Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago Evacuated Due to Thunderstorm Threat

The music crowd is hurriedly cleared out at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, but the show resumes at 4 p.m. when rain is a no-show

The projection on the Perry's stage at 2:35 pm CT on Sunday, August 2. (Mikey Glazer)

The Lollapalooza music festival was briefly evacuated on Sunday afternoon in the middle of the third and final day of the concert in Chicago due to approaching bad weather. But in the style of any big-time concert star the headliner — in this case the rainstorm — didn’t show when scheduled.

Concert fans were surprised when the music was cut in the middle of songs without notice as stage hands quickly began covering gear because the weather was hot and sunny when the evacuation announcement was made at about 2:30 p.m. CT and large red graphics urging fans to exit filled the screens of the stages. Organizers directed concertgoeers, reportedly 100,000 strong, to emergency shelters in parking garages outside Grant Park.

Fans pouring on Balbo Avenue adjacent to the festival. (Mikey Glazer)
Fans pouring on Balbo Avenue adjacent to the festival. (Mikey Glazer)

Within 10 minutes, it became grey and windy. Then, with the clouds darkening, thunder began to roll. The skies opened up and then ….  a light drizzle, a few scattered drops, and that was it. So much for the storm.

(Mikey Glazer)
(Mikey Glazer)

By 3:20 p.m. local time, an announcement on the official festival app advised that the festival would reopen at 3:30 p.m. local time. Organizers did not immediately indicate how it would impact the remaining acts of the day, including Florence + The Machine, ASAP Rocky, Odesza, The Chainsmokers, Albert Hammond Jr., and FKA Twigs.

Finally, a subsequent announcement pushed the resumption of the show back to 4 p.m. No acts were canceled, which meant the show was going to go past its scheduled end time.

Concert organizers may have been a little trigger-happy on the evacuation, but that could be because Lollapalooza was evacuated in 2012 for the same reason, and a heavy storm did arrive.  In the advance of the festival this week, the official Lollapalooza website stated that festival organizers work in conjunction with city authorities to decide on an evacuation. The website stated that no one person has sole authority to order the evacuation.