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Lollapalooza Suspended Over Dangerous Weather

Festival crowds evacuated to underground shelters as severe thunderstorms approach

Fans gather around the main stage at Lollapalooza.
Alex Reside
August 4, 2012 4:54 PM ET

Lollapalooza has been suspended due to dangerous weather conditions developing in the Chicago area, and crowds are being evacuated from the festival site at Grant Park. The festival began closing down at 3:30 this afternoon.

With severe thunderstorms approaching from the west and warnings from the National Weather Service, festival staff and the Chicago Police Department are directing festival-goers to three pre-established underground evacuation and shelter sites along Michigan Avenue. The line of storms heading toward Chicago include hail, heavy rain, lightning, and winds reaching up to 70 miles per hour. 

"Our first priority is always the safety of our fans, staff and artists," Shelby Meade, communications director for C3 Presents, the promoter behind Lollapalooza, said in a statement. "We regret having to suspend any show, but safety always comes first."

Depending on the length of the storm, the festival is expected to remain closed for at least another two hours, and the National Weather Service's thunderstorm watch will be in effect for the region until 8 p.m. tonight. The festival organizers tweeted an update early this evening: "We're working w/ our team & city officials to survey the park after the storm to determine if it is safe for festival goers to return today."

Calvin Harris, who was scheduled to perform at 7 p.m., also tweeted about the developing situation. "Watching a huge thunderstorm from my hotel room on 43rd floor in Chicago," he wrote. "My lollapalooza slot is definitely in jeopardy." Tonight's line-up was also set to include Frank Ocean, Avicii, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. 

Update: The festival will resume at 6:00 p.m. tonight. A statement from the festival's organizers says that they have been monitoring the storm with the help of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, and have determined that weather conditions are safe. An updated schedule for tonight's performances has been posted on Lollapalooza's website

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