WBEZ | Lollapalooza http://www.wbez.org/tags/lollapalooza-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Please don't stop the music http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-09/please-dont-stop-music-108622 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP291709502256.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="(AP/Scott Eisen)" /></div><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fbb9ac7-f35b-fcb0-f217-31e23c13da42">&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t care who&rsquo;s playing,&rdquo; a close friend said about Lollapalooza. I had an extra wristband for the three-day spectacle in Grant Park and mentioned I would attend with my sister.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fbb9ac7-f35b-fcb0-f217-31e23c13da42">&ldquo;You don&rsquo;t care about any of the artists?&rdquo; I asked. This seem impossible. Lollapalooza, more than any other festival in the city was packed (perhaps bursting at the seams) with musical artists local, national, and international. Taking early acts who sweltered under the high heat of August and headliners who were often the largest draw for the weekend into account, I found it hard to believe that there was literally no artist to draw her interest.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fbb9ac7-f35b-fcb0-f217-31e23c13da42">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not about the music,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I just need to be there.&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fbb9ac7-f35b-fcb0-f217-31e23c13da42">I began my professional writing career covering music. I interned for <em>Venus Zine</em> and <em>ALARM</em> magazine, two local independent staples of the music scene in the aughts. I attended what felt like hundreds of concerts throughout college, first for the enjoyment and later to review the performances. I even hosted a show for two years with Brooklyn Radio and briefly wrote for Pitchfork. So not caring about the music was ridiculous. What other purpose does a music festival serve than to provide music for eager and curious audiences?</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fbb9ac7-f35b-fcb0-f217-31e23c13da42">Apparently, a lot of things.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fbb9ac7-f35b-fcb0-f217-31e23c13da42">Last weekend, I attended the North Coast Music Festival. I&#39;ve attended in the past, but this year felt distinctly different. This is no fault of North Coast. I noticed this differentness at other festivals too. And the differentness was not always a good thing. In many cases, the differentness seen with the crowd felt like an attempt to take away everything that made and makes music festivals so great. The musical lineups are still fantastic. I would even argue that they&#39;re better than ever. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>Wavefront is beautifully curated and a special homecoming for the city and its musical roots. It is severely underrated. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>Lollapalooza is a local extravaganza that brings in audiences from across the country. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>North Coast is eclectic and diverse. </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>Pitchfork feels as fresh with its lineup as ever, yet steady in its mood. Pitchfork is a festival that I have grown into rather than abandoned. It has only gotten better.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>But a creeping weariness grew throughout the course of this festival season. I wasn&#39;t sure if I was just getting older, or if the crowds around me were changing. Maybe I changed too and didn&#39;t realize it. I am 25 years old. That both means something and it doesn&#39;t.&nbsp;</span>I&#39;ve been attending concerts and raves and festivals since I was a teen. Revelry is not new. But revelry as I knew it and revelry as it currently is are not one in the same.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fbb9ac7-f35b-fcb0-f217-31e23c13da42">Media coverage on the Monday following Lollapalooza always felt a little ridiculous to me. Yes, music publications and websites always covered the performers, but a gaggle of online gossip and celebrity entertainment websites always covered the festival, too. However, their coverage steered largely toward who was there, what they wore, how much swag they posed with, and what parties they attended. Lollapalooza was not a music festival so much as an interchangeable word to document celebrities in their leisure time. Lollapalooza could have been Coachella or Bonnaroo. Who played that weekend? Who cares? The star of a CW television show took selfies at a downtown club locals rarely frequent!</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fbb9ac7-f35b-fcb0-f217-31e23c13da42">For the first time, I saw that translate to regular audiences at the smaller festivals. Not the celebrity glut, mind you, but the idea that the festival was everything <em>but</em> the festival. Elaborate yet miniscule costumes were worn, drugs were sold what seemed like openly, a general drunkenness permeated the air. I saw a lot of young people who were probably not from the city passed out on the sidewalk while their friends texted with abandon. At the festivals, there were more backs turned away from the stages than toward it.