Every year there is an all night event in downtown Chicago (the loop) called Looptopia. My roommates had told me that this event was a bunch of crap. But Griselda and I headed downtown to check it out anyway to see for ourselves.
It indeed was Crap-topia. Or rather, we felt it was more like Police-topia. There were dozens and dozens of cops on each corner, eyeballing everyone, breaking up any chance that people were having fun.
We thought we heard a band playing, but upon walking towards it saw a movie projector playing terrible music videos. Nobody was watching it. Why they didn't they hire a real band is beyond me. And the one guy who was dancing was told to stop by a police officer. Huh?
So we decided to go to the Art Museum which was supposed to be open till 1 am. We get there at 12:20am and they are kicking people out. Apparently there were too many people. Huh?
So we decide to walk to Millenium park. Surely there must be lots of things happening in the park for an all night festival. The park was closed, with police officers and barricades at every entry point. Huh?
We start walking back to the train and finally we hear MUSIC. Street performers in front of the cultural center. A man playing saxophone and 2 tap dancers. These guys were killing it and a big crowd quickly formed. Not even 10 minutes into the police come and break it up. WTF??? People shouted "fuck the police!" as this happened. It didn't make any sense.
What a waste of time. This event could have been cool if it had an ounce of planning put into it. I bet that secretly the Chicago police department organized this festival to have an excuse to get paid mad overtime and waste tax dollars, practice harassing lots of people for no reason, and create the sense that Chicago is a draconian police state.
They could have hired ANY block party organizer from ANY neighborhood and they would have done a better job!
a) Block off the streets from traffic!
b) Let lots of street performers loose on the streets!
c) Let street vendors do their thing!
d) Have some stages with live entertainment happening!
e) Let people have fun!
It was really depressing to see that the city was more interested in wrangling up people and having them shop in Baskin and Robbins than actually putting on a festival that had any sort of value. To me it is weird that downtown isn't always alive and bustling, like Times Square at 4 am. But even when they try to make it alive and bustling, they turn the place into a tense police state and restrict people from doing anything.
Here is a picture that summarizes the event. CPD on the side of a building - Chicago Police Department. You can see Millenium park, closed, in the background.