The Chicago Park District loves Live Nation as much as the Justice Department

February 3, 2010


The local office of the now-monolithic concert promoters Live Nation, soon to be merged with monopolistic ticket brokers Ticketmaster thanks to last week's ruling by the Justice Department, announced on-sale information today for the first concert of its summer season: the local stop by the Bamboozle 2010 Tour featuring Cobra Starship, 3OH!3, Travis McCoy, I Fight Dragons, Jump Smokers and more at Charter One Pavilion on Northerly Island on Saturday, May 15.

The most curious thing about the announcement -- besides who would want to see this particular grouping of mediocre pop-punk bands -- is that Live Nation's contract to book shows on Northerly Island, the site of Meigs Field until Mayor Daley's bulldozers demolished it in the middle of the night a few years back, expired at the end of last summer's concert season.

Live Nation's competitors in the local concert scene, including Austin, TX-based C3 Presents, promoters of Lollapalooza in Grant Park, had expected the Chicago Park District to issue a request for proposals for the concert venue before the start of the 2010 season. Instead, the Park District is letting Live Nation stay on, seemingly without consideration of other options for this summer.

"The Live Nation contract was extended for this season only while we spend the next several months putting together a scope for management of the Pavilion for future years," Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner wrote in an email. "It will go to the February board for information to the Commissioners."

The Park District's Board of Commissioners next meet at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Taylor-Lauridsen Playground Park, 704 W. 42nd St.

In a later phone interview, Maxey-Faulkner explained that the authorization to grant Live Nation another year on Northerly Island was made via a letter from Chicago Park District Superintendent Tim Mitchell because of 'special circumstances"--to wit, the city was planning to use the site for a venue for the 2016 Olympics, which, of course, is now moot.

The city is just now beginning to reconsider long-term plans for Northerly Island's development, and those may or may not include a permanent concert venue.

"Since we don't know what the future holds for Northerly Island, it didn't make sense to [put the concert venue out to bid for Live Nation to compete with other promoters] since it's only for one year," Maxey-Faulkner said.