The potential privatization of Chicago's festivals

January 5, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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(AP/Nam Y. Huh)
Music fans swarm Grant Park during the annual summer festival, Lollapalooza.

Love it or hate it, the Taste of Chicago is probably one of the city’s best known summer festivals. So why would the mayor want to sell the rights to operate it? The answer is a word many Chicagoans have come to loathe: privatization.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that over the past three years the city has lost millions on festivals like the Taste of Chicago, the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago Blues Festival.

So there may be good reason to let private interests manage our fests but would this move benefit you? Would you pay to get into a party that’s always been free? And if you’re going to pay a cover charge, what do you want for your money?
 
To tackle the business end music critic for the Vocalo blogs Jim DeRogatis and Tom Held, reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, joined host Alison Cuddy. Held has been covering Milwaukee's Summerfest for over a decade and provided perspective on how summer festivals work in other cities.

Music Button: Jimmy Dawkins, "Beetin Knockin Ringin", from the CD Earwig Music 20th Anniversary Collection, (Earwig Music)