It appears that taking in music at three of Chicago's main downtown festivals is about to get a lot more expensive.
Concerts headlined by big-name acts at the Taste of Chicago may start costing $20 to $65 while patrons would be charged $10 to attend a show at both the Chicago Blues Festival and the city's Jazz Fest should the city accept the sole bid it received to outsource management of these three events, the Sun-Times reports today. Music at all three events has previously been free. People attending the Taste only for its culinary options would pay $20 to get in, meanwhile, with half of that amount rebated as food and drink tickets.
The idea behind the fees is that new revenue will improve the musical offerings at the festivals. That may be a worthy goal, but it's also true the new charges will exclude people on tight budgets who previously could count on listening to the music at these events for a mere $4.50 -- the cost of a round-trip ride on CTA between Grant Park, where all of these shows take place, and their homes. Four festivals showcasing Latin, Celtic, gospel, and country music are to remain free. In all, the city has lost around $7 million over the past three years managing these seven events. For more on the lakefront fest outsourcing saga, check out WBEZ's Jim DeRogatis' comprehensive coverage here. We've got a call in with the city's Department of Procurement Services for additional details about this privatization bid, and will update this quick hit when we hear more.