Why Hoffman Estates feels well-prepared to host Spring Awakening music fest
While this weekend's Spring Awakening electronic music festival outside the Sears Centre Arena is new to Hoffman Estates, large events of its type are not.
For any special event, the village has an application and review process to help anticipate and prepare for its impacts, Village Manager Jim Norris said.
"We have a template in place that has been used for years," he said.
The scale of the event and size of the expected crowd are similar to those for the fireworks show at the village's Northwest Fourth Fest at the same location each July. Updated crowd estimates for Spring Awakening project about 25,000 on Friday and Sunday, and approximately 30,000 expected Saturday.
While the music festival is expected to be somewhat more demanding for the village because it lasts three days, the precedent for handling large crowds exists, Norris said.
Revenue from the event will cover the village's costs. Public works is just about the only village department that won't be involved, with its typical duties being handled by workers hired by festival promoters.
Deputy Village Manager Dan O'Malley said the biggest traffic impact is expected Friday, when festivalgoers will be showing up before workers at Prairie Stone Business Park, which includes the Sears Centre, have left for the day.
While there won't be as much competition for the internal roadways of the business park on Saturday and Sunday, businesses like The Saddle Room restaurant and Cabela's will be open and looking to the village to ensure proper controls, O'Malley said.
"The good part of that is most of them are east of the festival site and we can separate that," he said. "Our police officers are pretty familiar with the traffic patterns. We know how to get them in and out."
O'Malley added that a welcome bit of news this week was that Metra will operate another late train to its lines passing through Barrington and Elgin. Fest organizers are providing shuttle service to and from those stations. This extra train will be available all three nights at the Elgin Metra station and on Saturday and Sunday nights at the Barrington station.
Norris emphasized that the village is prepared to handle any and all issues that may arise during the festival. There is going to be an appropriate level of law enforcement during and after each day's performances, he said.
The village and fest organizers are encouraging attendees to select a designated driver for each vehicle in advance, and police will be vigilant in dealing with those not in condition to drive, Norris said.
"We are prepared to make sure people are going to be safe," he said.