If you’re planning to say “fare thee well” to the Grateful Dead at Soldier Field this weekend, there are some things you should know.
The band’s 50th anniversary performance, set to be members' “last-ever performance together,” kicks off Friday as thousands of fans make their way to Chicago during the July 4 holiday weekend.
The “Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead” performance will see Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir reunite at Soldier Field, nearly 20 years to the day of the full band’s final performance, which took place at the venue roughly one month before Jerry Garcia’s death in August 1995. The band will also be joined by Phish's Trey Anastasio on guitar, Jeff Chimenti on keyboard and Bruce Hornsby on piano.
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The event has made Chicago one of the top destinations for the holiday weekend, so fans will likely need to plan ahead.
Here are some things Deadheads should know before the highly-anticipated event:
Tailgating will be allowed in the parking lots of Soldier Field during the weekend, even for fans who don’t have tickets to the fest. The special event parking lots open at 3 p.m. and the North Parking Garage opens at 6 a.m. Tailgating will end once the shows begin at 7 p.m. and there will be no tailgating allowed after the shows.
The CTA announced Wednesday that it would provide extra buses to routes that serve Soldier field throughout the weekend. The no. 130 and no. 146 Inner Drive/Michigan Express buses will have extra service running until one hour after the concerts end. Fans can also travel to Soldier Field via Red, Orange and Green line trains. The Roosevelt station is located at Roosevelt and State streets, a few blocks west of the stadium.
Metra will also offer extra service on several lines over the weekend.
CTA buses, cabs and Uber rides can pick up riders on Columbus between Roosevelt and Balbo. A drop-off location will be set at the 18th Street turnaround just west off the 18th Street exit from Lake Shore Drive.
For more on how to get around Chicago during the holiday weekend, click here.
Most tickets are commemorative tickets but a select amount of Ticketmaster tickets are not. Fans are encouraged to be very suspect of counterfeit tickets.
Those getting tickets at Will Call can pick them up across from Gate 10 on the Southeast corner. You will need a valid proof of purchase to enter the enclosed festival grounds.
Tickets are still available on third-party sites like Stubhub. Last month, ticket prices were reportedly dropping.
A three-day pass on StubHub, once priced as high as $116,000, could be purchased for less than $500. Single day passes were as low as $195. The lowest priced tickets won't give fans a full view of the show, and all of the cheaper seats are located behind the stage, however.
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Special Event Parking lots open at 3 p.m. and parking will be first-come, first-served. The North Parking Garage opens at 6 a.m.
Shuttles will also from the Millennium and Grant Park garages from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Parking rates are $49 for cars and $121 for RVs.
Lots close one hour after the show. No overnight parking will be allowed.
5. General Admission
Those with field-level general-admission tickets can begin lining up at 7 a.m. in the Stadium Green outside the southeast corner of the stadium.
6. Soldier Field Security
All concert-goers will undergo electronic wand screening and have all approved bags checked. Soldier Field will not allow backpacks bigger than 12x12x12, glow sticks, food, selfie sticks, strollers, camelbacks or companion pets. For a complete list of prohibited items click here.
7. The Stadium
The festival area opens at 10 a.m. at Soldier Field. Only ticketed fans will be allowed on the grounds surrounding Soldier Field.
Fans can enter the stadium in three spots -- one on the North side along McFetridge Drive, and two entry points on the South. Sidewalk areas from parking lots are the designated entry points to the festival grounds.
Gates open at 5 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.
Partial refunds are available for those who ordered tickets via the band’s mail-order system.
More than 500,000 tickets were requested via mail order. Due to the overwhelming number of these requests, the promoters changed the seating plans to accommodate more guests. As a result, some fans were moved to seats with a lower ticket value than what they paid.
Fans who wanted a full refund needed to submit the request by June 22. But those who still want to go to the concert can receive partial refunds to make up for the difference in ticket prices. Those fans need to mail in a request by July 20.
Click here for more details.
There are several options for streaming the performances at home. A YouTube stream and webcast are available for purchase each night and the shows will also be streamed live on Pay-Per-View and satellite radio. Click here for more detail on ways to stream.
10. Other GD Events, Places to Watch in Chicago
For a complete list of Grateful Dead celebrations in the city offering a live stream of the shows, click here.