Lollapalooza 2015 kicks off in Chicago

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Chicago is currently the center of the musical universe.

Lollapalooza 2015 is well underway, with bands playing on seven different stages throughout each day.
An estimated 100,000 music fans fill Grant Park each night for the three-day festival.

And while the park is sometimes destroyed and the streets are closed, which irritates drivers, there is a big benefit to the festival.

"Lollapolooza is a big fundraiser for Chicago Parks," said Bob O’Neill, who’s the Grant Park Conservancy and Advisory Council President.

For example, Lollapalooza built Washington Park, which is where Larry Burns is celebrating his 7th birthday.

"I play in it, I get wet in it, and sometimes we play with the toys," Larry said.

You don't have to go far to see how important Lollapalooza is to Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood.

"They'd probably be on the streets doing things they ain't supposed to, so this is keeping them occupied," said Larry’s mom Jasmine Gray.

Lollapolooza pumps $140 Million dollars into the Chicago economy.

The Park District gets $3 million dollars from the festival, with the majority of the money going toward renovations and children's programming at the city's 580 neighborhood parks. 

"With Grant Park we've had thousands of trees planted, money went into Maggie Daley Park, the restoration of Buckingham Fountain, we've created gardens with the money," O’Neill said.

With Chicago parks suffering a multi-million dollar loss of state funding, Grant Park alone depends on money from the festival. 

"If we don't bring more tourists and also make it a better place for people who live in Chicago, then we're not going to be able to compete with other cities and Lollapolooza is a part of that," O’Neill said.

Lineup and Schedule

Each year, hundreds of musical guests come to Chicago to play for thousands of fans. This year, Lollapalooza attendants can hear music from Paul McCartney, Metallica, Sam Smith, Charlie XCS, and much more.

Click here for a complete list of artists and schedule for the weekend.

Traffic and Public Transportation

The CTA and Metra will provide extra service for this weekend’s Lollapalooza music festival in Grant Park.

Metra is offering a discounted $10 unlimited ride ticket, valid on all trains scheduled to arrive after 9:30 a.m. on Friday, and all day Saturday and Sunday.

However, there will be no alcoholic beverages or glass containers allowed on Metra trains after 7 p.m. Friday, or Saturday and Sunday. Bicycles will be allowed on trains, but due to high ridership, they might not be accommodated.

The CTA will provide extra train service beginning Friday evening through Sunday.

On the Blue Line, longer trains will run until 11:30 p.m. Friday and more frequently Friday evening. On Saturday and Sunday, longer trains will run between 1:30 and 11:30 p.m.

On the Red Line, longer trains will run until midnight Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and more frequently Friday evening.

On the Brown, Green, and Orange Lines, longer trains will run until 11 p.m. Friday, and all day Saturday and Sunday.

Trains will operate normally all weekend on the Pink and Purple Lines. The Yellow Line remains suspended, but customers can board free shuttle buses at Yellow Line stations between Dempster and Howard.

In the Loop, Balbo is closed from Lake Shore Drive to Michigan Avenue, and Jackson is closed from Lake Shore Drive to Columbus. Columbus is closed from Monroe to Roosevelt, and Congress is closed from Columbus to Michigan.

As a result, nine CTA buses are detoured in those areas: the No. 2 Hyde Park Express, the No. 6 Jackson Park Express, the No. 7 Harrison, the No. 10 Museum of Science & Industry, the No. J14 Jeffery Jump, the No. 26 South Shore Express, the No. 126 Jackson, the No. 143 Stockton/Michigan Express and the No. 147 Outer Drive Express.

The CTA advises that customers buy fares ahead of time to avoid long lines at stations over the weekend.

Alcohol Restrictions

Lollapalooza security does check bags for booze and drugs, and the city says police will be on the lookout for underage drinking. 

But doctors have heard unconfirmed reports of people trying to avoid those measures by burying their stash in Grant Park before the festival, and then digging it up once inside.

Officials warn parents to be proactive and talk to their kids about the dangers of alcohol before they head out to Lollapalooza. Last year during the Lollapalooza weekend, hospitals reported 102 alcohol related visits by underage drinkers.

Cell Phone Service

Verizon has installed 12 new small cells, designed to boost network capacity in highly populated areas, around Grant Park, according to a statement from the company.

Small cells are “strategically positioned within Verizon’s existing network coverage area to add additional 4G LTE capacity where it’s needed,” the statement said. The small cells are hidden on existing infrastructure such as light poles, traffic lights and power poles.