Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

Do Lollapalooza's job for it -- and help save the other summer fests

| 6 Comments | No TrackBacks

nav_04_home_down.jpg

Whether one is charitable and inclined to say that Lollapalooza is making a (better late than never) effort to incorporate the desires of the Chicago music community and the rest of its customers, or more cynical and prone to the view that, as confirmed my by interview with talent buyer and co-owner Marc Geiger a while back, the brain trust behind the giant musical Walmart on the lake has never really had any vision for the thing beyond raking in the Benjamins, it's interesting to note the festival's current invitation to us to "Be the Booking Agent" (coming to me originally via the ever-diligent Tankboy at Chicagoist).

"Tell us who you'd put on next year's Lollapalooza lineup, happening August 6-8, 2010. Give us your Top 5 artists -- monster headliners to bands we've never even heard of -- from rock to avant-garde, indie to hip-hop, and all the sounds in between. Speak up by November 10. We'll collect all of your ideas, then see what we can make happen," the invitation reads, before asking for (one presumes) valuable demographic data about us voters and then offering the opportunity to pick as many as five (five!) acts to fill Grant Park next summer.

Well, thanks, fellas. Are you also going to share your commissions?

Meanwhile, a petition is making the rounds urging, "Save Chicago music - You can help!"

"Music, arts and cultural programs presented by the city of Chicago are threatened by severe budget cuts," it notes. "We can't let this happen--our city is known around the world for its free music programming that not only brings enjoyment to hundreds of thousands of fans and adds to the richness of our civic culture, but also generates jobs and income for local businesses.

"If you value programs like Blues Fest, Jazz Fest, the World Music Festival, SummerDance and Millennium Park concerts including Music Without Borders, Downtown Sound and much more (see below for a list), please do your part. City budget hearings are underway, and you can make a difference. If you do nothing, these programs could be cut back sharply."

While some would say the world (or at least Chicago) might be better off without Blues Fest, there is no denying the value of the burgeoning cutting-edge music programming at Millennium Park, which recently has included Andrew Bird, Shellac, the Dirty Projectors, Calexico, the Feelies, Red Red Meat, Tortoise, Chuck D and the Bomb Squad and more.

The full text of the petition follows the jump, and it also can be found posted here.

Music, arts and cultural programs presented by the city of Chicago are threatened by severe budget cuts. We can't let this happen--our city is known around the world for its free music programming that not only brings enjoyment to hundreds of thousands of fans and adds to the richness of our civic culture, but also generates jobs and income for local businesses.

If you value programs like Blues Fest, Jazz Fest, the World Music Festival, SummerDance and Millennium Park concerts including Music Without Borders, Downtown Sound and much more (see below for a list), please do your part. City budget hearings are underway, and you can make a difference. If you do nothing, these programs could be cut back sharply.

Please help today, right now, by doing one or all of the following:

1. Send an e-mail. Copy the following paragraph--

I am deeply concerned about funding cuts to city music and cultural programming. I enjoy the free festivals, series and concerts presented by the city. These concerts showcase Chicago music to the world, and bring a world of music to Chicago audiences. They also create jobs and bring money into the local economy. I strongly urge you to fight for a city budget that does not cut funding for city music, arts and cultural programming, or in any way reduce the number of events or festival days presented in the coming year.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

[WHERE YOU LIVE]

--then if you wish, add your own comments, sign your name and e-mail it to: megan.mcdonald@cityofchicago.org, wburnett@cityofchicago.org, brendan.reilly@cityofchicago.org, lweisberg@cityofchicago.org, kcostello@cityofchicago.org, ChicagoMusicFunding@gmail.com. (This will reach Megan McDonald, executive director of the mayor's office of special events; alderman Walter Burnett, chairman of the cultural affairs committee; alderman Brendan Reilly, whose district includes Millennium Park and Grant Park; commissioner Lois Weisberg and assistant commissioner Kimberly Costello of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Friends of Chicago Music--that's us!).

2. Tell your friends. Please forward this entire e-mail message to everyone in your address book who cares about music in Chicago.

