CHICAGO — Streets festivals are back after a year of cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic — and the Windy City Smokeout will be one of the first big ones.
The enormous barbecue will be able to host up to 12,500 people per day July 8-11 — and attendees will have to be vaccinated or prove they have a recent negative COVID-19 test. Single-day and four-day general admission tickets are already on sale online.
The outdoor fest will be held in the parking lot of the United Center and will have a musical lineup, including Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley and Brett Eldredge.
All vendors, performers, ticketholders and staff will be required to be fully vaccinated, according to a city news release. Non-vaccinated attendees will be allowed, but they’ll have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of trying to enter the event.
People will be required to wear masks and guests will have to “appropriately space out,” according to the festival’s website. Food and drink lines will be regulated and there will be signs to space apart patrons. There will be contactless payment.
The Smokeout will mark the return of Chicago’s street festivals after they’ve been canceled for more than a year due to the pandemic, which has made it dangerous to gather in large groups.
But the city announced Thursday festivals and outdoor events will be allowed this year — with a capacity limit of 15 people per 1,000 square feet. Those rules could be loosened as more people get vaccinated and fewer coronavirus cases are reported.
Other beloved festivals, like the Silver Room Block Party, have already announced they won’t be held this year. But some organizers are trying to set up events, including major outdoor concerts like Lollapalooza.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.