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fbb9ac7-f35b-fcb0-f217-31e23c13da42">I consume music so that it is around me at all times. I listen to it during my commute to work. I play songs to help me better concentrate while working. And concerts and DJ sets are a regular occurrence. Smart Bar is a second home. Shows are highlighted and frequented on a weekly basis at minimum. I see the music festival to listen to acts I am not familiar with and acts that have yet to step foot into the city.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fbb9ac7-f35b-fcb0-f217-31e23c13da42">But if you do not live this lifestyle, if you do not spend tens of hundreds of dollars on music throughout the year, then a music festival becomes the amalgamation not just of musicians, but of everything that surrounds music culture. It is the drinking and the drugs and the recklessness. It is getting in a little trouble. It is getting in a lot of trouble. It is the gluttony, especially.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fbb9ac7-f35b-fcb0-f217-31e23c13da42">Last weekend, two concertgoers (Olivia Rotondo, 20, and Jeffrey Russ, 23) died of drug overdoses at the New York stop of Electric Zoo. According to a report from the <a href="http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/agony_of_ecstasy_at_killer_nyc_rave_GzuQPIxiKrQg5PNLHFq7AM" target="_blank"><em>New York Post</em></a>, Rotondo told an EMS worker on Saturday, &ldquo;I just took six hits of Molly,&rsquo;&rsquo; before collapsing in a seizure and dying. The last day of the festival was eventually canceled. </span></p><p>This is, for many people, their one time to live beyond their everyday. The only reason why the older people around me at these festivals don&rsquo;t act as severely is because their bodies can no longer take the impact of three days on edge.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fbb9ac7-f35b-fcb0-f217-31e23c13da42">Not that all of these things occur at the same time or even at all at any normal concert, but they could, and the music festival becomes the way to amplify this, to turn it into something unnatural and extreme. In many ways, when talking to friends and acquaintances about why they want to attend a festival, it is to live through an idea of what they <em>think</em> should happen. They don&rsquo;t know for certain if other festivals or concerts are like this. But they are pulled toward the headiness of allusion, all of its promises wrapped up in Youth personified. <em>I am the VIP. I am the one who will go to the places they will never go. I am the one who will see the things they will never see. I am the one who will live the life they will never live. </em>&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fbb9ac7-f35b-fcb0-f217-31e23c13da42">On Saturday, I stood excitedly by a smaller stage to see a solid and lively set by teenage DJ duo Bondax. I had been anticipating their set all weekend after spending the summer living off of their breezy hits <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-TrUW7ugr8" target="_blank">&ldquo;Gold,&rdquo;</a> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCTsZZC9ECA" target="_blank">&ldquo;Giving it All,&rdquo;</a> and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uge7OCNsOI" target="_blank">&ldquo;Baby I Got That.&rdquo;</a> My friends had not arrived to the festival yet, so I took a chance and asked a group next to me who they were excited to see.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-6fbb9ac7-f35b-fcb0-f217-31e23c13da42">&ldquo;What? Oh, I don&rsquo;t know,&rdquo; one girl said while re-applying a sequin to a friend&rsquo;s face. She stumbled for a bit, stepping on my toes, looking off into the distance &ndash; at what, I don&rsquo;t know. I turned around. There were just more bodies idling. &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t even remember who&rsquo;s playing!&rdquo;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Britt Julious is the co-host of&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbezs-changing-channels" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Changing Channels</a>, a podcast about the future of television. She also writes about race and culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 09 Sep 2013 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-09/please-dont-stop-music-108622 Chicago tries to attract tech talent through Lollapalooza http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-tries-attract-tech-talent-through-lollapalooza-106848 <p><p>A technology and music festival partnership is something the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas has been doing for awhile. Now, Chicago&rsquo;s giving it a try, but with a direct focus on students.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel is extending the ThinkChicago:Ideas Week program and pairing it with Lollapalooza, the three day music festival in Grant Park. One hundred passes will be offered to top technology and computer science students from around the country.