Lollapalooza 2011 gets underway in Chicago

August 5, 2011

(File/AP)

The Lollapalooza music festival kicked off Friday in Chicago's Grant Park, celebrating its 20th anniversary with more than 130 bands and an estimated 270,000 people in attendance during the three day event. The concert will feature headliners like Coldplay, Muse, Eminem, Foo Fighters and My Morning Jacket.

The record breaking attendance is sure to bring delays for pedestrians and drivers, according to Roderick Drew, spokespeson for the city of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Columbus Drive from Monroe to Roosevelt will be closed until August 8th, and the west sidewalk on Lake Shore Drive from Monroe to Roosevelt also will be closed.

For residents who planned on catching a listen outside of Grant Park, Drew said they'd be out of luck.

"Pedestrian traffic will be redirected to the east side of Lake Shore Drive so if you don't have a ticket and you expect to be able to camp out on the sidewalk  outside the event on the west side of that sidewalk you won't be able to do so," he said.

According to Drew, the Chicago Transit Authority will be providing extra train service to accommodate the massive crowds. He said drivers should expect delays due to Lollapalooza throughout the weekend.

Meanwhile, inside the park, Lollapalooza organizers have been planning for more than just crowds and music -- they've organized a few greening efforts as well. For the first time, the festival will be home to an extensive composting system. Lollapalooza organizers hired Pritchard Events to head the project.

"We have about 20 stations in the food courts where we have a compost manager and we have stations where there's a landfill container, recycling and compost, and we have a person standing at each one of those stations directing people on what to do," said David Mayer, director of sustainability for Pritchard Events.

But the composting doesn't end there. Mayer said he's worked with food vendors to use only compostable plates, silverware and kitchen utensils. He's even got some of his staff working in the kitchens at the food court to make sure food scraps are composted, too. Mayer said he wanted to make up for last year's unsuccessful greening endeavors.

Concert goers will be swarming Grant Park until Sunday evening, when the festival comes to a close.