Monday, July 30, 2012

Lollapalooza Week is Here and Looks Like it Will be Here for Years to Come

Image from
It's early August and that means one thing -- Lollapalooza week is here.  While the music and the throngs of people will garner most of the attention (and rightfully so), we always like to take a step back and think about the impact the festival has for Chicago and more specifically the Sloop.

Yesterday the Chicago Sun-Times had a good story talking about Lollapalooza and this topic.  There was some controversy in 2011 as Grant Park took a beating from the festival: 
Last year, a rainstorm combined with high foot traffic on the fest’s final day caused significant turf damage that took weeks to mend. C3 was criticized for its speed in making the repairs, for which it paid $800,000.

But Jones and Kelly have been discussing more long-term infrastructure improvements to the park, specifically in terms of drainage and soil retention — maintenance that Jones likened to “looking under the hood and fixing ’er up.”
“Lower Hutchinson Field has become a premier permitting space for the city,” Kelly said. “The [Avon] Breast Cancer Walk, the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, now Lollapalooza — it’s a big gathering space, and that’s not going to change. We’re going to take a serious look at how we can improve what’s going on at that site, how we can make it great for softball as well as for the semis that roll in and out for these larger events.” 
Under its new terms with the city — a renegotiation that was initiated, Kelly and Jones said, by Jones and his partners, Charles Attal and Charlie Walker — C3 this year will begin paying all city and county sales and amusement taxes. 
Through the previous arrangement, C3 was partnered not with the city itself but with the Parkways Foundation, a non-profit, fund-raising arm of the Park District, which handled all the city permits in exchange for an annual payment from Lollapalooza. Last year, according to the Park District, that amounted to $2.7 million on total ticket sales of $22.5 million.

Beyond improvements to Grant Park and revenue for the city, the Chicago Park District estimates that there is an overall economic impact to the city of $100 million from Lollapalooza.  This is due to out of towners coming to the city and eating, drinking and being merry.  If that's true, a lot of that has to be spent in the South Loop since the festival is in our backyard.

So what do you think?  Is Lollapalooza a good thing for the Sloop?  We think so, but would love to hear your thoughts on the pros and cons.


Michele said...

I need to have facts about the "cost/benefit", and I need to have this proven to me over and over again!!

As a longtime south looper and lifelong Chicagoan, I have serious doubts about giving up one of our few precious months of nice weather so that a hoard of mostly white, suburban teenagers can trash our parks, disrupt our traffic and urinate on our streets.

Guess my real estate taxes aren't high enough ...

Anonymous said...

Here come the Lollapalooza haters. No one complains about Blues Fest or Jazz Fest, but because of the type of music at Lollapalooza all the Waldorfs and Statlers come out to complain about the crowds.

And @Michele, what on earth does the racial makeup of the crowd have to do with anything? What would be the preferred racial proportions that would make you comfortable with the concert. The fact suburbanites are coming to the city to spend money is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

And here come the Lollapalooza haters. No one complains about Blues Fest or the Taste of Chicago or Jazz fest, but because of the type of music Lollapalooza has, all the Waldorfs and Statlers need to complain.

And @Michele what does the racial makeup of the crowd have to do with anything? What would be your preferred race proportions to make you comfortable? It actually a good thing when suburbanites come to the city to spend money.

MarkChicago said...

What do white or suburban have anything to do with it? Michele, save your racist BS, it is "mostly white, suburban" people who have revitalized the South Loop from the human game range it was before.

Chris said...

Sidenote- It drives me nuts everytime I see 4-6 crossing guards at one interesection just making traffic worse. Creating jobs? More like just wasting the tax money created by people with real jobs.

BRENDAN said...

michelle is an idiot