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Lollapalooza Returning To Grant Park In July; 'Another Breath Of Fresh Air' For Chicago's Recovery From Pandemic

by Todd Feurer, CBS Chicago web producer; CBS 2's Jim Williams contributed to this report.

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Lollapalooza will be back in Grant Park this summer, after last year's four-day music festival was cancelled due to the pandemic.

"What's up Chicago? I'll see you this summer with my good friends, the Foo Fighters," Dave Grohl, the band's founder, singer, and guitarist, announced in a video Mayor Lori Lightfoot's office shared on social media.

Lightfoot's office confirmed the festival will be held at full capacity from July 29 through Aug. 1. The lineup will be announced on Wednesday at 10 a.m., and tickets will go on sale later at noon.

"Here in Chicago, the word 'Lollapalooza' has always been synonymous with summer, great music and four days of unforgettable fun – which made last year's decision to postpone it all the more difficult," Lightfoot said in a statement. "Now, less than a year later and armed with a vaccine that is safe, effective and widely available, we are able to bring back one of our city's most iconic summer music festivals. I want to thank the Lollapalooza team for working closely with the City to create a reopening strategy that prioritizes safety and can't wait to see festivalgoers return to Grant Park this  summer."

Lolla Is Back! by Mayor Lightfoot on YouTube

Anyone attending the festival will have to show proof they have been fully vaccinated, or have tested negative for COVID-19 within 24 hours of attending the festival.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said some ticket sales for Lollapallooza might also be tied to opportunities to get vaccinated, as a way to incentivize people to get their shot.

The pandemic forced the cancellation of Lollapalooza last year, costing Chicago more than $100 million in economic activity, and adding to the suffering at restaurants and hotels.

Michael Jacobson, CEO of the Illinois Hotel and Lodging Association, called the festival's return "another breath of fresh air" for the hospitality industry.

"Lollapalooza weekend is always one of the biggest weekends in terms of tourism for the city. Our hotels are sold out across the city," he said. "The fact that we could pack so many people safely into that space, and be able to help boost the Chicago economy while we're at it."

As for how festival organizers will be able to confirm guests have been fully vaccinated, Arwady said vaccination cards provided by the CDC will be sufficient proof, even if it's a photocopy or a picture on your phone or mobile device. Guests can also provide a printout from their doctor's office, and other options will soon be announced, including mobile apps to verify vaccination status.

"Part of this is that there still is a lot of work happening around the different apps, and ways to be able to verify vaccination," she said. "The bottom line is you're going to have to be able to show proof of vaccination; or if not, proof of a getting a negative test really on each day of attendance."

More details on the entry process will be announced in early July.

"I'm hopeful by then that there may be some more progress in some of the apps that are in place," Arwady said.

However, she stressed that the city will never require a so-called "vaccine passport" to be able to go into any public places in Chicago.

Illinois is currently in the Bridge Phase of its reopening plan, the penultimate step before fully reopening without capacity restrictions. Under the Bridge Phase, outdoor festivals are limited to a capacity of 30 people per 1,000 square feet. But Arwady said she's confident, barring a resurgence in the pandemic, Lollapalooza will be able to be held at full capacity this summer, given the current low rate of cases and hospitalizations per day in Chicago and Illinois.

"My hope is that, by this summer, we may be in a place where we do not have capacity restrictions in place. Certainly an outdoor setting is lower risk than and indoor setting, and when we pair that with the agreement that the people attending will be vaccinated or tested every day, that really is about as low risk a setting as we can have," "So we felt confident that we would be able to move ahead without capacity restrictions, certainly from a planning perspective."

Asked if she expects a widespread problem with people faking their proof of COVID-19 vaccination, Arwady noted the vaccination cards provided by the CDC are linked to a registry at the state level.

"The state and other states have been working around ways where people want to request their vaccine status themselves to be able to have some proof of that available electronically," she said. "Their record would be in that state system. My hope is that they would be able to access that electronically if they wanted to. If not, we would use the card. Again, we're really for the most part counting on people to do the right thing here."

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