff – Summerfest presented by American Family Insurance will not take place in September 2020, as previously announced," Don Smiley, president & CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., said in a statement. "It is our honor to be responsible for such a storied tradition.  With five decades of festivals, countless legendary performances and millions of memories, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. explored numerous options to ensure the Summerfest tradition could continue in 2020 in a safe and healthy manner. Yet, given the information available today, and the uncertainty surrounding very large gatherings, we cannot in good conscience proceed with the festival this year.  The immediate future presents multiple levels of risk for our fans, and we choose the side of safety."

Refunds for those who already purchased tickets are available, organizers said.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, the city entered phase three of its reopening plan Wednesday, loosening some restrictions after weeks of a stay-at-home order.

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