Kid Sister Is A Menace II Society ... Erm, Not

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 22, 2010 5:20PM

2010_07_kid_sister.jpg Anyone that attended last Monday's Kid Sister show at the Prtizker Pavilion in Millennium Park was met with an unusually large showing of police force and a great lawn and pavilion seating area sectioned off with temporary fencing. There were literally more people in the area surrounding the concert than there were inside the performance space. We were suddenly reminded of the Bel BivDeVoe / Salt-N-Pepa show during the Taste of Chicago when police created an unsafe situation by closing down the seating area in Grant Park, even though there was still plenty of room for folks to enjoy the music, creating bottlenecks and angry mobs at each gate. Things never got that ugly last Monday but we were left wondering what was to blame for the situation.

We had been warned by both Kid Sister and a public statement from the city ahead of time that for this show alcohol, metal cans, and glass bottles would not be allowed on the lawn or Pritzker Pavilion. Casting aside the fact that as far as we knew -- not that you could tell from the legions of silver haired enthusiasts enjoying the symphony in the park on other nights with their picnic tables buckling under the weight of their wine glasses -- alcohol isn't actually allowed in the park, we went through a number of theories:

  • The city is going to freak out any time a "hip-hop" show takes place on public property.
  • Oh wait! There's a 312 stand IN Pritzker Pavilion so the city must just be trying to help out a struggling small business and ensure any money attendees spend on booze goes to the little guy.
  • The massive hordes of yupsters that took over the park for She & Him a few weeks ago had public safety officials in a state of panic, forcing a crackdown on subsequent shows that might draw an affluent crowd of rowdy twentysomethings.
  • Fears that things simply might get violent.

So what was it? We asked the City of Chicago for a statement on Tuesday and finally got a response today from a spokesperson from the Chicago Police Department.

Public safety is the primary consideration for the Chicago Police Department when developing security plans for events that are expected to draw large crowds. Because she is a popular performer and from the Chicago area, the concert was expected to attract a much larger crowd. The audience that the artist appeals to is younger, there were concerns about underage drinking and the presence of bottles and cans near the fixed seating area that can pose a danger to performers, attendees and security personnel. Fortunately the concert took place without incident. We realize that some attendees were not expecting the extra security presence, nor were they anticipating having bags searched by Millennium Park security. Going forward, the Chicago Police Department will work with Millennium Park to thoroughly review security protocols so attendees can enjoy the concerts safely and with minimal disruption.

O.K., we buy that explanation. We feel it dances around some of the points we made earlier but if in fact the Chicago Police Department uses Monday's show as a learning point to keep concert attendees safe with minimal disruption we're O.K. with that. Of course if you ask us if that's actually going to happen you'll find us on the fence leaning towards the side of "um yeah, right." Do you agree with us? Will the city only repeat its mistakes at later events? Or will they actually learn from this stumble and not overreact next time a "popular performer" appears in a city space?