Lollapalooza Back in Chicago, But COVID Vaccine Proof or Negative Test Required to Attend

The Lollapalooza music festival will be held again in Chicago's Grant Park this year, but attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test for COVID-19 to be permitted to enter.

The festival starts Thursday and runs for four days with a rough estimate of 100,000 daily attendees. All attendees must either provide their vaccination cards or a negative COVID-19 test that is no more than 72 hours old, meaning unvaccinated attendees with four-day passes will need to get tested twice. Additionally, anyone who is unvaccinated will be required to wear a mask, the Associated Press reported.

Public health officials and others have raised concerns over the size of the gathering as the Delta variant continues to cause a rise in COVID-19 cases across the country.

The festival was held virtually last year due to coronavirus, and will now be Chicago's largest gathering since the pandemic began. Although the event will be held outdoors, there are concerns it could turn into a super-spreader event.

A music festival attended by 20,000 people over two days earlier this month in the Netherlands with similar safeguards to Lollapalooza's led to nearly 1,000 cases of COVID-19, CNBC reported.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Lollapalooza sign
Lollapalooza will be held in-person this week at Grant Park in Chicago, and all attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Above, the general view during Lollapalooza Festival 2011 at Grant Park on August 7, 2011 in Chicago. Daniel Boczarski/Redferns via Getty Images

Despite the recent spike in cases caused by the highly contagious Delta variant, Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said this week that she feels comfortable with Lollapalooza going ahead as planned because of the precautions organizers are taking, saying they have gone "above and beyond."

In addition to the entry requirements, organizers have looked at air ventilation for any indoor spaces, made sure backstage workers are vaccinated, will make masks available and will test ticket-takers.

"I would not feel comfortable moving ahead with Lollapalooza without COVID protocols in place," Arwady said. "I don't think I would feel comfortable if this were an indoor event, either. And I frankly don't think I would feel comfortable if we were sitting in Louisiana right now, where cases are looking like they're looking."

In fact, while the number of new cases has climbed in recent days — 176 a day compared to 104 a day a week ago — the city has not seen the kind of surge reported in other parts of the country and the daily average number of deaths and hospitalizations have dropped slightly.

"We're taking COVID seriously," Arwady said.

At the same time, "When you're having this many folks who are coming through almost certainly there will be some cases. But I'm confident that the combination of what we know about limiting risk in outdoor settings, pairing that with vaccination and or testing and ideally mostly vaccination, which is what we expect, as well as all the other mitigation factors.

Lollapalooza officials did not immediately respond to a request for further information on its screening process, but on the festival's website, they say that there will be people manning every entryway to search all bags that attendees are carrying as well as make sure nobody is allowed entry carrying anything other than small purses, totes and drawstring bags.

Lollapalooza festival attendees
Lollapalooza will be held as an in-person event this year after being held virtually in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is expected to be the largest event in Chicago since the pandemic started. Above, the general atmosphere seen on day four of Lollapalooza at Grant Park on August 4, 2019 in Chicago. Michael Hickey/Getty Images