With 203 Infections Lollapalooza Not Deemed A Super Spreader Event

Lards crowds packed the stages at LollapaloozaLards crowds packed the stages at Lollapalooza

We all enjoyed the taste of “normalcy” while it lasted. But with delta and lambda variants on the rise and COVID-19 cases spiking more than ever, people are looking to music festivals for answers. 

Last weekend about 385,000 people gathered in Chicago’s landmark multi-genre festival, Lollapalooza. Health officials reported that 203 attendees have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Of those reported, 127 were vaccinated and 76 were unvaccinated. 

At a news conference, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady said, “Nothing unexpected here. No sign of a ‘superspreader event’. But clearly with hundreds of thousands of people attending Lollapalooza we would expect to see some cases.” She also took to Twitter to elaborate and wrote, “We are now 14 days past the first day of Lolla and we are continuing to investigate cases of COVID. There have been no unexpected findings at this point and NO evidence at this point of 'super-spreader' event or substantial impact to Chicago’s COVID-19 epidemiology."

The festival didn’t include a mask mandate or contract tracing requirements. It did require vaccination cards or negative test results to attend. When asked if the requirement was enforced, one attendee told Festival Insider, “They did check. First gate before tickets or security, and it was a pretty quick look.”

Another attendee Ryan Yohn also revealed, “Didn’t check IDs, could have brought in anyone’s vaccine card.”

Throughout the weekend, people all over social media noted how tightly packed the event looked.

Despite the requirement, Arwady said the number of cases included those who tested positive after or during Lollapalooza, including attendees who might have attended the event already infected. She also expressed that “We would have seen a surge if we were going to see a surge at this point.”

Additional statistics reported include that among those who tested positive, 58 were Chicago residents, 138 were Illinois residents outside of Chicago, and seven were from out of state. Nearly 80% of those who tested positive were under 30, and about 62% were white. 

Arwady continues with a call to remind everyone we are still in a pandemic. “This is a really important reminder we need everyone in Chicago not to ignore symptoms, assume it’s a summer cold, regardless of your vaccination status. Because we know vaccines are not 100 percent effective.”