3. Sign our petition. Visit http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/SaveChicagoMusic.

4. Contact your alderman. Look up your city council representative at https://webapps.cityofchicago.org/StickerOnlineWeb/pageflows/wardLookUp/WardLookUpController.jpf, then write or call them with the same message as above.

5. Join us on Facebook. Become a supporter at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Chicago-Music/167233092321.

Thank you!

Friends of Chicago Music

P.S. City budget cuts could harm such events as:

City of Chicago Festivals: Blues Festival, Gospel Festival, Jazz Festival, SummerDance, World Music Festival

Millenium Park Events: Downtown Sound-New Music Mondays, Dusk Variations-A Chamber Series, Edible Audible Picnic, Grant Park Music Festival, Made in Chicago-World Class Jazz, Music Without Borders

These are only SOME of the artists that have appeared over the years:

Rock-Andrew Bird, Shellac, the Dirty Projectors, Calexico, the Feelies, Bobby Bare Jr., Will Oldham, Bill Callahan, the Ex, St. Vincent, the Sea and Cake, Fleet Foxes, Red Red Meat, Tortoise, Chuck D and the Bomb Squad

Jazz-Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Betty Lavette, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Dave Douglas, Charlie Hunter, John Scofield, Medeski Martin & Wood, Roscoe Mitchell, Benny Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Anthony Braxton, Betty Carter, Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Dawkins, Von Freeman, Johnny Frigo, Slide Hampton, Roy Haynes, Dave Holland, Elvin Jones, Wayne Shorter

Blues and Soul-Albert King, B. B. King, Bill Doggett, Bo Diddley, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Bobby Rush, Buckwheat Zydeco, Buddy Guy, Calvin Jones, Carey Bell, Carl Perkins, Chicago Blues Museum All Stars, Chuck Berry, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Dr. John, Eddie Boyd, Eddie Vinson, Eddy Clearwater, Etta James, Hubert Sumlin, James Cotton, Jimmy Rogers, John Lee Hooker, Johnnie Taylor, Johnny Winter, Junior Wells, Keith Richards, Koko Taylor, Little Milton, Luther Allison, Magic Slim, Matt Murphy, Memphis Slim, Mick Taylor, The Neville Brothers, Otis Rush, Pinetop Perkins, Ray Charles, Robert Cray Band, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Son Seals, Staple Singers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Sugar Blue, Sunnyland Slim, Taj Mahal, Willie Dixon, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

World-Seu Jorge, Tinariwen, Anoushka Shankar, Youssou N'Dour, Bajofondo, Orchestra Baobab, Balkan Beatbox, Dengue Fever, Chicha Libre, Amadou & Mariam, Goran Bregovic Wedding and Funeral Orchestra

DJs-Maga Bo, Samy Ben Redjeb, Miles Cleret, Cheb I Sabbah, Bobby Friction, DJ Rekha

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://blogs.suntimes.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/26904

6 Comments

Please explain to me how Chicago would be better off without the Blues Fest.

Lollapalooza has done the let the fans make the band suggestion thing in the past. Since there is no transparency, fans have no right to expect that their suggestions will be accorded any weight whatsoever... But, I see what you're getting at.

Incidentally, I filled out my ballot for Phoenix, M83, The Foo Fighters, The Dead Weather, and Mos Def + Talib Kweli.

I really should have used one of those spaces for "Not Perry Farrell."

So...what acts WOULD you book at Blues Fest? What good is it for a critic to "criticize" without suggesting some alternatives?

Blues Fest did make a few good choices this year. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings as a headliner was an inspired decision. So someone there had some forward thinking vision, hopefully they'll keep that up going forward.

It's not just Blues Fest that needs a revamp. Celtic Fest had one decent act this year (the pairing of Cape Breton fiddle power-couple Donnell Leahy and Natalie MacMaster), but they fell back on the mediocre-at-best Gaelic Storm as one of their main headliners. It seems that big music festivals are playing it as safe as can be, catering to a built-in fanbase that will attend the shows rather than alienating them for some newer, fresher headliners. That's what happens when it becomes a business model rather than being about the music.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on November 5, 2009 9:46 AM.

Weezer, "Raditude" (Geffen) [3 STARS out of 4] was the previous entry in this blog.

Is Chicago losing two of its coolest under-the-radar venues? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.