Page last updated at 23:58 GMT, Thursday, 3 September 2009 00:58 UK

'Peaceful' cemetery awaits Jackson

By Peter Bowes
BBC News, Los Angeles

In stark contrast to the frenzied scenes at Michael Jackson's public memorial service, the atmosphere outside the singer's funeral is calm and the crowds are absent.

Press at Jackson's funeral
Members of the world media have gathered at Forest Lawn

The world's media has gathered outside the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, but fans of the singer have been asked to stay away.

The rolling hills of the cemetery grounds, with their finely manicured lawns, provide a serene backdrop.

Security guards are patrolling the grounds and TV crews have been ordered to stay at the opposite side of the road to the park's entrance.

The huge security operation has been in force since Wednesday, with parking restrictions imposed in neighbouring streets.

The Jackson family has taken out permits with the local council to allow them to control the area surrounding the cemetery.

The local police force has said it is providing "elaborate" security, including dogs and air support.

According to a Jackson family lawyer, the expenses for the event are "extraordinary".

It's disappointing for Michael Jackson fans that they won't be able to pay their respects
Mark Masek

Only family members and close friends of the singer will be allowed inside for the funeral service.

"It's disappointing for Michael Jackson fans that they won't be able to pay their respects," said Mark Masek, an authority on celebrity graves.

"If it's the family's wish it should be honoured," he added.

The intense security extends to the cemetery's Great Mausoleum, a cathedral-like structure deep inside the grounds.

'Peaceful'

"They have guards and security cameras," explained Mr Masek.

"If you're allowed there to visit a loved one and wander around where you shouldn't be, they'll ask you to leave."

Forest Lawn Memorial Park
Security guards are patrolling the grounds of the Glendale cemetery

It is understood that Jackson's funeral will start with eulogies at the Great Mausoleum in front of the building's stained-glass version of Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper.

Jackson will be laid to rest alongside Hollywood royalty, such as John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart and Walt Disney.

"It's like a library of lives for the community," said grave hunter and cemetery expert Lisa Burks.

"Forest Lawn is special because it was the first cemetery that was not dreary.

"It's more of a museum with major works of art and replicas of works of art. It's a really beautiful and peaceful place."



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