Advance ticket sales for concerts at this year's Taste of Chicago closed at midnight Monday -- with barely half of the capacity sold.
By midday Monday, just over 7,100 of the $25 concert tickets had been sold online.
That's not quite half of the 15,000 tickets available (3,000 per show) for general-admission seating directly in front of the Petrillo Music Shell at the five scheduled Taste of Chicago concerts: Jennifer Hudson (Wednesday), Death Cab for Cutie (Thursday), Michael Franti (Friday), Chaka Khan (Saturday) and Dierks Bentley (Sunday).
The remaining tickets will be available on site at the annual food and music festival, which begins Wednesday and runs through Sunday. Two ticket windows at Jackson and Columbus will be open from noon to 7 p.m. each day of the event.
Organizers say they're confident walk-up sales will be strong. "Not everyone plans in advance for these things. People are just now looking at the weather [forecasts], too," said Cindy Gatziolis, spokeswoman for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. "The heat is holding off, so sales should jump."
Charging for the Taste concerts is part of a new City Council plan to cut costs and trim annual losses sustained by the city's summer festivals. The event also was shortened from 10 to five days.
"The efforts this year were to control costs and not be a burden on the taxpayer," Gatziolis said. "We were also looking to make something a bit different this year. People have said over the years, 'How do you get a seat for these shows?' It's always been about getting there early and standing in line. This way, you don't have to do that."
The lawn beyond the Petrillo seating area, with a daily capacity of 33,000, remains free.
Food tickets at Taste are $8 for a strip of 12 on site, or $7 for 12 in advance at area Dominick's grocery stores.
For more information, call (312) 744-3316 or visit tasteofchicago.us.