City OKs expansion of Ticketmaster/Live Nation on Northerly Island

Jimmy Buffett and Phish among this summer's performers

March 21, 2013

Surprising no one—or at least not anyone who read Tuesday’s post on this blog—the City Plan Commission today unanimously approved the expansion of Ticketmaster/Live Nation’s Charter One Pavilion on Northerly Island from a capacity of 7,500 to a massive 30,000.

The size of the expanded venue means the giant national concert promoter now has two venues of that size in the Chicago market: the Charter One Pavilion, and the dreaded First Midwest Bank Amphitheater in Tinley Park.

Among the performers slated to initiate the new mega-venue at the former site of Meigs Field this summer: Jimmy Buffett and Phish.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the expanded concert venue will double Park District revenue, with $2 million being pumped into nature programs—though of course, Northerly Island will lose quite a bit of nature to make room for all of those extra Phisheads and parrotheads.

Once again, it is worth pointing out that Ticketmaster/Live Nation is in the ninth year of a five-year deal to run the venue, which was slated to have been put out to public bid once it became “permanent.” (Right now, the promoters erect and tear down the venue each summer.)

Also worth noting: Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s brother, Ari, sits on the board of directors for Ticketmaster/Live Nation. During the campaign, the mayor pledged to ask the City Council to appoint an independent negotiator for any dealings between the city and that company or the promoters of Lollapalooza, which is co-owned by Ari’s Hollywood talent agency.

The mayor has not kept that promise.