Festival safety concerns grow after gunshots ring out at Chicago’s Shakespeare in the Parks – NBC Chicago

Some have expressed concerns about safety at Chicago’s summer festivals after gunfire disrupted a Shakespeare performance in the parks on Thursday night, resulting in a chaotic scene and the cancellation of weekend performances.

Crowds had gathered in Columbus Park to see Shakespeare in the Parks when all the sudden gunshots rang out just before 7 p.m.

“All these kids started coming out of the parking lot and the playground and the attendees hit the bridge and also started running,” witness Keith Yearman said.

The spectators lay down on the grass while the performers hid between the instruments.

Yearman, a freelance photographer, captured it all on camera.

“The mood certainly changed quickly, people were jumping on their phones, calling the police,” he said.

Fortunately, nobody was hurt. However, organizers canceled the remaining shows. The random and violent incident is a major concern as people venture into weekend events across the city.

“You guess what’s going on, but you know, you have to live your life,” said one participant, Samir Lakhani.

In Humboldt Park, the largest Hispanic festival in the Midwest is underway this weekend. A few blocks east, the annual Wicker Park Festival also draws large crowds.

At every Chicago festival, safety is paramount.

“Security has been increased for all street festivals this year, Chicago police, firefighters and all sorts of different things that you can see and can’t see,” said Courtland Hickey, president of Taste of Lincoln Avenue. .

At the Taste of Lincoln Avenue, which entered its 38th year on Friday evening, bags are checked and security guards greet visitors. Several Chicago police officers are also on site for security reasons.