Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who has been outspoken about her decision to keep Lollapalooza as scheduled despite the uptick in cases of COVID-19 and numerous variants spreading around the country, made a not-so-surprise appearance on the festival’s opening day.
Wearing a Black Pumas T-shirt, she introduced the group’s midday set at the T-Mobile Stage and hailed the Pumas as one of the greatest rock bands of today.
She also took a moment to comment on the giant elephant roaming around the park. Pointing out that people were at “the largest music festival anywhere on the globe this year” in the midst of a world pandemic, she also applauded those who have chosen to get the COVID-19 vaccinations that have allowed events like Lollapalooza to proceed.
“The rate of vaccination in this crowd is off the charts,” she said, echoing data that the festival released on Twitter noting that 90% of attendees had shown a vaccination card at the front gates and an additional 8% provided proof of a negative COVID test. “Thank you for masking up and vaxing up.”
Lightfoot then encouraged fans to take care of one another. “Hate has no home here,” she said, decrying racism and xenophobia in Chicago and echoing the message of the Black Pumas, who gave an overwhelming display of unity and kinship in their set.
Lightfoot’s wife, Amy Eshleman, even danced a few steps on stage with Pumas frontman Eric Burton, but the mayor herself declined to show off her moves.
Selena Fragassi is a Chicago freelance writer.