Photo by Erik Hess
BY ERIK THOMPSON The 2012 installment of Lollapalooza has thus far brought the requisite extremes, in terms of performances and potent weather. A two-hour delay cut through the middle of Saturday's entertainment at Chicago's Grant Park, and a good many people were wishing they had just the record heat to contend with when the storm clouds rolled in.
At about 3:30 p.m., word began circulating the grounds that bad weather was approaching, and that performances would be suspended. Indie rockers Chairlift, the blues reinventors Alabama Shakes, and pop-rapper B.o.B were all casualties of what turned out to be close to three hours of a warranted rain delay.
In a statement from Shelby Meade, communications director for C3 Presents, the promoter behind Lollapalooza: "Our first priority is always the safety of our fans, staff, and artists. We regret having to suspend any show, but safety always comes first."
According to on-site reports from Gimme Noise editor Reed Fischer, heavy rain came down in sheets, soaking Grant Park and the surrounding areas. The grounds were being cleared, but it was a slow process, with many attendees being reluctant to leave. There were a lot of long faces and despondent looks on the fans that were being evacuated.
Here are some first-hand photos of the Lollapalooza evacuation process from Erik Hess:
Much of the updates/rumors that circulated over the afternoon came from Twitter.
Turn the page for Twitter updates from Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, Frank Ocean, Chicago Tribune music writer Greg Kot, and the official Lollapalooza twitter account, as well as an overhead shot of the evacuation process.
the word we have is that we are still going to playRT
@dtspeed16 do you know if you're still playing?
-- Flea (@flea333) August 4, 2012
-- alex kapranos (@alkapranos) August 4, 2012
lolla evacuated. chicago is storrmin
-- frank ocean (@frank_ocean) August 4, 2012
Hoping to resume
#lolla in 2 hours if stormpasses, security says. No word on how sked will be reconfigured
-- Greg Kot (@gregkot) August 4, 2012
-- knnyᖨ|ᙆᘕ|-|. (@KNNYFRSH) August 4, 2012
We're working w/ our team & city officials to survey the park after the storm to determine if it is safe for festival goers to return today.
-- Lollapalooza (@lollapalooza) August 4, 2012Hl
Bands began playing again at 6:30 p.m. with a revamped schedule. The curfew was extended to 10:45 to accommodate the changes.
A press release from Lollapalooza made a point of thanking everyone for making the evacuation as smooth a process as it could be, given the circumstances:
"We want to thank the tens of thousands of festival goers, staff, and artists who calmly and safely exited from Grant Park today," said Charlie Jones, partner of C3 Presents, the promoter for Lollapalooza. "We also applaud and thank the City of Chicago for their cooperation and commitment to making Lolla a safe and enjoyable experience for all. Once again Chicago has come through and we're proud to call the city our partner."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.