</p><p>Kristin Barrett is vice president of the digital start-up center, 1871. The West Coast is often the destination of choice for students looking for tech jobs. Barrett said this year&rsquo;s Lollapalooza will be an opportunity for the city to herald itself as a tech destination.</p><p>&ldquo;You see amazing talent that might want to live in a more affordable place like Chicago. So I think you see a lot of different factors that might play into attracting students, but also coming and seeing what a livable and enjoyable city Chicago is has a really great impact of people&rsquo;s likelihood to move here,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The program will include panel discussions, technology presentations and a job fair. Students have until the end of May to apply for spot.</p><p>While the program isn&rsquo;t open to the public, city officials say it could be something in the works for later festivals.</p><p><em>Susie An is WBEZ&rsquo;s interim business reporter. Follow her<a href="http://www.twitter.com/soosieon"> @soosieon</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 16:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-tries-attract-tech-talent-through-lollapalooza-106848 What you should know about Chicago festival season http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/what-you-should-know-about-chicago-festival-season-106591 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/PMF.jpg" title="So, this happened at Pitchfork in 2009. Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, in a bubble. (Flickr/JC Behm)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">With the start of Chicago festival season less than one month away, Metromix has released their preliminary list of <a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/stories/1839-2013-chicago-festival-guide" target="_blank">street fests</a> to whet our summer appetites.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Some focus on music (from block parties like Do-Division and Wicker Park Fest to festival giants like Pitchfork, Taste of Chicago and Lollapolooza) while others revolve around food or fine art, but all are guaranteed to bring crowds of joyful Chicagoans together for some long-awaited fun in the sun. &nbsp;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Since it&#39;s never too early to start planning your summer activities, here&#39;s what you can expect from the four-month long bombardment of festivals this year:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><strong>1. Day drinking&nbsp;</strong></p><p>And lots of it. Pace yourself (pounding Jägerbombs before 10 a.m. is <em>never </em>a good idea) and remember that obnoxious drunk people are slightly more tolerable if you have a buzz going yourself. Don&#39;t care for booze? You&#39;re in luck: there&#39;s a&nbsp;<a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/events/mmxchi-rockstar-energy-drink-mayhem-festival-event" target="_blank">Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival</a>&nbsp;too.&nbsp;</p><p><i>My favorites</i>: Chicago Craft Beer Festival, Pridefest, and Northalsted Market Days.</p><p><strong>2. Music (good and bad)</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/show-me-chicago/2013/04/chicagos-millennium-park-summer-2013-line-up-of-free-music-and-special-events/" target="_blank">Free Music Mondays</a> in Millenium Park can be hit or miss (although <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2013/04/02/city-announces-2013-lineups-for-downtown-sound-and-loops-and-variations" target="_blank">looking good</a> this year); and with many lineups still forthcoming, it&#39;s hard to know which music fests are worth braving the heat and sweaty crowds. But since Walmart on the Lake (aka Lollapalooza) is already <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/10/summer-music-festivals-coachella-lollapalooza_n_3053876.html" target="_blank">sold-out</a>, trying a smaller fest with more local acts could end up being the highlight of your summer.&nbsp;</p><p><i>My favorites</i>: Pitchfork Musical Festival, Wicker Park Fest, North Coast Music Fest, Blues Fest, Edge Fest, Riot&nbsp;Fest and Do-Division.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/34FLiV.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 400px; float: right; " title="The crowd at last year's Do-Divison Street Fest. (Do-DivisionStreetFest.com) " /></p><p><strong>3. Food (good and <em>really</em> good)</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/taste_of_chicago.html" target="_blank">Taste of Chicago</a> may be ridiculously overpriced, but the street-vendor style grub is dependably delicious every year. Other scrumptious destinations like<a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/events/mmxchi-6-corners-bbq-fest-event" target="_blank"> 6 Corners BBQ Fest</a> in Jefferson Park, <a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/events/mmxchi-fiesta-del-sol-1-event" target="_blank">Fiesta Del Sol</a> in Pilsen and Lakeview&#39;s appropriately-named <a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/events/mmxchi-sausagefest-chicago-1-event" target="_blank">SausageFest</a> deserve some foodie love as well&mdash;just don&#39;t overdo it on the red meat if your plans include walking around in the sun for the rest of the day.