People planning to hop the fence to see bands for free at Lollapalooza this weekend might want to think again.
The music festival kicks off on Friday in Grant Park, and organizers say they’re taking steps to amp up security this time around.
Lisa Hickey, a Lollapalooza spokeswoman, said organizers are adding more guards. Hickey also said they have increased the amount of so-called “black fence,” the same kind of fencing that the government uses to protect its buildings during protests and that it used during Chicago’s NATO summit.
“You'll notice we are still utilizing chain-link fencing, but we have installed additional black fencing behind some of that, particularly along Lake Shore Drive and the outer perimeter of the park,” Hickey said. That addition, organizers hope, will prevent gate-crashers from getting a running start.
Bob O’Neill of the Grant Park Conservancy Council says there will also be fencing surrounding the park’s flowers and gardens.
O’Neill said Lollapalooza covers the costs for any damage to the park, like last year when heavy rains caused impromptu mudwrestling that tore up a lot of the grass.
O’Neill said afterwards Lollapalooza organizers spent about $1 million on new sod for the park, but he also said the festival raises money for the city’s parks.
“Lollapalooza needs to be looked at as one big parks fundraiser,” O’Neill said, adding organizers have raised more than $10 million for Chicago’s park system.
Lollapalooza runs from Friday through Sunday.
Hickey said organizers are expecting 100,000 people a day, for a total attendance of 300,000. That would be 30,000 more people than last year, and it would set another attendance record for the event.
The headliners are: The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Sabbath, Jack White, and The Black Keys.