Chicago summer events cancellations


The Strokes playing at Lollapalooza 2019. Photo by Azucena Gama.

Azucena Gama, Editor

On Tuesday, May 5, 2020, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Illinois’ five-phase plan to reopen the state. The plan states what will open and when, according to each phase. And as summer slowly rolls upon us, it is getting real just how much different this year will be. Chicago is a bustling city in the summer, jam-packed with music festivals, film festivals, art festivals and food festivals. In other words, there has been no shortage of what to do, until this year. 

According to Governor Pritzker’s plan, Chicago’s festivals and attractions are under “Phase 5: Illinois Restored,” which is the last of the phases.

 Phase 5 states that “Conventions, festivals, and large events are permitted, and all business, schools, and places of recreation can open with new safety guidance and procedures.”

 So, until then, festivals and large events as we know them, will not be happening. 

“It brings me no joy to say this, but based on what the experts tell us and everything we know about this virus and how easily it spreads in a crowd, large conventions, festivals and other major events,” Pritzker said.

For many teenagers, a big part of their summer is going to festivals and parades in the city. Events such as Spring Awakening and Pitchfork Music Festival, have been officially cancelled for the year. It puts a real bummer on the summer because many kids have been attending year after year, it’s a tradition for them and their friends. 

Other famous festivals, such as Lollapalooza, Summer Smash Festival, Wicker Park Fest, Riot Fest, Taste of Chicago and Pride Parade, have been either postponed or have not yet released their plans. It is uncertain what will happen with those events due to the uncertainty of the situation. 

Lollapalooza, set to take place July 30-August 2, 2020, has announced that they will be giving their final direction at the end of May. Lollapalooza had over 400,000 visitors in 2019.

“As the festival is still several months away, we are taking careful consideration to work through our options. We are confident that we will have enough information to make a definitive decision about the path forward by the end of May,” Lollapalooza organizers said. 

It’s tricky to be involved in the music festival business and on top of that, you can never plan for situations such as this. Many businesses will suffer from this, if they can’t sell tickets, then they can’t make money. 

The same goes for vendors, many small businesses open up booths and tents at these events because they know their popularity and are sure to make some money. Without these opportunities, we will see small businesses closing and music festivals coming up dry in the next few years. 

It’s not only the organizers who will suffer, but it’s also the people who work behind the scenes, all the laborers and technicians who are contracted for those events will be in trouble too. It is a whole industry that is going to go underwater. Entertainment company, Live Nation has set up relief funds for those who are affected by the sudden loss of work. 

On the other end of the stage, there is us, the attendees, who will also suffer an emotional fray from the loss of these events. Many use festivals as a way to wind down and destress themselves from the normality of life. And especially after being cooped up for two plus months, Chicagoans will need an escape. We are social beings who need to feel a sense of community from time to time, and it’s evident that that will not be happening any time soon. 

Regardless of what happens, the season of summer, by definition, is still on.