Lightfoot optimistic this summer will be a more normal one for Chicago

Groundwork is being laid for summer concerts and festivals in Chicago.

"I believe the summer of 2021 is going to look more like the summer of 2019 and less like the summer of 2020," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday.

It is not set in stone just yet, but the progress is promising.


There is indeed reason for optimism that this summer will resemble the Chicago summers we know and love: Lollapalooza, Taste of Chicago, the Air & Water Show -- but the mayor says it all depends on one very important caveat.

"I feel very optimistic about summer activities and gatherings this summer, but more to come," Lightfoot said.

She was a bit coy in terms of specifics, but Mayor Lightfoot gave no reasons Chicagoans should not look forward to marquee summer events.

"We know so much more about this virus, how it spreads, than we did a year ago, we know in particular about outside events that we can manage in a safe way that's consistent with public health guidance," Lightfoot said.

More groundwork was laid Wednesday morning, with Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) officially requesting a renewal of the city's special events ordinance.

"With this ordinance, it gives us the supplemental authority related to the management and execution of events and it also gives us contracting authority important to the functioning of DCASE and this authority allows us to successfully manage and execute our world-class events," Mark Kelly said.

But Mayor Lightfoot says glorious summer scenes like these will still depend on good COVID metrics, as she encouraged Chicagoans to stay diligent and get vaccinated when it is your turn.

"I think we’re gonna see some big events over the course of this summer," Lightfoot said.

The DCASE Budget did get slashed by almost half this year because of hotel occupancy taxes that were drastically down because of the pandemic.

At this point, Taste of Chicago and The Air & Water Show are not formally written into the department's budget, but the commissioner says that may change and expects to make an announcement in the next two weeks.