Chicago’s four-day Lollapalooza music festival returned Thursday after a year-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Attendees of the festival are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result no older than 72 hours.
Unvaccinated attendees are required to wear a mask.
A shorter and smaller festival in the Netherlands reported similar procedures and still saw a spike in cases, CNBC reported.
Despite a troubling rise in COVID-19 cases across the country, summer music festivals are back in full force, and Thursday marked the start of one of the biggest.
Chicago’s four-day Lollapalooza music festival kicked off Thursday in the city’s Grant Park, where roughly 100,000 attendees are expected each day.
The popular festival is back at full capacity after being canceled last year during the height of the pandemic. This weekend’s event is expected to be one of the largest gatherings in the country since the pandemic began.
Amid concerns of rising COVID-19 cases and the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, festival officials are requiring attendees to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test if unvaccinated, according to the festival website. Those who have not been vaccinated are also required to wear face masks throughout the festival.
The festival’s return garnered a number of big name acts, including, Miley Cyrus, Tyler the Creator, Post, Malone, Journey, Foo Fighters, Brockhampton, and Illenium.
After a cancelled 2020 event, the 2021 Lollapalooza Music Festival kicked off on Thursday.
“When you’re having this many folks who are coming through almost certainly there will be some cases,” Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health told CNBC.
“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,” she continued.
However, a festival in the Netherlands, which had 20,000 attendees over a two-day period, resulted in over 1,000 of the attendees testing positive for COVID-19, as reported by CNBC. This is especially concerning considering Lollapalooza has twice as many days and nearly five times as many attendees per day as the Verknipt outdoor festival in the Netherlands.
The Verknipt festival had similar procedures as Lollapalooza — such as requiring a negative COVID test for entry and showing proof of vaccination or recent infection of the virus.
Festival goers are required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or show a negative COVID-19 test result.
The precautions come as Chicago records increasing COVID-19 cases, though, unlike other parts of the country the city has so far been able to avoid a massive surge.
Chicago noted 176 daily cases as of Wednesday, up from 104 last week.
The Chicago Public Health Department did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the festival, but Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health told NPR that she believes the festival organizers have gone above and beyond.
The outlet reported that Lollapalooza has monitored air ventilation for all indoor areas, required backstage workers to be vaccinated, and made masks available.
Although the number of new daily cases in Chicago has climbed, the city hasn’t had the kind of surge many other parts of the country have experienced in recent weeks, and its daily average number of deaths and hospitalizations have dropped slightly.
The four-day festival is expected to draw 100,000 attendees each day, making it one of the largest events since the pandemic began.
Attendees were prepared to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
As reported by NPR, non-vaccinated festival attendees who plan on attending all four days of the event would be required to test negative for COVID-19 twice — since the tests cannot be more than 72 hours old.
While fake vaccination cards may be a concern, local news station KGO reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently announced that fraudulent Center for Disease Control documents could be classified as a crime.
Lollapalooza did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the event’s public health measures.
Many festival goers were spotted maskless in crowds.
The Official Lollapalooza Aftershow on July 28 also had non-socially-distanced crowds.
Attendees of the Official Lollapalooza Aftershow were also spotted maskless.
Health officials will be keeping an eye on COVID-19 numbers in the city in the days following the festival.
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