Chicago secures hotel-boosting Lollapalooza for 10 more years

New deal extends festival’s contract with the city

J-Hope and Mayor Lori Lightfoot at Lollapalooza 2022 (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
J-Hope and Mayor Lori Lightfoot at Lollapalooza 2022 (Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

Lollapalooza is staying in Chicago, bolstering prospects for the local hotel market.

Just before headliner J-Hope took the stage on Sunday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a new contract that will keep the music festival in Grant Park for the next 10 years, the Chicago Tribune reported.

“People have been saying to me, ‘Mayor, we love Lolla. It’s the best thing going.’ I agree,” Lightfoot said at the festival. “And so I’m here to tell you by decree, we’re gonna make sure that Lolla continues in the future.”

The music festival has helped Chicago’s hotels recover from the pandemic, despite the city’s continued reliance on business travel. The 223-room Sable Hotel on Navy Pier, for example, has been adding 60 to 70 rooms a day during the festival.

Details of the contract, which will begin with the 2023 festival, haven’t been released, including how the city’s amusement tax will impact it. Executives with festival organizer C3 Presents had been asking the city to ensure the tax wouldn’t increase throughout the course of the new agreement.

“There are now a total of eight Lollapaloozas on four continents, but Chicago remains the center of the Lollapalooza universe,” Charlie Walker, a partner at C3 Presents, said in a news release.

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The deal, which will also increase the attendance cap to 115,000 from 100,000, guarantees that C3 will pay at least $2 million if the four-day festival takes place; $1.5 million if the festival lasts three days; or $750,000 if the festival doesn’t go on.

The Park District will receive between 5 and 20 percent of revenue from the festival over the term of the contract.

The current deal between C3 and the park district was signed in 2012 and expired after the 2021 festival, when organizers decided to opt for a one-year extension for the most recent festival. So far, almost all of the deals for Lollapalooza have happened behind closed doors, with many — including the aldermen who represent Grant Park — left out of the discussions.

The festival will take place over the last weekend of July or the first weekend of August.

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HVS' Stacey Nadolny (HVS, Getty Images)
Lollapalooza brings a green day for Chicago hotel industry

— Victoria Pruitt