Only one bidder wants to privatize Chicago's music festivals... but who the heck is it?

December 28, 2010

The deadline for promoters responding to the request for proposals to privatize Taste of Chicago, the Blues Festival, and the five other soon-to-be-formerly-free city music festivals was 4 p.m. Monday, having been extended from the same time on the day the night before Christmas, and the results are in. Drum roll please...

The one and only bidder is a company called Celebrate Chicago, LLC.

No Ticketmaster/Live Nation. No Jam Productions. And no C3 Presents... unless of course one of them is part of Celebrate Chicago, LLC. And alas, as of this moment, we have no way of knowing.

The company does not turn up on a search of registered corporations in Illinois--possibly because it was formed specifically to respond to this proposal, either as a dedicated venture or a partnership with other entities to qualify for the city's women and minority hiring rules, and probably because it's too new to have been registered yet with the state, especially given the holiday.

The city is not going to share any other information with the public on who this bidder is or what it would like to do until the bidding evaluation committee either accepts the proposal and awards a contract or decides to keep the festivals in-house. Wrote Altha Riley, overseer of the bidding process for the Department of Procurement Services: "Only the names of the respondents are public information. No other proposal information is available until after the RFP process is complete. Once a vendor is selected and contract awarded, DPS [the Department of Procurement Services] can process Freedom of Information Act or debriefing meeting requests."

So: Who is Celebrate Chicago?

We'll either have to wait to find out... or keep digging. In the mean time, all (educated) guesses are welcome!

Earlier reports in this blog about privatizing the city festivals and the battle between the Mayor’s Office of Special Events and the Department of Cultural Affairs:

Dec. 20: What's really going on at Cultural Affairs, and what happens to arts and music now?

Dec. 16: Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs is dismantled as 29 are laid off

Dec. 14: Nope, they won’t have to remain free… and answers to other questions about privatizing the city music festivals

Dec. 7: City festivals chief responds to this blog’s reporting on the push for privatization

Dec. 6: Are a political power struggle and a sweetheart deal fueling the city's push to privatize the summer music festivals?

Nov. 22: Psst! Hey, buddy: Wanna buy a city festival?