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Lollapalooza Evacuated: Severe Thunderstorms, Lightning Threaten Safety

Updated schedule for Saturday's shows announced.

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud

Here's an update I never expected to give: Lollapalooza has been suspended as of Saturday afternoon due to severe thunderstorms thoughout the Chicago area, which are now upon us like a wall of firehoses blasting down from the sky. Thunder and lightning hit a deafening volume around 4pm, as festival attendees ran for cover.

The exodus, which was strong along Michigan Avenue an hour after the evacuation announcement, had soon become an all-out sprinting overload for the neon-clad festivalgoers seeking shelter, as word of a possible tornado warning began to spread.

“Lollapalooza officials are continuing to coordinate with the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) to monitor weather conditions and determine when the park is safe for festival-goers to return,” the official statement reads. But truly, by the looks of things and the sound of this thunder, it would be surprising to see festivities resume today.

Last year's Lollapalooza also faced inclement weather, with heavy downpours delaying set times – but there was no evacuation, and the music continued through the rains – with amazing results. This year, however, there is a much more serious tone to the danger, as the sky had gone from blinding sunshine to a dark and foreboding atmosphere within the span of an hour. Presently, there is no escape from the torrential downpour except in hotels, cars and homes. 

Gates are reportedly back open, as of 5:45pm. Thanks to Consequence of Sound, we have news on a revised schedule for the evening's shows:

We're on our way back down to see what kind of muddy trouble we can get into. In the meantime, check out our Day 1 coverage from Lollapalooza 2012.

Photo: Griff