Lollapalooza Music Festival Increases Security

Lollapalooza Music Festival Increases Security

Lollapalooza will be one of the country’s largest urban festivals to take place since the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino shooting, which left 58 people dead and is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The music festival Lollapalooza begins in Grant Park, Ill., tomorrow, and attendees should expect to see increased security, including a larger police presence and airport-style security screenings at entrances. The festival, which usually attracts about 100,000 people each of its four days, worked to enhance its security measures in light of the deadly mass shooting at a music festival in Las Vegas last October.

Lollapalooza will be one of the country’s largest urban festivals to take place since the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino shooting, which left 58 people dead and is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Rich Guidice, first deputy of the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said he and his team took the Vegas shooting and other incidents into consideration when creating their security plan for this year’s festival.

This year’s Lollapalooza will have an increased Chicago police presence, Guidice said, and officers and Chicago Fire Department personnel have undergone active shooter training. He said some officers will be patrolling via bicycle, while SWAT teams with sniper capabilities will also be on hand.

Law enforcement are keeping an eye on high-rise buildings overlooking the park as well. According to Guidice, officers have been talking to and offering safety and security training to businesses along the perimeter of Grant Park.

The entrance gates, performance stages, and park camera system for Lollapalooza will be monitored by three security firms. In addition to the 8-foot-high fences that usually surround the festival grounds, extra concrete barriers will be in place.

At the entrance gates, festivalgoers will subject to a security screening process similar to that at the airport, including full-body pat-downs, walk-through metal detectors, and handheld metal detectors. Bags will be searched, and only small purses, toes, fanny packs, and single-pocket drawstring bags are allowed. Backpacks, bags with multiple pockets, and bottles of water will not be allowed.

Guidice also called attention to Lollapalooza’s alert system, which distributes messages through video screens, social media, and notifications on the festival’s mobile app. The app has been used in the past to notify attendees of weather-related evacuations.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said there were no known threats to the festival, but that they wanted to be prepared.

“We have pushed back the perimeter and we'll have eyes in the sky, so we'll be keeping a close look on it. But I just want to caution people, that with things of this nature, you can never have 100 percent guaranteed security, but what you do is try to be prepared in the event that something does go astray,” Johnson said.

“So I think that we put things in place now to keep everybody safe. We want everybody to have an enjoyable time."

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