Safety the ‘Top Priority’ at Lollapalooza, City Says

Safety and security is the "top priority" at this year's Lollapalooza Music Festival, city officials said Monday, as Chicago prepares to welcome music lovers to Grant Park for one of the biggest events of the season.

The festival kicks off on Thursday and runs through Sunday, now in its 28th year. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend, with more than 170 performances across eight stages, organizers say.

For a festival of this magnitude, officials say the city began to refine its security plan the moment last year's event ended.

Around 900 private security officers from three companies will show a strong uniformed presence, in addition to Chicago police officers.

Undercover officers will be on hand as well, plus visible measures like cameras, metal detectors, jersey walls and even salt trucks.

"We’ve probably had at least 12 meetings with Lollapalooza this year, and met with them twice yesterday and spoke to them twice already this morning," Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications Executive Director Rich Guidice said Monday.

Items that are allowed inside include: small totes and drawstring bags, empty bottles and hydration packs, strollers, blankets, basic cameras, sealed sunscreen.

Things that are prohibited: backpacks/large bags, cigarettes/vaping devices/drugs, professional video equipment and camera accessories, frisbees, umbrellas, outside food, coolers, fliers, stickers, bike chains, wallet chains.

Always a top priority, security will be at the forefront of many minds this year, particularly in the wake of a deadly shooting at a garlic festival in California over the weekend.

"Things that take place around the world, throughout the United States - we mimic how we would respond, as if it had happened here in Chicago," Guidice said Monday.

Guidice said he and his team had a "worst case scenario" drill for Lollapalooza set to take place Tuesday, running through different possibilities - calling it a training he never hopes to test.

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