Chicago’s summer fun season is getting a makeover.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events announced Tuesday that all permitted special events slated through Labor Day have been canceled. This includes Taste of Chicago, Lollapalooza, the Chicago Air & Water Show, Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago Summer Dance and more.
Mayor Lightfoot and DCASE announced a lineup of more than 150 new/reimagined summer events “including at-home dance parties, drive-in movies, virtual concerts and community meals for frontline workers” to fill the void.
Some of the highlights according to Tuesday’s announcement include:
- “Taste of Chicago To-Go”: will include an expanded Community Eats program (July 8–12), supporting about 25 neighborhood restaurants and food trucks while providing free meals to nonprofits serving healthcare and other frontline workers.
- Lollapalooza: The massive Grant Park music festival will now be an online event with live music in a weekend-long livestream event July 30–August 2, 2020. Details to be announced in July.
- Beginning in June, live music will return to the city in abbreviated fashion. A series of 20 small music events featuring Chicago musicians will take place at area clubs with limited in-person capacity as well as live streams. Jazz will be among the highlights in lieu of the Chicago Jazz Festival.
- The Millennium Park Summer Film Series will be replaced by six drive-in movie nights across the city, limited to 50 cars at each event. The films will also be streamed for at-home viewing. The lineup and more details will be announced in the coming weeks.
- “SummerDance” will now be “SummerDance In Place,” a new citywide, at-home version of the hugely popular series. Residents are encouraged to plan socially-distant dance parties (of up to 10 people) connected via a live broadcast and social media. Programs will include a 30-minute lesson followed by 60 minutes of music on Wednesday evenings (July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29).
- As previously announced, the Grant Park Music Festival will be presented online as Festival Remixed, curated by artistic director/principal conductor Carlos Kalmar. The series, featuring the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus, will include weekly radio broadcasts from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays on 98.7WFMT (and streaming at wfmt.com). Also featured are live and on-demand video streaming June 10 -Aug. 14 on the festival’s YouTube page.
“We must provide ways for people to enjoy the spirit of a Chicago summer while prioritizing health and safety. As difficult as it is to remove these in-person events from our calendar, we are pulling out all the stops for an inventive, engaging and fun festival season this summer,” Lightfoot said in the official announcement.
In a separate statement, Lollapalooza organizers said, “We wish we could bring Lollapalooza to Grant Park again this year, but we understand why things can’t move forward as planned. The health and safety of our fans, artists, partners, staff and community is always our highest priority.” The new, weekend-long virtual Lolla will include performances from around the city, “archival sets from Chicago and the festival’s six international editions, and never-before-seen footage from the 1990s.”
During a Tuesday press conference, the mayor told reporters the cancellations are rooted in science and that after extensive discussions with the owners of Lollapalooza she concluded that brining hundreds of thousands of people together in Grant Park made no sense. “We might as well light ourselves on fire,” she said.
Contributing: Fran Spielman