CHICAGO (CBS) — With Lollapalooza in full swing, the city’s teen curfew has been sparking controversy.
The music festival in Grant Park draws a young crowd. But as it stands, the 10 p.m. curfew for those under 18 does not apply during certain events – including ticketed concerts.
As CBS 2’s Marybel González reported Friday night, some youth activists say it is not fair that the curfew applies to some teens and not to others.
The city says the curfew is a way to crack down on crime. But the activists call it unconstitutional, and say they are ready to take it to court.
They used Lollapalooza itself as a venue to protest the city’s policy.
“If you have a ticket for Lollapalooza – general admission or otherwise – then you don’t have to abide by that curfew, which instantly struck me as really weird,” said youth activist Isaiah Pinzino of the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council.
On opening day of Lollapalooza, Pinzino – along with other activists from the GoodKids MadCity organization – stood outside the concert gates to denounce the city’s 10 p.m. curfew – as well as the executive order that bans unaccompanied minors from Millennium Park on weekend nights.
A clause in the ordinance does allow minors who are coming from a ticketed event like Lollapalooza to be out past the curfew.
“It also shows that they’re willing to circumvent the supposed safety reforms that that they’re inputting for concertgoers – which is absolutely ridiculous,” Pinzino said.
Back in May, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the measure as a way to combat crime, shootings, and rowdy crowds. Infamously, a 16-year-old boy named Seandell Holliday was shot and killed in front of the Cloud Gate sculpture during a chaotic gathering in Millennium Park in May.
But activists say the curfew and other restrictions on young people are not a solution.
A lawyer representing the activists sent a letter to the city asking them to do away with the curfew. They are calling the measure unconstitutional, and one that disproportionately affects Black and brown teens.
The city did not respond to our request for comment on the letter.
We also reached out to Chicago Police to ask what happens to teens who are attending the concert and stay out past curfew. The city said, “It is a defense for the minor to be participating in, or returning from, a ticketed event.”