Monday, August 2, 2021

Lollapalooza 2021: The Science Experiment

After a year off due to the pandemic, Lollapalooza 2021 has officially ended!  

From a pure event standpoint, it seemed like this years incarnation went off without a major hitch.  The weather was pretty much perfect.  Grant Park likely won't have any major structural damage like years past and in a week we likely can enjoy all of its glory.  

But like most things in the world today, the big story at Lolla was the Delta variant and its continued surge throughout the world, country and our area.

When the city announced that Lollapalooza was moving forward with the fest in the spring I was surprised.  It seemed like the perfect petri dish perfect for cultivating Covid.

Let me just preface this next part with the fact that I've gone to every single Lolla in Grant Park since I moved to Chicago in 2006.  So you can tell me I'm getting old, but you can't tell me that I'm not a huge Lolla booster.  Hell, I bought a ticket (and went) on Saturday and had friends who did the same.

I'm not going to lie - it was fun to gear up for the day and approach the event.  I was legitimately excited - its been awhile.  

Unfortunately the whole thing was idiotic.  I can paint this a lot of ways and draw out some positives, but at the end of the day - Lollapalooza shouldn't have happened this year.  

You know that policy that you had to prove you were vaccinated or had a negative Covid test?  Yeah, that was pretty much a joke as far as we could tell.  Maybe simply stating that deterred some or caused people to get vaccinated (really?)....worse yet, it gave some of us who were vaccinated but may have had underlying conditions or children who couldn't get vaccinated a false sense of security.  So for that - screw you Mayor Lightfoot and Lollapalooza.

Beyond the "Covid entry policy" - it didn't seem like any other precautions were made other than a sign removing Lollapalooza's liability (thanks Lolla!):

I was hopeful that they at least could have upped the game for the porta potty situation.  More hand soap?  More space?  Something?  It all looked exactly the same as the past and if you've ever seen it in the past, you can attest it's not the shining example of germ prevention.

Regardless of the potty situation and as a resident old guy at Lolla, there was no chance I was cramming my way up into the throngs of people, but this doesn't scream social distancing: 

The crowds jammed packed like the was to be expected.  Music is a powerful drug....

So it's over.  Now we get to see what the ramifications are.  There 100% is going to be stories of Covid spread via Lolla attendees - it's simply impossible not to happen - the question is just how much and how bad.

On one hand maybe the risk of outdoor transmission is truly low.  If that's the case...than maybe Lolla won't be the super spreader event many (including me) fear.  

On the other hand, we don't know much about Delta and it seems like we're going to have some data coming out of Lolla for the epidemiologists to hypothesize about.  

Hopefully this science experiment doesn't go wrong... 

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