History of Madison's Freakfest event

Published: Oct. 27, 2017 at 5:30 PM CDT
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Less than 24 hours before Madison's Halloween party on State Street, police say they're ready should the unthinkable happen.

State Street was quiet on Friday afternoon but it will look very different as thousand attend Freakfest on Saturday night. Organizer it’s a safe event for all ages but that wasn’t the case in past years.

"We have fires being set, we had people attempting to fight with police and multiple years in a row the crowd was dispersed with pepper spray," said Joel Plant, Frank Productions CEO.

Plant says he can vividly remember what Halloween weekend used to look like in Madison.

“There was significant property damage, there were a lot of injuries to partygoers, and police,” said Plant.

In 2004, plant worked for the city.

"We worked very closely with the university, police, and the fire department to attempt to have a safe structure and safe ending, what was really an impromptu party on Halloween,” said Plant.

After four years of Halloween weekend violence, the city teamed up with Frank Productions and re-branded the party as a concert style event.

"In 2006, they pulled it off,” said Plant.

Since becoming a gated and ticketed event the number of people arrested has gone down from hundreds to just a dozen.

Copyright 2017: WMTV