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Lollapaloza Taking Steps To Keep Out Gate Crashers, Protect Grant Park Grass

Eight-foot tall fencing, used during the NATO Summit for barricades around McCormick Place, have been set up around much of the perimeter of Lollapalooza, to keep out gate crashers who plagued the festival last year. (Credit: CBS)

Eight-foot tall fencing, used during the NATO Summit for barricades around McCormick Place, have been set up around much of the perimeter of Lollapalooza, to keep out gate crashers who plagued the festival last year. (Credit: CBS)

Roseanne Tellez Roseanne Tellez
Roseanne Tellez is the co-anchor of CBS 2 Chicago′s midday News at...
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Call them Lollapa-losers; the freeloaders who crashed the entrance gates at Lollapalooza last year without paying. No encores allowed this year.

CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez takes a look at how organizers plan to keep the party closed, as well as how to avoid the kind of damage last year’s festival did to the grass at Grant Park.

The same 8-foot tall barricades officials used to secure the area around McCormick Place during the NATO Summit in May have been set up around much of the perimeter of this year’s Lollapalooza to keep the gate crashers out.

Lollapalooza spokeswoman Lisa Hickey said, “We’ll just be constantly monitoring the event to improve safety measures, and just keep everyone having a good time.”

At Hutchinson Field in Grant Park, predictable preparations were underway on Wednesday, including setup of more barricades, as well as the concert stages, and sound systems.

Other preparations include new trees and bushes, paid for by C3 Productions, as their way of giving back, after last year’s Lollapalooza destroyed virtually all of the grass in southern Grant Park, in large part because of heavy thunderstorms in the weeks before the festival.

Bob O’Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy, said, “The soil was completely saturated. Then you had 270,000 people coming in. That really just tills up the soil, and just literally destroys the grass.”

O’Neill said C3 spent about $500,000 on new turf, and this year has greatly curtailed vehicle traffic on the grass.

“That’s our commitment: to leave Grant Park in better condition than when we come each year for the festival,” Hickey said.

O’Neill said C3 made good on that promise, by helping restore the fields and adding new plantings that they’re trying hard to protect.

“Throughout this whole area, every bit of sensitive landscaping is fenced, or double-fenced,” O’Neill said.

But Mother Nature is having the last word again, creating a whole new problem with this summer’s drought.

C3 said, after Lollapalooza wraps up, they are contracted to check out any damage, make assessments, and make repairs.

Hickey said $800,000 was spent last year to repair the fields at Grant Park after the damage from Lollapalooza.