The state's attorney general is investigating the Lollpalooza concert festival to determine if its performer contracts violate anti-trust policies, according to Vocalo blogger and former Sun-Times reporter Jim DeRogatis.
DeRogatis is citing several sources claiming an official investigation of Lollapalooza and its organizers, C3 Presents, by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is under way -- and some subpoenas have been delivered -- looking into the annual three-day festival's "radius clauses" and whether they unfairly choke the Chicago music marketplace each summer.
The attorney general's office would not confirm an investigation Thursday afternoon to the Sun-Times. C3 Presents spokeswoman Shelby Meade declined comment this afternoon.
Lollapalooza set up shop in Chicago's Grant Park five years ago. Like many multi-act concert events, Lolla requires its performers to sign contracts that include a radius clause -- in which the performer promises not to book another concert in the same market for a certain amount of time before and after the performance being contracted. That way, theoretically, fans who want to see that band will buy tickets for that show, not another one nearby.
Time Out Chicago reported two years ago that the Lolla clause blacked out 60 days before the fest and 30 days after, within a 250-mile radius. Meade said the clause has changed since then but could not yet elaborate on the current terms.
As a result, the Sun-Times has reported before, Chicago club owners have seen many of the hottest acts banned from playing their venues all summer long because they're beholden to the Lollapalooza radius clause. It affects Chicago, but also venues nationwide. "If you look at summertime in Chicago and summertime around the country now, it's just festivals taking over everything," said Bruce Finkelman, owner of the Empty Bottle. "The summer used to be a really big time, but now, you're not looking at bands that are on tour, but at acts that are just going from one festival to another. It's a completely different scenario now."
Bonnaroo and Coachella both have similar radius clauses in their contracts. Coachella is about 80 miles east of Los Angeles, and Bonnaroo about 60 miles southeast of Nashville.