Taste Of Chicago, Lollapalooza & More Canceled Due To COVID-19; Chicago Announces New, Reimagined Summer Events

By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Mayor Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced Tuesday a slate of new and reimagined summer events including a reimagined Taste of Chicago and Lollapalooza, plus at-home dance parties, drive-in movies, virtual concerts, and more.

DCASE announced Tuesday the cancellation of all permitted special events through Labor Day. 

" Regrettably, this includes many of Chicago’s annual summertime traditions," DCASE said in a statement.

The list includes:

  • Chicago SummerDance
  • Taste of Chicago
  • Lollapalooza
  • The Chicago Air and Water Show
  • Chicago Jazz Festival
  • Maxwell Street Market through Labor Day

Plus the majority of programming at the Chicago Riverwalk, the Chicago Cultural Center, and Millennium Park; as well as the Jumping Jack Program and other festivals, parades and athletic events — some of which have already been cancelled.

“We must provide ways for people to enjoy the spirit of a Chicago summer while prioritizing health and safety,” said Mayor Lightfoot, in a statement. “As difficult as it is to remove these in-person events from our calendar, we are pulling out all the stops for an inventive, engaging and fun festival season this summer.”

According to the city, DCASE will produce more than 150 events this summer. Many of these programs support the local music industry during the Year of Chicago Music — now extended into 2021.

New and reimagined summer events include:

  • “Millennium Park at Home” which will continue with a genre-defying Music Series featuring:
    • Jon Langford, The Braided Janes, Zeshan B, Sen Morimoto and other local musicians on Thursdays (June 18 and 25, 6–7:30 p.m.; July 9, 16 and 23, 6–7:30 p.m.);
    • Blues Music performances by Melody Angel, John Primer, Toronzo Cannon and others are rescheduled for July 31–August 2 at 6–8 p.m.
    • Workouts — an alternating weekly schedule of Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates and Zumba— will be online Saturdays (June 6–August 29, 8–9 a.m.).
  • “SummerDance in Place,” a new citywide, at-home version of Chicago SummerDance will invite residents to plan socially-distant dance parties of up to 10 people — in their homes and backyards, and on porches, balconies and sidewalks — connected via a live broadcast and social media.
    • Programs will include a 30-minute lesson followed by 60 minutes of music on Wednesday evenings in July (July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29). Dance genres include Salsa, Swing and Line Dancing.

This year, the city will also offer "Taste of Chicago To-Go" that will include an expanded Community Eats program from July 8-12, supporting about 25 neighborhood restaurants and food trucks while providing free meals to nonprofits serving healthcare and other frontline workers. DCASE will also organize a food truck procession on July 8, and online cooking demos from July 8–12.

In lieu of the popular Millennium Park Summer Film Series, DCASE and the Chicago Park District are planning six drive-in movie nights across the city. The events will have a limited capacity of 50 cars, all pre-registered, and the city will encourage at-home viewing of the selected movies. Details will be announced soon.

Beginning in June, in collaboration with local music venues, DCASE will host a series of about 20 live events featuring Chicago musicians performing at neighborhood clubs and other unique locations — for limited in-person engagements, broadcast to larger audiences. Concerts will include Jazz music in August/September, in lieu of the Chicago Jazz Festival.

According to the city, Lollapalooza will honor its annual summer tradition by bringing Chicago, and the world, together around a common bond of community, civic engagement and, of course, live music in a weekend-long livestream event  July 30–August 2, 2020.  Details to be announced next month.

The Chicago Park District, Grant Park Music Festival and many other cultural presenters are also considering — or have already announced — alternative smaller and/or virtual summer events.

According to the city, Millennium Park will reopen in mid-June with limited in-person programming and in accordance with Chicago Department of Public Health safeguards and best practices, to ensure the safety of residents and visitors alike. Chicago Cultural Center and other DCASE-managed venues remain closed to the public until further notice.

Most of the Chicago City Markets will also open in June and July to increase neighborhood access to fresh and healthy food. DCASE will take necessary precautions to encourage social distancing and protect the safety of customers and vendors. 

2020 Chicago City Markets Schedule: 
  • Division Street City Market (30 W. Division St.), June–October
  • West Humboldt Park City Market (3601 W. Chicago Ave.), June–October
  • Austin Town Hall City Market (5610 W. Lake St.), July–September
  • Bronzeville City Market (4700 S. King Dr.), July–September
  • Englewood City Market (1219 W. 76th St.), July–September
  • LaFollette Park City Market (1333 N. Laramie Ave.), July–September
  • Printers Row City Market (700 S. Dearborn St.), July–October
  • Pullman Market City Market (11100 S. Cottage Grove Ave.), July–October
  • Roseland City Market (139 W. 109th St., Lavizzo Elem.), August–October
  • TENTATIVE: Daley Plaza City Market (50 W. Washington St.)
  • TENTATIVE: Federal Plaza City Market (50 W. Adams St.)

The City of Chicago previously cancelled its annual Memorial Day Parade and House Music, Gospel Music and Blues festivals.