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10 more Lollapaloozas: tax breaks gone, ticket prices up

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The Chicago Park District announced today it's extending the contract to keep Lollapalooza in Chicago's Grant Park at least through 2021 -- but they'll be paying local taxes from now on.

In a statement released by the district just moments ago, C3 Presents (based in Austin, where the annual South by Southwest music festival is currently under way) will continue to produce the annual, multi-stage concert in downtown Chicago "under a revised financial structure that will provide millions of dollars in new tax revenues for the city, county and state."

Since Lollapalooza began in 2005, C3 Presents has been exempt from paying the same city and county amusement and sales taxes that other producers must fork over when producing events in Chicago parks. Instead, C3 has donated approximately 10 percent of its revenues to Chicago's Parkways Foundation, contributing nearly $11 million to date funding park improvements and programs.

Last year's Lollapalooza drew 90,000 people per day over three days.

The restructured agreement is effective this year -- Lollapalooza is scheduled Aug. 3-5 in Grant Park -- and includes the following highlights:

• The festival is extended through 2021, with options to continue beyond that.
• C3 will pay all relevant taxes, including city and county amusement taxes and the state liquor tax.
• The Chicago Park District will continue to receive a percentage of ticket sales each year, with a guaranteed minimum payment of $1.5 million annually. In fact, it increases: from 10.25 percent under the previous deal to 11 percent in 2012, escalating annually until it reaches 15 percent in 2021
• The previous agreement did not include provisions for landscape restoration, but after last year's rain-soaked damage to Grant Park the new deal now stipulates C3 covers repair and restoration costs.

So now the question hangs in the air: Will ticket prices go up?

Yes, according to a C3 spokesman in Austin this evening. Last year's single day tickets were $90, three-day passes were $215. This year's ticket info, as well as the festival's lineup, will be announced April 9.

Read more about the deal as it develops here!

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Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner covers pop music for the Chicago Sun-Times. Contact him via e-mail.


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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on March 14, 2012 5:51 PM.

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