</p><p><em>My favorites<b>:&nbsp;</b></em>Roscoe Village Burger Fest, Ribfest Chicago and Taste of Randolph Street.</p><p><strong>4. Scantily-clad people</strong></p><p>By the time temperatures hit 90 degrees, festivals will be teeming with shirtless men and women flaunting the tiniest <a href="http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=27101708&amp;parentid=W_TOPS" target="_blank">bustiest</a>&nbsp;tops&nbsp;imaginable. Whether this sounds appealing to you or not, standing in close proximity to these people could turn <em>very</em> uncomfortable once bodies start sweating and sticking together like flypaper; so, make sure that you have a clear pathway to remove yourself from this situation if need be.</p><p><strong>5. Money saved</strong></p><p>While the exception of bigger music festivals like<a href="http://pitchfork.com" target="_blank"> Pitchfork</a>, most of the neighborhood block parties on <a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/stories/1839-2013-chicago-festival-guide" target="_blank">this list</a> are free and open to the public. A small donation is often encourged to help support the community, but not required. Still, go ahead and pay the $5 to $10 (it&#39;s less than what you&#39;d spend at the movies these days) and enjoy some great live music/art/culture with your friends.</p><p>Walk around in the sunshine, explore different parts of the city and meet new people along the way. Summer festival season goes by quickly (beginning with the<a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/events/mmxchi-long-grove-chocolate-fest-event" target="_blank"> Long Grove Chocolate Fest</a> on May 3 and ending with the last day of <a href="http://chicago.metromix.com/events/mmxchi-riot-fest-1-event" target="_blank">Riot Fest</a> on September 15) so make the most of it while you can!&nbsp;</p><p><em>What&#39;s your favorite fest? Leave a comment below, join the conversation on <a href="https://www.facebook.com" target="_blank">Facebook</a> or send me a tweet <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Thu, 11 Apr 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-04/what-you-should-know-about-chicago-festival-season-106591 CTA's new card comes with expensive options http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-03/ctas-new-card-comes-expensive-options-106179 <p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-cta-ventra-hidden-fees-0320-20130320,0,2928286.story" target="_blank"><img alt="Ventra card vending machine" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ventra.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Ventra card vending machine" /></a><strong>NEW CTA CARDS: TAKING YOU FOR A RIDE?</strong>&nbsp;An analysis of the huge contract with the company responsible for the forthcoming Ventra passes reveals potentially costly surprises if you opt for the debit-card version -- including $2 for a call to customer service.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-cta-ventra-hidden-fees-0320-20130320,0,2928286.story">The&nbsp;<em>Tribune&#39;s</em>&nbsp;Jon Hilkevitch reports</a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>SPINELESS IN CHICAGO.&nbsp;</strong>In <em>Chicago</em> magazine, Steve Rhodes explores&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/April-2013/The-Yes-Men/" target="_blank">how the mayor always gets his way</a>&nbsp;with the City Council:&nbsp;&quot;When disastrous ideas come around ... they pass with flying colors.&quot;<br />* Sources to <em>Sun-Times:</em> <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/18969116-761/wrigley-aldermans-pitch-scrap-famed-scoreboard-for-video-version-as-big-as-you-want-sources.html" target="_blank">Wrigley alderman OK with scrapping scoreboard</a> for video version &quot;as big as you want.&quot;</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>&#39;WORSE THAN NIXON.&#39;</strong>&nbsp;The First Amendment advocate who represented <em>The New York Times </em>when the government sued over publication of the Pentagon Papers says the Obama administration &quot;<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/19/goodale-obama-press-freedoms-secrecy-nixon" target="_blank">is worse for press freedom than former President Richard Nixon</a>.&quot;<br />*&nbsp;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/03/chair-climate-change-subcommittee-jury-still-out-climate-change" target="_blank">Climate-change-denying congressman to head subcommittee on climate change</a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>WILL CNN APOLOGIZE?</strong> More than 220,000 people have signed <a href="http://www.change.org/petitions/cnn-apologize-on-air-for-sympathizing-with-the-steubenville-rapists" target="_blank">that online petition</a> demanding the network take back its sympathetic coverage of the sentencing of two men convicted of rape in Steubenville, Ohio. <em>The Atlantic</em> says &quot;<a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/03/at-least-200000-people-want-cnn-apologize-its-sympathetic-steubenville-coverage/63315/" target="_blank">it&#39;s hard to understand why CNN wouldn&#39;t feel compelled to address the backlash</a>.