Lollapalooza, Sueños organizers say they want to minimize impact on Grant Park, area residents during busy summer season

Grant Park will be taken over from mid-May through mid-August by the Lollapalooza and Sueños music festivals and the NASCAR Chicago street race, raising neighborhood concerns about crowds, security, noise.

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Thousands flock to Grant Park for day two of Lollapalooza, Friday afternoon, July 29, 2022. This year, set-up for Lollapalooza will begin July 21 and teardown August 13. Set-up for Sueños will begin May 17, and teardown will be complete by June 2.

Thousands flock to Grant Park for day two of last year’s Lollapalooza on July 29, 2022.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

Organizers for the Lollapalooza and Sueños music festivals answered questions from the community during a virtual meeting Tuesday, including on whether they’re coordinating with NASCAR to minimize the impact the summer events will have on public use of the park.

“We can’t speak for anything that goes into NASCAR, we do know that it is between these two events, which is significant, but any coordination we have is in coordination with the park district,” said Tim Smith, festivals director for C3 Presents, which produces Lolla and Sueños. “We’ve certainly looked at some options for efficiencies.”

Private events are slated to dominate Grant Park this summer. So much so that plans for the Taste of Chicago, one of the park’s signature events of the season, are still unsettled. Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposed moving the event to a park near Navy Pier, drawing backlash from City Council members.

Grant Park will be taken over from mid-May through mid-August by the two music festivals and the NASCAR race. Setup and teardown for the downtown race could close the park for more than a month.

But Smith stressed that the production teams for both music festivals work to get in and out of the park as quickly as they can, and he said the park isn’t completely closed during setup and teardown.

“We really try to leave as much of the park open for as long as we can,” Smith said. “We know that Grant Park is the crown jewel of the city, and we want to minimize our impact there as best we can.”

Setup for Sueños will begin May 17, and teardown will be complete by June 2. Lollapalooza will begin setting up in the park on July 21 and won’t be torn down until Aug. 13, Smith said.

“We do it as quickly as we can, we want to minimize that,” Smith said. “We want to take a step forward compared to what we’ve done in the past.”

To that end, festival organizers said they have launched two web pages, one for Lollapalooza and one for Sueños, where Chicagoans can check to see which sections of the park are closed, important dates and times and community initiatives.

Smith also said that in response to concerns from nearby residents last year, the dog park near Grant Park will only be closed on event days. And festival officials are in talks with the Chicago Park District to build a temporary dog park during event days.

Smith said capacity for the second-annual Sueños music festival, which runs from May 27-28, is 60,000. He added that it was too early to determine the capacity for Lollapalooza, which will take place Aug. 3-6.

During last year’s festival, the mayor announced that Lollapalooza had reached an agreement with C3 Presents to keep the event in the city for another 10 years.

Meeting attendees also raised questions about noise levels, street vendors who take over sidewalks during event days and public transportation access to the festival.

A job fair for the music festivals will be held at Malcolm X College on Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m.

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