officials said late last year they are eager to present more popular
music in the parks this summer -- and to reap the financial benefits
these concerts bring for park improvements -- they have rejected a
bid by chart-topping British art-rockers Radiohead to perform at
Millennium Park in June.
The band, which
will release its seventh album later this year, hoped to perform in
the new venue at the northern end of Grant Park on June 19 and 20,
the tour dates it has earmarked for Chicago performances, according
to sources close to the group.
But the Cultural
Affairs Department, which is responsible for programming at
Millennium Park, rejected the band's bid to perform there -- even
though the group would have paid rental fees of $100,000 -- because
the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra is scheduled to hold a rehearsal
rehearsal a conflict
many of its fans still consider the concert the band played at
Hutchinson Field in summer 2001 as one of its most memorable.
Although that show was a well-organized, artistic and financial
success, city officials were reluctant for the next few years to
allow cutting-edge rock acts to return to Grant Park because of
noise complaints from a handful of nearby residents.
Mitchell took over as Park District superintendent in 2004, the city
has had a change of heart. Last fall, inspired by the more than $2
million generated by the revitalized Lollapalooza in Hutchinson
Field and concerts at the new venue on Northerly Island, Mitchell
promised that summer 2006 would bring even more rock 'n' roll to
But the Cultural
Affairs Department has different priorities. "Free public
programming is part of the venue's mission," spokeswoman Karen Ryan
said of Millennium Park. She added that the orchestra cannot move
its rehearsal because it needs to use its own sound system.
"We have to
support organizations such as the Grant Park Orchestra, but we're
open to other events if there are availabilities at other times,"
Affairs officials eagerly embraced other private events at the $475
million venue last fall. Toyota paid about $800,000 for a private
corporate event last September, closing Millennium Park to the
public and drawing criticism from watchdog groups such as Friends of
greeted a paid concert by singer Tori Amos at Millennium Park that
same month, although citizens' groups praised other efforts to host
revenue- generating events.
The Amos concert
was organized by local concert promoters Jam Productions, who also
ran the Radiohead concert in 2001 and hoped to bring the group to
Millennium Park this summer. Jam executives declined to comment.