Intonation Fest inspires promoters


January 30, 2006


The success of the first Intonation Music Festival, which over two days last July drew 30,000 indie rock fans from around the world to Union Park, has inspired not one but two successors.

Intonation was sponsored by the influential Web zine, and it was booked by local musician and independent concert promoter Mike Reed, who had earlier proved his mettle by organizing the Interchange Festival to drive voter registration before the last presidential election.

Reed once again will work with Pitchfork to organize the new Pitchfork Music Festival, scheduled to be held in Union Park on July 29 and 30.

Meanwhile Reed's former partners, Jon Singer and Mike Simons, are attempting to organize a second festival under the old Intonation name at the same location, and they are eyeing June 24 and 25. Both festivals have begun the process of applying for city permits, a multistep ordeal that requires several months for final approval.

Singer and Simons are professional event planners who run a company called Skyline Chicago, and they say they handled many of the logistics for the first Intonation festival, including ticketing and securing the permits and corporate sponsorships.

Reed and Pitchfork split from Singer and Simons after last year's concert. They promise to bring in a new cutting-edge curator to book their festival, but they have not named that organization or offered any other details.

Planning for other rock festivals in the city parks has already begun.

*The Chicago Cultural Affairs Department made headlines earlier this month by vetoing a request by British art-rockers Radiohead to perform at Millennium Park on June 19 and 20. Although those concerts would have netted the city $100,000 in rental fees, officials were reluctant to cancel a scheduled rehearsal by the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra on June 20.

But the Park District seems to be living up to Supt. Tim Mitchell's pledge to open other city facilities for more live rock -- and to net the income for park improvements.

*Lollapalooza will return to Hutchinson Field in Grant Park on Aug. 4-6. Local concert promoters Jam Productions also have said they hope to bring a multiband festival to Grant Park this summer, although they yet to secure a date.