Despite popular music artists Mac Miller and Big Gigantic drawing a potentially bigger crowd at Freakfest 2012, fewer police officers will be on duty at this year’s Halloween party.
Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, said because recent Freakfest parties resulted in minor incidents, fewer law enforcement officials will be on duty during this year’s party.
Resnick said the decreased amount of officers on duty is a continuing trend reflected by the drop in arrests and overall safety increase in the past seven years.
After the 2005 event ended violently with police releasing tear gas into crowds to control riots, former Mayor Dave Cieslewicz introduced Freakfest as it is known today, a controlled, police-monitored and ticketed event.
Resnick said violence decreased when Freakfest became a structured event in 2006.
“We have not seen rioting in the area for quite a few years, and we don’t forecast any rioting this year,” Resnick said.
Before Cieslewicz implemented the structured event, students would gather on State Street for an unplanned Halloween party, resulting in police breaking up riots and costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Resnick.
Resnick said although students say Freakfest is not the same as the unplanned Halloween party and attendance is lower than before the city created the ticketed event, the party has a more positive identity.
Additionally, this year’s Freakfest falls on the same day as the 2:30 p.m. Wisconsin versus Michigan State homecoming football game, which could potentially affect the number of attendees.
Resnick said he does not feel the game will “dramatically” affect attendance at Freakfest.