Grateful Dead fans ask to camp out in Chicago during 3 days of summer concerts | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Grateful Dead fans ask to camp out in Chicago during 3 days of summer concerts

FILE - In this May 9, 2009 file photo, Grateful Dead fans shop for tie-dye T-shirts in the parking lot of the Forum before to a concert of The Dead, performing in the Inglewood section of Los Angeles. Grateful Dead fans want Chicago’s Soldier Field to allow a campout-style atmosphere during a weekend of concerts in July 2015 billed as the band’s very last, but city officials say they won’t be making that decision any time soon. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
January 24, 2015 - 11:31 AM

CHICAGO - Fans of the Grateful Dead want a campout style atmosphere during three 50th anniversary concerts in July at Chicago's Soldier Field, but whether the venue will allow it is another question.

Jeremy Davis, of Florida, started an online petition — which had about 8,000 signatures by Saturday —asking that overnight parking be allowed in lots surrounding the stadium along Lake Michigan.

Davis said it would keep the anticipated tens of thousands of fans from crowding downtown streets and reduce traffic congestion. He added that fans — eager for what could be one of the band's last shows — are willing to pay more and it could be an economic opportunity for Chicago.

Also, it's long been a Deadhead tradition with fans bringing RV's to concerts with "no negativity," he said.

"It's something that we've been doing for so long," said Davis, who works in finance but also makes jewelry sold at concerts "This is almost a no brainer."

Officials in Chicago said many factors have to be considered, among them safety. Opening lots around Soldier Field for more than four hours prior to the show — the typical time — will take resources and co-ordination from police, the fire department and other agencies. He said an evaluation would take place over the coming weeks.

"While we understand the desires of some of the community, this is something that requires a co-operative evaluation from several entities to make a determination," said Soldier Field spokesman Luca Serra.

The area around Soldier Field isn't new to festival-style concerts. For the last decade, Chicago's lakefront Grant Park has hosted Lollapalooza, where dozens of musical artists perform over several days.

For Davis, the Grateful Dead's Chicago concerts during the July 4 holiday weekend could be a meaningful and final opportunity to see other fans. Several original band members are reuniting for the "Fare Thee Well" concerts. The band gave its final performances with lead singer Jerry Garcia in Chicago in July 1995. He died later that year.

"This is the last chance for the family to be together," Davis said.


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News from © The Associated Press, 2015
The Associated Press

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