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Grant Park Left A Muddy Mess After Lollapalooza

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Hutchinson Field

Hutchinson Field after Lollapalooza 2011. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 08/09/11 1:34 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Officials at the Chicago Park District say it will take several weeks and tens of thousands of dollars to repair the damage done to Grant Park during Lollapalooza.

As CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports, it was a post-Woodstock scene Tuesday morning at Hutchinson Field, on the south end of Grant Park. The lawn was a mess of muddy and stagnant water, stale beer, and garbage, with seagulls everywhere.

With all the flooding and rain over the weekend, the fields were torn up mightily – both at Hutchinson Field and farther north near the Petrillo Band Shell.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports


Last year, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, it cost $200,000 to restore Grant Park after Lollapalooza. This year, repairing Hutchinson Field alone – where the Foo Fighters played on Sunday night – could cost up to $80,000.

But taxpayers will not be on the hook for any of the costs. The contract with Austin, Texas-based C3 Presents LLC requires the promoter to cover all costs, and C3 tells the Sun-Times it will devote funds to upkeep at Grant Park throughout the year.

At an unrelated event on Tuesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel expressed that given the contract stipulations, the cleanup shouldn’t be a big deal.

“As you know in the contract for Lollapalooza, they have a responsibility to fix up Grant Park after the event, and to leave it in better shape that it was before,” he said. “That’s in the contract, and I have all the confidence that the parties will do that, because it’s in the contract.”

The mayor added, “90,00 people came over each of the three days to enjoy a unique festival here in Chicago.”

Overall, arrests at Lollapalooza were fairly few. In total, police made no more than 30 and wrote nearly 70 tickets for minor infractions such as public drinking and public urination. Of those arrested, 15 were adults, and two were juveniles who were busted for underage drinking.

But that didn’t meant the festival was without its problems, some of which were captured on a shocking video.

Jacob Thom, who volunteered for all three days at Lollapalooza, said large crowds gathered several times, charged the gates at Lollapalooza and simply rushed past security guards.

He said people could have been trampled and severely injured by the crowds of gate crashers.

“There was one incident, an ambulance came out afterwards because an old man had got crushed, just standing around, and severely concussioned, bleeding,” Thom said.

In YouTube video of one of the gate-crashing incidents, two police officers rushed up the stairs to end a stampede. But Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Monday that guarding the gate isn’t their job.

“We’re there to provide for the public safety,” McCarthy said. “We don’t work as bouncers for admission purposes.”

The superintendent declined to comment on whether or not Lollapalooza officials had provided enough security for the festival.

Thom, who shot a gate-crashing video on his cell phone, said the real answer might be spreading out the crowds by spreading out the event.

“Perhaps having more after shows, more dispersed shows in different locations of the city, rather than one central location, might help,” Thom said. “If they had multiple parks … maybe the crowd would disperse easier.”

Mobs of gate crashers apparently used cell phones to coordinate their stampedes and gather the biggest numbers at the most poorly defended entrances.

The three-day music festival drew a record-setting crowd of more than 270,000 – many of whom paid upwards of $200 for a three-day pass.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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