• Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

Wild about Harry: Harry Styles fans camp out days before United Center show

ByDebra J. Aguilar

Oct 5, 2022

Shayanna Love took a short break from school on Tuesday to camp with two of her friends in a tent on a grassy area just outside the United Center.

They did not give up on their studies. They were hoping to be first in line to score the best seats in the general admission area for the Harry Styles concert, which kicks off more than 48 hours later.

“Camping is like a good experience, we just like to sit here and relax,” said Love, 23, who attends the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and killed time doing her homework.

Harry Styles fans form a camp outside the United Center. Those at the front of the line hope to score bracelets allowing them to get closer to the stage.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

“It makes us really excited for the gig,” Love’s friend Janetza Garcia said. Kylie Gossman, 20, joins them at the head of the line. All are from the Chicago area and have seen Styles perform before.

On Wednesday evening, the three men had been in line outside the United Center for about 24 hours. They were joined by at least 73 other Styles fans who also coveted prime seats on Thursday’s 8 p.m. show. This is the first of six performances at the United Center for Styles’ Love on Tour.

Love and other eager fans are lining up so early because hours before the concert, at 9 a.m., the United Center will be giving general admission ticket holders official numbered wristbands. They represent the order in which fans will be admitted to the pit when the doors open at 4 p.m. Those at the head of the queue will be able to go to the barricades, a few meters from the stage and the Styles.

Many fans have seen Styles perform multiple times, some during his time with One Direction. They always want to get as close to the star as they are allowed.

Aubree Hayden, 23, followed the singer across the country. She saw him twice in New York, Arkansas, Chicago and Milwaukee. She hopes to see him perform in Los Angeles soon.

“If you’re at the barricade, you have a perfect view of everything he’s doing,” Hayden said. “That’s really nice.”

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Forecasts of cooler temperatures and rain are not deterring Harry Styles fans from camping outside the United Center for days.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Hayden, who lives in Kankakee County, and her friends Jessica Emery, 24; Baylee Kuk, 25; and Chloee Kuk, 21, had been in line since 5 p.m. Wednesday night and were near the front. Once they receive their bracelets, they plan to fold up their tent and store it with their other gear in one of their cars. The band then plans to head to a nearby hotel to get ready for the show.

The friends said the weather had been cooperative and they hoped it would remain so, although the forecast for Thursday said scattered showers are possible throughout the day and low temperatures drop into the 40s the night.

Frances Messina, 20, remembers the first time she saw Styles in 2014 when he was with One Direction. Since then, she said she made it a goal to see him whenever he came to Chicago and traveled to California to see him.

“I just love him, I think he’s the best person in the world,” Messina said, adding that for her, it doesn’t matter where she’s seated at a Harry Styles concert because “it’s always a great experience”, but she likes to be around the singer.

Messina and her friend Janet Marquez, also 20, lined up around 5 p.m. Wednesday. They were busy attaching gems to their concert outfits, hoping to steal a look from Styles.

“When you’re around him, it’s just a different vibe to see him up close,” Messina said. Marquez added that “It just feels more real.”

Contributor: Anthony Vazquez