The cost to restore Grant Park after four days of Lollapalooza this summer reached more than $450,000, nearly double the cost of repairs last year, when the festival was only three days long.
The cost of repairs was $453,000 this year, considerably more than last year’s tally of $236,000, according to the Chicago Park District. C3 Presents, the promoter of Lollapalooza, which was held July 28-31, is responsible for paying the bill. The tab was far less than the nearly $1 million in repairs in 2011, when a 3-inch rainstorm soaked concertgoers on the final day of the concert.
Restoration of the park property — often referred to as Chicago’s front yard — began following the festival and included sodding, seeding, aeration and replanting of shrubs, Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner said in an email. Rehab work on Arvey Field, just north of Roosevelt Road, will begin in the spring, she said.
Bob O’Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy, said the higher repair cost could be attributed to a combination of factors, including the thousands of concertgoers who attended the extra day of the festival. The festival expanded to four days for the first time this year to celebrate its 25th anniversary and drew a record 400,000 people. The festival is set to be four days long again next year, from Aug. 3-6.
“Severe weather experienced during the build, along with rain during first two days of the festival increased the remediation cost for 2016,” C3 Presents said in an email.
Heavy rain made the park muddy and washed away grass seeds, so crews had to redo the work, O’Neill said. Additionally, Lower Hutchinson Field — the site of two music stages between Lake Shore Drive and Columbus Drive and south of Balbo Drive — requires more restoration work because it collects water, he said.
Fencing still surrounds Hutchinson Field, but most other areas of the park are open, said O’Neill, adding that he plans to request that Lollapalooza organizers pay for additional trees to improve the landscaping at the skate park on the south end of the park. He noted their commitment to leave Grant Park in a better condition than they found it.
“It looks really good now,” O’Neill said.