Brookfest 2005 falling into place

? Nearly all bands are booked and security efforts will be stepped up for the 12th annual edition of the event.

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Brookfest 2005 may be six months away, but organizers are finalizing plans for the 12th annual event, which is scheduled for July 15-17 at Jaycee/Ehlert Park in Brookfield. While live musical entertainment will take place those three days, the Brookfest carnival will be open four days, from July 14-17, adjacent to the music venue in the park.

Most of the musical acts for the fest have been nailed down, including the Friday and Saturday night headliners. Local legends The Ides of March will play their second consecutive Brookfest, headlining Friday night's lineup. Opening up for the Ides will be Jimmy Buffet tribute band the Boat Drunks

At the top of Saturday night's bill will be The Buckinghams, another stalwart of the local scene. Scheduled tentatively to preceded the Buckinghams is the 1980s power pop outfit Off Broadway, another act with strong Chicago roots.

On Sunday night, the tentative headliner will be Infinity, a Journey tribute band that has played the Chicago area circuit since the 1980s. They will be preceded by Latin rockers Rico.

Two music spots remain open, the opening slots on both Friday and Saturday night. Local Brookfield acts are among those being contemplated for those spots.

Apart from the musical entertainment aspect of the fest, there will be some organizational changes for Brookfest 2005. First, there will be a significant effort on the part of organizers and police to address security at the fest, and specifically at the carnival area.

Members of the village's Special Events Commission on Feb. 9 discussed erecting two layers of snowfencing around the carnival to deter people from entering from anywhere around the perimeter.

Even though entrance to the carnival area is free, there will be one entrance gate with a table reserved for Brookfield police. Organizers are hoping to cut down on the number of troublemakers making their way into the carnival, which was the site of several fights last year.

"We have more control of the problem area; we have 95 percent of our problems addressed," said Mitch Mierop, the chairman of the Special Events Commission. "Hopefully we have a much better grip on this."

Brookfield police Lt. Michael Manescalchi added that giving the police a fixed, central location at the fest would help officers respond to incidents.

"Our officers are mobile," Manescalchi said. "We need a place where people can come to find us."

In addition, Manescalchi said, the police department is increasing its presence at Brookfest by 20 percent over last year.

Another change will be the configuration of the music fest itself. The main stage this year will back up to the Gerritsen Avenue side of the park, rather than Sunnyside Avenue. The commission also appeared in favor of increasing the snowfencing around the main stage in order to discourage uncredentialed people backstage.

"There needs to be better security at the backstage gate," said Brookfield Trustee Linda Stevanovich, the village board's liaison to the Special Events Commission.

The music area of the fest will also open later in the day in 2005. The music area will be open from 5 p.m. to midnight on both Friday and Saturday; the bands will leave the stage at 11 p.m. and the largest beer tent will close at 11:30 p.m. On Sunday, the music venue will open at 4 p.m. Fireworks will commence at 9:30 p.m. and the fest will officially close at 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, traffic patterns around the park may have to be reconfigured a bit since Sunnyside Avenue was blocked to through traffic during the reconstruction of the road last year.

The village's Public Works Department may also have to build some sort of temporary ramps for vehicles to get over the new curbs and onto the field that serves as the fest's parking lot.

Advance tickets will again be available for both the music fest and the carnival. Tickets to each day's music fest will be $3 in advance and $5 at the door. The Mega Pass, which is good only at the carnival will cost $35 in advance and $40 at the door. The Mega Pass offers unlimited admission on almost all rides for all four days of the carnival. It is not good for admission into the music fest.

Last year, presale tickets brought in over $11,000 in revenue for Brookfest.

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