CHICAGO (WLS) — Huge crowds formed in Downtown Chicago Thursday as thousands descended on Grant Park for the first day of Lollapalooza, and local restaurants and businesses are ready to cash in.
Billie Eillish took the stage Thursday night in front of a massive high-energy crowd. That energy is expected to carry on all throughout the weekend with other upcoming headliners, such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kendrick Lamar.
Eager fans poured into Grant Park when the front gates opened Thursday morning.
Lollapalooza fans rush in after gates open
“Right in the neighborhood… great bands… ton of fun,” said Mike Francis, who said he has attended every Lollapalooza.
The premier Chicago summer festival is taking center stage once again this weekend in the city, and with it comes crowds from all across the country and world.
Y-Myah Tonge came from New York.
“Chicago is great so far,” Tonge said. “I love it. I feel like it’s better than New York. Sorry New York people.”
She’s one of dozens of Billie Eilish fans who got in line overnight so they could get as close as possible to the stage when the gates opened.
May Gonzalez from Canada devised a plan.
“My brother he is gonna come and he’s gonna help me run for the barricade because he’s a track athlete and I paid him to do that for me,” she said.
Nine stages, with bands from all over the world, expect to draw more than 400,000 fans to Grant Park.
The big headliners include Billie Eilish, Diplo, Lanie Wilson and Carly Rae Jepson.
“I feel like Lolla is such an amazing community.” festival-goer Izzy Segal said. “Everyone looks out for one another. I think it’s a beautiful place, a beautiful venue.”
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson stopped by the festival, embracing the massive crowds.
400,000 fans are expected to amass at nine stages, and outside the venue at local businesses.
“It’s always a good weekend for us,” said Andrew Galios, owner of Miller’s Pub. “I’m always excited when we have big events like that at Grant Park.”
Miller’s Pub on Wabash is just blocks away from the fest. Galios said the next few days are typically some of his best.
“It’s definitely great for all the businesses down here to have that many people come Downtown, and money is moving through the system and that’s good for everyone here, all of our staff,” Galios said.
Illinois Restaurant Association President and CEO Sam Toia said Lolla weekend is bigger than most of the other spirited summer weekends in the city, including concerts from Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.
“This is five times, six times, more people coming,” Toia said. “Lollapalooza is one of our busiest weekends of the year. It puts a lot of people in hotels, and when you put a lot of people in hotels, they gotta go out to eat.”
Over the weekend, fans will get to see other big acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lana del Rey and Kendrick Lamar.
Justin Fura from Detroit is here to see a K-Pop band. He is prepared with his clear bag full of phone chargers and other essentials.
“As a K-Pop fan, I’m used to standing in line for 5 to 10 hours at a time,” Fura said. “I’m used to making sure I have water I mean this is just another weekend for me.”
City officials said the appropriate amount of security will be in place.
“Using all of our utilities, officers on bikes, you know, making sure that there are consistent checkpoints so that we’re able to better manage, you know, where people are flowing,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said. “Those particular dynamics are well in place, scaling up of course , because we are anticipating a larger crowd. It’s going to make for an incredible next four days.”
Meanwhile, this year, Lollapalooza has partnered with an overdose prevention agency who will educate music fans about the dangers of fentanyl and supply them with the opioid reversal medicine known as Narcan.
Dr. Steven Aks, an emergency room doctor with Cook County Health, warns music fans to stay hydrated in the heat.
“I think the first thing that we would recommend to folks at Lolla is to have fun, but if someone offers you drugs or pills, just don’t do it. There are a lot of other ways that you can really enjoy yourself and be aware that it is just really dangerous, the potential supply right now.”
Allowed items include:
-Clear bags made up of clear plastic, vinyl, or pvc, and no larger than 12″ x 6″ x 12″.
-Cameras (basic point and shoot consumer-grade cameras) without detachable lenses and other accessories (monopods, selfie sticks, tripods, GoPro mounts, and other attachments are not allowed)
-Empty reusable water bottles and hydration packs, and plastic or aluminum water bottles
-Sunscreen in non-aerosol containers is allowed in the size of 3.4 ounces or less
-Factory sealed Naloxone/Narcan kit
-All bags will be searched before entry.
-Small clutch purses and fanny packs that are 6″ x 9″ or smaller do not need to be clear, but can have no more than one pocket.
-All other bags larger than 6″ x 9″ must be smaller than 12″ x 6″ x 12″ and clear.
-Hydration packs are allowed and do not need to be clear, but must be emptied of all liquid and have no more than two pockets in addition to the one holding the water reservoir.
Prohibited items include
-Blankets, sheets, towels
-Coolers of any kind, except for medical use
Professional audio recording and video equipment
-Illegal and illicit substances
-Outside food or beverage (including alcohol) of any kind
-Pets (except service animals)
-Skateboards, scooters, bicycles, wagons, carts or any personal motorized vehicles
-Tents, canopies, or shade structures of any kind
-Totems or flag poles.
-Unauthorized/unlicensed vendors are not allowed. No unauthorized solicitation and materials including handbills, flyers, stickers, beach balls, giveaways, samples, etc.
-Weapons or explosives of any kind
-Large chains or spiked jewelry
-Bicycles inside festival grounds (free parking is available near festival entrance)
-Carts of any kind (including Red Wagons)
-Chairs of any kind
-All Chicago parks prohibit smoking of any kind, including vaping.
Prescription Medicine Requirements:
-Anyone needing prescription medicine at the festival must present the pharmacy-labeled container which states the prescription, dosage, and patient name to our medical staff at each entrance gate. Patrons are only allowed a sufficient supply of the prescribed medication for that day.
-Medicines needing to be inhaled or smoked are prohibited unless in a prescribed inhaler.
-Over the counter medications are allowed in a sufficient supply for the day. Bottle contents will be verified by medical personnel at the entry gates.
https://abc7chicago.com/lineup-lollapalooza-2023-chicago-tickets-what-can-i-bring-to/13591513/ Lollapalooza lineup 2023: Festival kicks off Thursday in Grant Park | See list of allowed, prohibited items