Mayfest announces Dillo Day noise fixes


Daniel Tian/The Daily Northwestern

Tony Kirchmeier, NU’s director of off-campus life, leads a meeting in which city and campus officials, as well as students and Evanston residents, discussed Dillo Day and other issues that affect the community.

Julia Jacobs, Assistant City Editor

Mayfest representatives introduced their solutions to last year’s Dillo Day noise complaints at a community meeting Tuesday, including reorienting the stage to face east toward Lake Michigan and new speaker technology that prevents music from leaking past festival boundaries.

The meeting, held at The Family Institute, 618 Library Place, allowed for conversation between campus and city officials as well as students and a dozen Evanston residents about issues like Dillo Day that affect the entire city.

Mayfest co-chair Justin Wolf, a Communication senior, said the new speaker technology came with a significant price but should help remedy the noise pollution problem, for which University President Morton Schapiro publicly apologized last year.

“We’re hoping that this technology combined with the reorientation of the stage to where it was two years ago will address most sound issues that we encountered last year,” Wolf said.

In addition to limiting student guests, this year Mayfest has reduced the available number of wristbands to Evanston residents and added a price of $25 for each. Because students already contribute to Dillo Day through tuition, the new fee for residents levels the playing field, Wolf said.

Mayfest worked with Evanston police and fire departments to determine festival capacity based on the new layout as well as safety recommendations, said Tony Kirchmeier, director of off-campus life. That number helped determine the number of available wristbands for Evanston residents, who must be over 19 to attend or else be accompanied by an adult over age 25.

Outside of the festival boundaries, the Evanston Police Department is still deciding how it will treat Dillo Day parties on properties that have been cited for violations in the past year, said EPD Officer Scott Sengenberger. One option is that those addresses will not be permitted to have parties in any capacity, while another is to issue a citation without a warning in the case of a violation, Sengenberger said.

“They will not be afforded nearly as much leeway because they’ve been problematic in the past,” he said.

EPD will deploy 12 officers to deal with issues related to the festival in addition to seven University Police officers.

There also may be deployment of an armored truck with cameras recording visuals and sound in the surrounding vicinity, Sengenberger said. There has been an armored vehicle stationed at the corner of Maple Avenue and Simpson Street for the past couple of years, said Evanston resident Ali Finkle.

“It can be kind of intimidating for some folks to have it in the area,” Ald. Delores Holmes (5th) said. “I would not like to have it deployed unless there’s a reason for it to be deployed.”

Drew D’Alelio, Mayfest’s university relations liaison, introduced tentative plans for a Dillo Day ice cream truck to serve surrounding neighborhoods and a designated area for Evanston kids to set up lemonade stands. These potential additions will help integrate families into the Dillo Day experience, the Weinberg junior said.

Another change is that the festival will no longer set off fireworks, which will ease finances as well as noise pollution for residents, D’Alelio added.

Residents at the meeting also voiced concerns about noise from off-campus parties on Dillo Day.

Finkle said that residents tend to tolerate Dillo Day off-campus parties when students follow certain rules. Neighbors are unlikely to complain if students keep their parties exclusively to NU students, do not host official campus organizations like fraternities and sororities and move onto campus when the festival begins, Finkle said.

“When our neighbors respect and abide by those guidelines we have loud but festive fun,” Finkle said. “When it crosses over those lines… it quickly gets out of hand, and unfortunately I think that’s when we call EPD and get cranky.”

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