CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s the first summer weekend in Chicago, and it’s packed with concerts and festivals, drawing hundreds of thousands to the city.
All that fun means a lot of extra manpower to keep everyone safe.
There are events at Navy Pier all weekend and 80,000 people at neighboring concerts.
This is just the start of one of those summer weekends that has Chicago emergency readiness put to the test.
The festival in Union Park is just one of dozens around the city this weekend, and two of the biggest events are right next to each other on the lakefront.
“I feel like there’s a lot going on right now. It’s really busy, especially with the Rolling Stones happening right there,” said Cory LaFlair.
The Rolling Stones performing at a packed Soldier Field and Lake Shake and Lake Shake, the mega country musical festival at Northerly Island, are close, and it’s a particular problem for police.
“This weekend has been circled on the calendar for quite some time,” Rich Guidice of OEMC said.
At the city’s emergency management headquarters, staff is monitoring cameras and reports from all over the city and taking lessons learned from some out of control crowds in the past.
Officials said they’ve done all they can preparing to handle anything this weekend from traffic tie-ups to terrorism scares.
“Any time you have large movements of people coming to one location, that’s something the city puts a lot of emphasis on,” Guidice said.
Emergency management has extra command posts along the lakefront and is working in coordination with Chicago police on extra mounted, bike and foot patrols — all things people in those huge crowds say they are glad to see.
“Lot of extra police, puts me at ease,” Olivia Romano said.
“I feel pretty safe,” said Olivia Romano. “I’ve been going to this event for a while now, so I’ve never, ever felt unsafe. And I think there’ s a lot of extra police now, so I think that just kind of puts me at ease.”
The city has issued nearly 80 special event permits this weekend. That’s not an unusual number, but what is unusual is how many are really large events including the Rolling Stones Concert, Lake Shake and Chicago Pride Fest.
This weekend 900,000 people are expected to use public transportation alone.