Add Lollapalooza to the long list of canceled events in 2020.
One of the country’s premier music festivals, which attracts about 400,000 people to Grant Park in downtown Chicago each summer, won’t happen in 2020.
The City of Chicago Tuesday canceled all permitted special events through Labor Day, including Lollapalooza, the Taste of Chicago and the Chicago Air and Water Show. The city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events announced an alternative summer program featuring 150 events including virtual concerts, drive-in movies and at-home dance parties.
The 2020 Lollapalooza lineup was never released. It's a major music festival, drawing artists from pop, rock, hip-hop and EDM. Last year, performers included Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots, Ariana Grande, Kacey Musgraves, Janelle Monáe, Lil Wayne and Guns N' Roses.
Lollapalooza organizers don't have to worry about issuing refunds – a major issue for the live music industry amid the pandemic – because they postponed putting tickets on sale in March, when the coronavirus pandemic effectively shut down the live music events.
In place of a traditional Lollapalooza, the City of Chicago announced that the festival will offer a special livestream event the weekend it was supposed to take place, July 30 to Aug. 2. Details are to be announced next month.
“We must provide ways for people to enjoy the spirit of a Chicago summer while prioritizing health and safety,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “As difficult as it is to remove these in-person events from our calendar, we are pulling out all the stops for an inventive, engaging and fun festival season this summer.”
Illinois has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19. The state reported 5,924 deaths and 128,415 confirmed cases as of Tuesday morning, with the vast majority happening in Cook County, which includes Chicago. Nationwide there have been 110,375 deaths and over 1.9 million cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Michael Rapino, CEO for Live Nation, which has a controlling stake in Lollapalooza promoter C3 Presents, told investors May 7 the live music industry wouldn’t return in full force until summer 2021. More than 1,700 independent promoters and venues have joined a new organization, the National Independent Venues Association, to lobby Congress for their survival.
Several major festivals around the world — like Glastonbury in England, South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival — have been called off for 2020. Milwaukee's Summerfest, one of the largest music festivals in America, canceled for the first time in its 53 year history Thursday.
Other big festivals — like Bonnaroo in Tennessee and Coachella in California— are postponed to the fall. But late last month, Bloomberg reported that Goldenvoice, the promoter behind Coachella, has been asking acts booked for 2020 if they’ll instead play the festival next year.
Contributing: Jennifer McClellan, USA TODAY
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