Chicago has not seen a crowd so big since before the pandemic began. As CBS 2's Marissa Parra reported, people were seen streaming in Thursday afternoon with water bottles in one hand and vaccine cards in the other.
Back are the outfits, the bedazzled faces, and the crowds. But with the requirement for either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours, packing for Lollapalooza this year looks different than ever before.
"We got Starbucks," said Nathan Cortez.
"Here's my negative COVID test and his vaccination card," said his friend Leily Sanchez.
Prepping for Lolla 2021 means more than picking out a hairstyle. It means digging to find those vaccine cards or picking out a COVID testing site.
"It was hard to find a location that had availability," said Dakota Bristow.
Without either proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours, outside the gates you'll remain. Parra did run into one group that forgot.
But for the most part, the message seemed to get across, as most of the other festivalgoers were seen pulling either copies of their tests or vaccine cards.
Still, some were confused about the procedures.
"We don't know for sure what we have to show," said Izzy Hagan.
"We didn't know if there were different lines for vaccinations or negative tests," added Bristow.
And while there is no getting inside without the test or proof of vaccination, you're stuck carrying that card once you're inside – and some were concerned about losing it.
"I have to go to college abroad, and if I lose my vaccination card, I think I'm going to need it to travel," said Nico Takano.
"I brought a copy. I brought my original one," said Mikaela English. "I'm going to keep it in my bag, I was real nervous about it."
Meanwhile, the signs say if you're unvaccinated, you need to wear a mask. But on Thursday afternoon, the only person we spoke to with a mask was Brad Watson, who is already vaccinated and playing it a little extra safe.
Watson said he was "a little uneasy actually – a little nervous because of all the breakthrough cases."
"I'm not going to get up as close to the artists because it'll be crowded there," he said. "I'm going to keep my distance."
It is not clear if unvaccinated festivalgoers were asked to mask up once they got to the health screening, or how that is enforced once they get inside.
We have had no luck in getting in touch with organizers for clarification.
Early Tuesday evening, Lollapalooza tweeted that more than 90 percent of concertgoers showed proof of vaccination Thursday, while 8 percent showed proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
A total of 600 people showed up without paperwork and were denied entry.
The Office of Emergency Management and Communications issued guidance Thursday on both health guidelines and safety precautions.
"Public safety remains our top priority for the event, and the city has worked closely with the organizers to plan and prepare for the safety and security of festival attendees, performers and staff," OEMC Executive Director Rich Guidice said in a news release. "We also want to encourage those inside and outside the festival to report any suspicious activity by calling 911 or notifying on–site security."
Concertgoers can enter Grant Park at the main entrance at Michigan Avenue and Ida B. Wells Drive, or at the north entrance at Columbus Drive and Monroe Street.
In addition to the vaccine cards or negative COVID-19 tests, festivalgoers are reminded to bring their festival wristbands – which must be securely fastened on their right wrists and clearly visible to security. For complete information about entry requirements, visit www.lollapalooza.com/safety.
Only clear bags are allowed, and no one may bring in liquids. All bags will be searched upon entry to the festival grounds, and there will be magnetometer screenings and patdowns.
The clear bags can be made of plastic, PVC, or vinyl and can be no larger than 12 inches by 12 inches by 7 inches. Small clutch purses and fanny packs are also allowed with no more than one pocket and measuring 4.5 inches by 5.5 inches. Backpacks and bags with multiple pockets are not allowed.
Hydration packs are allowed, but cannot have any liquid in them upon entry and cannot have more than two pockets in addition to the one holding the water reservoir.
Those who do not have bags can enter through the No Bag Express Lane, while those who do must enter through the Bag Lane. For more, go to Lollapalooza.com/bag–policy.
Patrons may also drink water while in line as long as their containers are empty prior to entry. Free water will be available at Hydration Stations onsite.
For more on items that are not allowed, go to Lollapalooza.com/items–allowed–prohibited.
Also, festivalgoers are reminded that underage drinking is not allowed and the ordinance against it will be strictly enforced. Anyone who sees something suspicious should call 911 or talk to on-site security staff.
Patrons are also reminded not to leave items unattended and to be aware of their belongings at all times. Lockers are available for rent on festival grounds. If you lose something, check with the main Guest Services booth at Columbus and Ida B. Wells drives or go to the virtual lost and found at Lollapalooza.com/lostfound. There will also be a lost and found matched item pickup from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday just south of the main entrance on Michigan Avenue.
There will also be six medical tents throughout the festival site. EMTs and medical students will be wearing light blue T-shirts and will be all around Grant Park.
Attendees are also reminded to be aware of pole marker locations throughout the Grant Park area to inform friends, family, and first responders in the event of an emergency.
Cooling buses are also available throughout the site, and weather shelters in the event of severe weather are available at the Grant Park North, Grant Park South, and Millennium Lakeside garages. For a map of shelter locations and more safety information, visit Lollapalooza.com/Safety.
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