Dixon secure in readiness for concert
Chief: 100 plus hours went into concert, festival planning
DIXON – The city of Dixon will nearly double in size this weekend as fans flock to the city to see the British folk rock band Mumford & Sons and seven others play at Page Park.
Are local police worried about the influx of people? Nope, said Dixon Police Chief Danny Langloss.
"Overall, people should realize that this is an amazing opportunity for the city," Langloss said. "There's no better way to market the city than to bring people here. We've got a lot of solid plans in place."
Dixon Police, the Lee County Sheriff's Department, and Jam Productions, which is hosting the festival-like concert, put in more than 100 hours of security planning for the concert at Page Park, downtown festivities, and campsites, Langloss said.
Probably the biggest inconvenience, Langloss said, will be the extra traffic.
Langloss said he expects 90 percent of the estimated 6,000 campers – arriving in 3,000 cars – will come into town Friday afternoon and evening.
One-way parking on Monroe, Madison, Highland, Peoria, and Hennepin avenues will extend south to Seventh Street.
At noon Friday, the Peoria Avenue Bridge will be closed, with traffic diverted to Everett Street, Langloss said.
Langloss suggests that residents give themselves an extra 10 minutes of travel time when driving through town.
The sheriff's department will primarily do traffic control and will patrol Camp Reynoldswood, the Christian campsite at 621 Reynoldswood Road, where an estimated 4,000 campers will stay during the weekend.
On Friday and Sunday, deputies and state troopers will keep traffic flowing at the campsite's two entrances located off of state Route 2 and Palymyra Road, Sheriff John Varga said.
During the concert, Jam Productions will have 70 people, many of whom are off-duty police officers, to handle security.
Officers from Dixon; Illinois State Police; Lee, Ogle and Whiteside counties; Sterling; Rock Falls; and Rochelle also will be on hand throughout the day, Langloss said.
A police and security command unit will be set up near the Riverfront, he said.
"There will be a large police presence visually, but things will be very low-key," Langloss said. "We will be there visually to provide for [concertgoers'] safety and security."
Security officers will search bags for contraband and will be on the lookout for any illegal activity during the concert, Langloss said.
Someone who has a small amount of marijuana or who gets into a shoving match with no injuries can get a city ticket for a minimum of $400. Any felony offense, however, will result in an arrest, Langloss said.
EMT units from Dixon Rural and Dixon City fire departments will be at each venue, including the campgrounds, Langloss said.
The concert and downtown festivities won't affect response time, either by EMTs or police officers, Langloss and Varga said.
Extra officers, including detectives, will be added to cover each patrol shift Friday and Saturday to respond to calls, do traffic control, monitor parking areas, and handle security downtown, Langloss said.
Jam Productions has paid the department $27,950 for overtime, he said.
Varga said he's also adding more staff – from detectives to jailers to dispatchers – to make sure the county is covered during the concert weekend.
"We're going to deal with it and get things taken care of to make sure that calls get answered," Varga said.
Varga said he has not yet submitted a final bill for overtime to Jam Productions.
While the weather is expected to be clear and in the 70s, police also are prepared in case of a storm. Depending on the severity of a storm, concertgoers can go to Dixon High School, Reagan Middle School, and the Dixon Armory, Langloss said.
Police will keep in contact with the National Weather Service, Langloss said.
Dixon is one of four towns to host Mumford & Sons' Gentlemen of the Road tour. Shows already have been held in Portland, Maine, and Bristol, Tenn.
Langloss said he's not heard of any "significant" police problems at the other concert venues.
"I'm told this is a very good, relaxed crowd," he said. "I fully anticipate it will go off without a hitch."
Who to call
Police encourage residents to dial 911 only in an emergency during the Mumford & Sons concert. All other questions, such as about road closures, should be directed to the Lee County Sheriff's Department at 815-284-6631 or Dixon Main Street at 815-288-2308.