Chicago health officials say “no evidence” Lollapalooza was a “super spreader” event

203 COVID-19 cases have been linked to attendees at the festival

Health officials in Chicago say there is “no evidence” that the recent Lollapalooza festival was a “super spreader” event.

Lollapalooza was the first major festival to return in the US since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, and saw an estimate 385,000 people head to Chicago’s Grant Park between July 29-August 1.

Festival founder Perry Farrell said last week that the festival “did the right thing” by returning in 2021 despite fears about the ongoing pandemic.


Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said that there are “no unexpected findings” from the festival concerning a COVID-19 outbreak, and while 203 cases of the virus have been traced back to Lollapalooza attendees, there were no subsequent hospitalisations or deaths.

“We are now 14 days past the first day of Lolla and we are continuing to investigate cases of COVID,” Arwady wrote on Twitter. “There have been no unexpected findings at this point and NO evidence at this point of “super-spreader” event or substantial impact to Chicago’s COVID-19 epidemiology.”

She added: “Of the estimated 385k attendees at Lolla, 90%+ were vax’d. 0.0004% (4 in 10,000) of vaccinated attendees have reported testing positive. 0.0016% (16 in 10,000) of unvaccinated attendees have reported testing positive. As of 8/11, no hospitalizations or deaths have been reported.”

“As of now, there is a total of 203 cases identified with attendance at Lolla and symptom onset (or if asymptomatic, test date) on or after attendance. 58 were Chicago residents, 138 were non-Chicago Illinois residents and 7 out of state residents.”


Lollapalooza 2021 was headlined by Miley CyrusTyler, the Creator and Foo Fighters. Away from music, the festival helped break Illinois’ state record in terms of monthly sales of recreational marijuana.

July’s recreational marijuana sales were 10 per cent higher than the previous Illinois record of $116.4 million (£84 million) which was set back in May, with the boost in sales being credited to out-of-state visitors who came to Chicago to attend Lollapalooza.

Reviewing Lollapalooza 2021, NME wrote: “At the 30th anniversary of Lollapalooza – a Chicago mega-fest attended by 385,000 – the mood feels a little different. Perhaps it’s just proximity to Fred Durst’s new dad look, but returning to live music at full throttle after almost a year and a half away is sure to cause a shock to the system.

“Despite rising concerns around the fast-spreading Delta variant of COVID-19 in the US, the large-scale festival goes ahead, with no emergency brakes.”