Lollapalooza cleanup continues as Jazz Fest preps begin

September 1, 2011 8:22:57 PM PDT
A Labor Day tradition, the Chicago Jazz Festival starts this weekend in Grant Park, where crews are still fixing the grounds damaged during Lollapalooza.

Crews have spent weeks on the costly repairs since the three-day music festival. Rain fell during the Lollapalooza weekend of August 5-7. The cleanup is expected to cost $1 million and is being paid for by the event's promoters.

Finishing touches are being put on the the south end of Grant Park and grounds crews are still busy working to repair the damage left behind by the festival, which brought in $85 million to the local economy.

"You can see a good third or half of the field is sodded. By the end of the week it should be complete," said Adam Schwerner, Chicago Park District. "The grass that was here before Lollawasn't perfect. This is perfect."

The 33rd Annual Jazz Festival started Thursday with a performance at the Chicago Cultural Center. Other live jazz performances will take place at the J. Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, in Grant Park on the Jackson stage and at the Petrillo Band Shell.

"It's not the conditions we are used to, but we are putting a positive spin on it," said Jennifer Johnson, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. "We are providing additional cleaning for our guests so they will be comfortable."

"There are areas like at Butler Field where Jazz Fest is happening this weekend, and if we had done the installation of the turf, the sod before Jazz Fest, it would have just been essentially destroyed," said Schwerner.

People come from all over the world to attend. Many jazz lovers bring a blanket and a picnic basket to enjoy the live music on the north end of the park.

"We are doing a lot of picnic tables and there are a lot of areas over there that are either field grass or just dry so when people lay their blankets down it's not going to much of an inconvenience," said Schwerner.

Officials say restoration of Grant Park could last until the beginning of October. But they say that the park is going to be better than it was before because the sod is longer, greener and there aren't any brown spots.

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