Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

Biggest crowd, plus no sitting on the fence at Lollapalooza

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Lollapalooza's attendance for 2010 marks its biggest yet in Chicago: 240,000 -- that's 80K each day -- filled Grant Park this weekend, topping last year's three-day record of 225,000 for the weekend.

The extra bodies had extra room, too. The festival grew 35 acres this year, filling 115 acres. This allowed for significantly easier traffic flow north and south, turning Columbus Drive into a mile-long sidewalk, and avoiding the bottleneck around Buckingham Fountain that caused so many missed sets in previous years. Perry's Stage, for DJs and electronic acts, grew considerably, as did the food area.

Still, the increased space allowed for up to 95,000 participants a day. Festival organizers C3 Productions said they capped attendance at 80,000 this year to "focus on flow and room for the patrons" in the new layout, according to C3 spokeswoman Shelby Meade.

Bigger space also meant more fenceline to patrol -- and more opportunity for jumpers who don't want to pay admission.

We watched this happen all weekend long. Anders Smith Lindall reported on one breach involving 30 to 60 jumpers; he got photos of others.

Saturday evening, three young guys rolled over a fence and seemed startled to find themselves behind a bar. They scattered, and security personnel went after them. I saw one apprehended, a teenage boy in a black-and-white checked shirt. He was handcuffed and led out of the fence by security. More than a dozen jumped over the fence Sunday night into the media area. Security later said 15 had been rounded up from that breach. They then sat down and compared wounds -- a cut hand for one, bruised leg for another. They chalked it up to "kids being kids."

That said, as of Sunday morning, Chicago Police said they had made just 27 Lolla-related arrests, most of them for fence-jumping.

The extra bodies also mean more money for Chicago's parks.With three-day passes costing $215 this year, the added capacity was expected to bring more revenue to the parks, which get 10.25 percent of receipts.

Last year that meant about $1.9 million for the district's fund-raising partner, Parkways Foundation. The money helped pay for everything from repairs to Buckingham Fountain to scholarships for some of the city's neediest kids to go to park district camps, said Brenda Palm, Parkways' executive director.

Contributing: Lisa Donovan

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on August 9, 2010 2:20 PM.

Lollapalooza: Your reading guide was the previous entry in this blog.

Farm Aid 25 adds Kenny Chesney, Jason Mraz, Jeff Tweedy, more is the next entry in this blog.

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