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Perry’s tent comes down, stronger fence goes up

Updated: August 3, 2012 1:42PM

Music fans inside and outside Lollapalooza will notice at least two physical changes at this year’s music festival in Grant Park.

First, Perry’s tent is no longer a tent.

Last year, Perry’s Stage — one of the festival’s eight stages, focusing largely on DJs and electronic music, and named for Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell — was expanded to an enormous circus tent with a 15,000-person capacity.

As it proved to be one of the fest’s most popular attractions, the tent trapped too much heat from the mass of dancers. By the fest’s second day, portions of the big top had been stripped away to allow heat and humidity to escape.

This year, Perry’s stage will be open-air like the others and will feature a theatrical set design courtesy of one of the acts, Swedish DJ Avicii.

Second, promoters have a new strategy in their battle against fence-jumpers.

The last two years at Lollapalooza have seen a marked increase in the number of young fans breaching the festival’s perimeter fence to get in without paying. Sometimes it’s one or two individuals — including several who were critically injured in their attempts last year — but last year saw flash mobs of up to a hundred overwhelming certain fence sections, occasionally employing boards as ramps.

Organizers at C3 Presents, producers of Lollapalooza, tell the Sun-Times this year’s perimeter will include “The Black Fence,” an 8-foot anti-scale barricade used in Washington, D.C., around government buildings and during citizen protests.

“The more pressure you put on it, the sturdier it gets,” said C3’s Charlie Jones.

Thomas Conner

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