Update: Lollapalooza is back on! After the storm passed without incident, the gates to Grant Park have been reopened to fans less than an hour after the initial evacuation. Hey, better safe than sorry, right?
Authorities forced an emergency evacuation of Lollapalooza on Saturday afternoon due to severe thunderstorms headed toward the Midwest metropolis. See on-the-ground footage from Fuse's Esteban Serrano below.
Festivalgoers were moved to pre-established shelter areas near Grant Park, and the festival grounds were fully evacuated between 4:00pm and 4:30pm local time, according to Fuse's writer on the ground. The Chicago Tribune is reporting police officials do "not know if the event will be canceled for the rest of the day because it depends on how severe the weather is."
A statement on the festival's website says "Lollapalooza organizers have suspended the festival until further notice" due to warnings from the National Weather Service. As of 5pm local time, festival organizers tweeted, "We're working with our team & city officials to survey the park after the storm to determine if it safe for festival goers to return today."
Jason Newman—our writer covering Lollapalooza 2012—says all the PA systems at Lollapalooza made the evacuation announcement around the same time. Newman says a member of Neon Indian added, "If you're on psychedelics, it's going to be okay: Don't worry."
Although fest fans started chanting, "Bullsh*t, bullsh*t" upon hearing the initial announcement, Newman says the crowd soon submitted to a calm, although somewhat bottlenecked, evacuation. He says, "The general vibe was disappointed but understanding."
Nearly one year ago and less than 200 miles away, high winds caused a stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair, killing seven people attending a Sugarland concert and injuring dozens.