More than 100,000 people recently attended the 30th anniversary of the Lollapalooza music festival, over four days in downtown Chicago. And media outlets are very concerned about the large gathering.
Great Britain’s Independent newspaper reports, “photos of huge, unmasked crowds are spurring fears that the music festival could become a coronavirus super-spreader event,” while Chicago Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington claimed, “now ahead, comes the major COVID-19 outbreak, super-spreader style. That’s not just the likely outcome of Chicago’s just concluded four-day music festival. It’s a certainty.”
Event planners claim more than 90% of attendees showed proof of vaccination the first day, with approximately 600 turned away because they didn’t show proof or bring a mask. Face coverings were required indoors on the weekend, but no restrictions applied to the outdoor spaces — as evidenced in overhead photos of Chicago’s Grant Park. Fake vaccine cards also seemed readily available.
“The concert could lead to an increase in cases, but does an increase mean a large increase in people getting sick? Most likely not,” a Chicagoan who attended Lollapalooza told Alpha News. “Our country’s priorities for COVID have always been stopping hospitalizations and death. If going to a crowded stadium or music venue is uncomfortable for you, don’t go. But please don’t take away the rights of other people to enjoy themselves and manage risk as we do daily.”
Indeed, it’s mostly an outdoor gathering of lower-risk people, who are vaccinated or recently tested negative.
In response to the concerns, embattled Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Sunday that millions had already attended events this summer across the Windy City, including baseball games and other music festivals.
“We’ve been able to open but do it with care because of the vaccinations,” Lightfoot said. “So I feel very good about what we’ve done. Obviously, we’ll know a little bit more in a week to 10 days. But we have to keep pushing the fact that the unvaccinated are the people that are at risk.”
Another popular music festival began Thursday in northwest Minnesota. Because the event expects large crowds, WE Fest organizers made several adjustments ahead of time.
The Minnesota State Fair — the largest of its kind in the United States by daily attendance — is undecided on a mask mandate for its annual 12-day event later this month.
Several Minnesota counties currently recommend everyone mask up, with the Twin Cities requiring the covering in government buildings and schools.
A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.