&quot;<br />*&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/03/steubenville-rapist-appeal/63290/" target="_blank">Steubenville rapist to appeal because his &quot;brain isn&#39;t fully developed.&quot;</a><br />* Two girls charged with <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/19/justice/ohio-steubenville-case/?hpt=us_c2" target="_blank">social-media threats against Steubenville rape victim</a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>COLBERT BUMP.</strong> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/19/elizabeth-colbert-busch-wins_n_2911914.html" target="_blank">Stephen Colbert&#39;s sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, is the easy winner</a>&nbsp;in&nbsp;the Democratic primary for a South Carolina seat in Congress.<br />* <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/colbert-serious-sister-campaign-article-1.1293237" target="_blank">Colbert joins sister&#39;s political team</a>: &quot;I&rsquo;m not worried about what it would do to me or my show to try to help her as myself &ndash; not as my character.&quot;</span></p><hr /><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 18px;"><em>Meyerson + Kogan, 2 p.m. today on WBEZ&#39;s &quot;Afternoon Shift.&quot;<br />What should we discuss? </em><a href="mailto:cmeyerson@wbez.org?subject=Talk%20about%20this%2C%20Meyerson">Your suggestions welcome.</a></span></span></p><hr /><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. </strong>Gay-bashing Westboro Baptist Church has a new neighbor right across the street in Topeka: <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/rainbow-painted-house-rebukes-westboro-msg-article-1.1292955" target="_blank">A rainbow-colored home</a>. And Google Maps played a part.<br />* WBEZ&#39;s Nico Lang: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-03/marriage-equality-fight-heats-illinois-106151" target="_blank">What&#39;s holding up Illinois&#39; Marriage Fairness Act?</a></span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia, serif;">* Nine justices, no waiting: Supreme Court to release&nbsp;</span><a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/same-day-audio-high-court-gay-marriage-cases" style="font-family: georgia, serif;" target="_blank">audio recordings of next week&#39;s gay-marriage arguments</a><span style="font-family: georgia, serif;">&nbsp;just hours after conclusion.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>PANTS IN THE NEWS.</strong><br />* <em>PolitiFact</em> gives &quot;pants on fire&quot; rating to Michele Bachmann&#39;s statement that <a href="http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/mar/19/michele-bachmann/michele-bachmann-says-70-percent-food-stamp-fundin/" target="_blank">70 percent of food stamp funding goes to bureaucrats</a>.<br />* <a href="http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-lululemon-black-yoga-pants-recall-20130319,0,5872756.story" target="_blank">Lululemon warns of yoga pants shortage</a> after recall for too-revealing fabric.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>LOLLAPALOOZA LOOKAHEAD.</strong> The headliners set for Grant Park Aug. 2-4 include&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/turnitup/chi-lollapalooza-headliners-20130319,0,725418.column" target="_blank">Mumford &amp; Sons, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend and the Killers</a>, according to Greg Kot in the <em>Tribune</em>. Tickets go on sale Tuesday.<br />* <a href="http://variety.com/2013/film/news/rare-early-hitchcock-pics-to-tour-u-s-1200326013/" target="_blank">Alfred Hitchcock&#39;s earliest surviving silent films</a> set for Chicago screening.</span></p><hr /><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><em><strong>ANNOUNCEMENTS.</strong></em><br /><em>* Suggestions for this blog?&nbsp;<a href="mailto:cmeyerson@wbez.org?subject=Things%20and%20stuff">Email anytime</a>.<br />* Get this blog by email, free. <a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=feedburner/AELk&amp;amp;loc=en_US" target="_blank">Sign up here</a>.</em><br /><em>* Follow us on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/wbez" target="_blank">@WBEZ</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/meyerson" target="_blank">@Meyerson</a>.<br />* Looking for the most recent WBEZ Meyerson News Quiz? <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/news-quiz" target="_blank">Here you go</a>.</em></span></p></p> Wed, 20 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-03/ctas-new-card-comes-expensive-options-106179 The lessons of Lollapalooza 2012 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-08/lessons-lollapalooza-2012-101501 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/7723016616_6654244eba.jpg" title="(Annie Minoff/WBEZ)" /></div><p>&ldquo;We got lucky with the weather tonight, didn&rsquo;t we?&rdquo; <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2012/08/sunday_lollapalooza_jack_white.html#more">Jack White asked from the stage Sunday night</a> as he closed out Lollapalooza 2012, the eighth edition of the giant corporate concert that&rsquo;s become Walmart on the Lake.</p><p>In fact, Austin, Texas-based concert promoters C3 Presents and city officials are the ones who should be counting their blessings after a severe-weather evacuation Saturday afternoon shunted more than 60,000 people out of Grant Park on to Michigan Avenue as a torrential downpour, intense lightning and winds up to 60 miles per hour descended on the lakefront. