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Hitting the total button for Joliet on the Electric Daisy festival

Electric Daisy CarnivalMemorial DayChicago Tribune

Three days. 65,000 music fans.  $1 million dollars in compensation for stagehands and police and fire personnel. For a small Midwestern city trying to recover from the recession, it all added up to a welcome boost in revenue.

But in the aftermath of the Electric Daisy Carnival Memorial Day Weekend, Joliet officials have had to contend with another set of numbers.

One hundred ecstasy pills confiscated. Thirty concert-goers taken to hospitals, including five in critical condition.

Those numbers -- which the Tribune compiled from 286 pages of public records -- came as news to Joliet Mayor Tom Giarrante.

“Oh, is that right?” he asked when told the number of concert-goers hospitalized in critical condition. “I didn’t realize that.”

Wednesday's story in the Chicago Tribune sought to do the competing math calculations for the popular festival.

Back in May, when the Joliet City Council granted a permit to hold the festival at the Chicagoland Speedway, the promoter had emphasized safety and security, making the festival seem no more likely to attract trouble than any other large event. 

The promoter, Insomniac, defended its safety record in the wake of the Tribune’s findings.  A company statement said local public safety officials called the Joliet festival “extremely successful” and said it did not present extraordinary issues “for an event of its size.”

Some Joliet officials did take that stance -- even after hearing the numbers compiled by the Tribune.

But the city’s fire chief said the number of people hospitalized – and the number in critical condition – was higher than at other big Speedway events.  And the mayor said he would think hard about bringing the Electric Daisy Carnival back.

“Maybe we need to increase the police and fire (at the event),” Giarrante said. “And if that doesn’t work maybe we need to stop having them.”

-- Heather Gillers

 

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