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Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

Lollapalooza could return to Chicago ‘in some capacity’ this summer, according to Perry Farrell

In an interview with iHeartRadio, the festival's co-founder remained hopeful about a 2021 edition.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

Lollapalooza hasn't announced potential 2021 dates or a lineup, but according to festival co-founder Perry Farrell, there's a distinct possibility that the event could return to Chicago this summer. In a recent interview with iHeartRadio, Farrell explained, "If we can all stay on course, get vaccinated, stay socially distanced and masked up, maybe—please God, maybe—we’ll get to go to Chicago in early August in one capacity or another."

With capacity restrictions and city permitting options still uncertain as vaccine distribution continues to ramp up and Covid-19 case begin to increase nationwide, Farrell seems open to adapting Lollapalooza to conform to the evolving circumstances. "If it's not a giant Lollapalooza, it might be a half-capacity Lollapalooza or no Lollapalooza. But I want there to be a Lollapalooza in some capacity so bad," Farrell said.

Last summer, Lollapalooza was transformed into a free four-day virtual event, featuring archived sets from the likes of Paul McCartney, Chance the Rapper, OutKast and LCD Soundsystem, in addition to pre-recorded appearances from a long list of contemporary artists. It's possible that the festival could stage another virtual event this year—especially if organizers are married to idea of sticking with Lolla's usual set of dates during the first weekend of August.

While there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding whether or not the city will allow large in-person gatherings to take place this summer, other Chicago-based festivals are making plans to host events in September. Riot Fest postponed its planned 2020 event last June, pushing the festival to September 17-19, 2021. Organizers of North Coast Music Festival recently announced that the EDM festival will move to SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, IL and take place during Labor Day weekend—if officials allow the event to take place at all (tickets will be refunded, if not). Similarly, the Chicago Tribune reported that the team behind Pitchfork Music Festival applied for a permit to hold the three-day festival in Union Park from September 10–12.

If Lollapalooza takes place during its usual timeframe on the first weekend of August, it could be the first large-scale in-person event to return in Chicago. Typically, the four-day event attracts 100,000 people per day—it's difficult to imagine that large of a gathering after more than a year without large festivals and expos, but organizers seem to recognize that post-Covid events will likely need to be downsized, if they're allowed to happen at all.

"If the people are getting it right and we’re flattening out and we’re going away from Covid infections, there’s hope [for Lollapalooza]," Farrell told iHeartRadio. "I listen to Joe Biden, when he thinks July 4th could be the first time we’ll have a small celebration. I’m gonna say that my first small celebration will be in August, and I wanna have it in Chicago.”

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