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/lollapalooza-2012-day-2-festival-experience-weighs-heavier-mind-music-101478">As WBEZ&rsquo;s Kate Dries observed</a>, <em>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s pure luck that things went as smoothly as they did.&rdquo;</em></p><p>In the wake of the weekend&rsquo;s events, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/lollapalooza/ct-met-lolla-emergency-plan-20120801,0,3917978,full.story">last week&rsquo;s report by Heather Gillers in <em>The Chicago Tribune</em></a> and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-08/tribune-if-severe-weather-hits-fans-lollapalooza-are-screwed-101374">my report on this blog</a> reiterating the question <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2008/08/on_tornadoes_and_the_cops_new.html">I first raised four years ago</a> seemed prescient: What is the evacuation plan for Lollapalooza if dangerous weather threatens the daily crowd of almost 100,000?</p><p>Now we know the answer: Kick everyone out of the park and hope for the best.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/7712973552_a05080c5ed.jpg" title="(Swimfinfan, Flickr/Creative Commons)" /></div><p>Formally, the plan called for the crowd to be directed into the underground parking garages at the northern end of the park, as reporters had speculated. (The city refused to answer the question in advance because of terrorist/security concerns.) Few concertgoers on Saturday got that message, however, and the majority of concert staff, security and city emergency officials seemed to be clueless about it, too, according to all reports.</p><p><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/lollapalooza/chi-lollapaloozas-first-evacuation-relatively-smooth-but-no-refunds-for-disappointed-fans-20120805,0,2451729,full.story">Here is the <em>Tribune</em>&rsquo;s Gillers</a>, who was on the scene:</p><p><em>Many concertgoers said they received no instruction on where to evacuate to, and crowds clustered under building awnings and bus shelters while waiting for the storm to pass.</em></p><p><em>Staff at Grant Park North Garage estimated that perhaps 100 people had taken shelter there, and those interviewed said they had found the location on their own. Alicia Fuentes, 27, of San Francisco, said she thought to take shelter in the garage only because she had parked her car there.</em></p><p><em>&ldquo;All they said was &lsquo;move now, move now,&rsquo;&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;No directions. Nothing. We didn&rsquo;t even know what was going on until I called my mom. She said, &lsquo;There are severe thunderstorms coming through, you better go underground.&rsquo;&rdquo;</em></p><p><em>Others clustered in the garage said that they had also parked there&mdash;or that they had stumbled on it while looking for a warm, dry spot.</em></p><p><em>George Clark, 21, of Chicago said he and his friends were first told to evacuate Grant Park and then shooed away from the park&rsquo;s entranceway.</em></p><p><em>&ldquo;They just started telling us to leave,&rdquo; Clark said. &ldquo;They didn&rsquo;t tell us to go anywhere specific.&rdquo;</em></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/7715279598_7c23be434f.jpg" title="(Annie Minoff/WBEZ)" /></div><p><em>&nbsp;&ldquo;In a bit of irony,&rdquo;</em> <em><a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2012/08/lollapalooza_evacuation.html">Chicago Sun-Times </a></em><a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2012/08/lollapalooza_evacuation.html">rock critic Thomas Conner wrote</a>, the new, imposing black security fences installed this year to keep gate-crashers out slowed the paying concertgoers&rsquo; attempts to quickly evacuate, <em>&ldquo;though several jumped the fence to get out rather than sneak in.&rdquo;</em> He continued:</p><p><em>Clearing the park was one thing, and seemed to be accomplished in a timely manner (with plenty of time before the storm hit) and relatively easily. Giving the nearly 60,000 people someplace to go, however, seemed another matter.</em></p><p><em>As I began to exit the park, I asked staff near the inside gate where we were being directed. I was told to proceed to the next gate where there would be instructions. The outer gate poured us all onto Michigan Avenue, and there was no one giving directions. There was no staff in sight. Fans were simply flowing onto Michigan Avenue, snarling traffic and scattering.</em></p><p><em>&quot;Once we were outside of the park, there was no information or directions anywhere,&quot; said Noah Hyrent of Roselle.</em></p><p><em>They filled hotels and businesses, some of which reacted against the influx. At a Starbucks at Michigan and Balbo, employees ordered everyone out of the packed coffee shop, even customers who had beverages in their hands. A liquor store near Michigan and Congress locked its doors&hellip; One Chicago Police officer, leaning casually against a fence along Michigan Ave., quipped: &quot;There&#39;s no place out here for 100,000 people to go.&quot;</em></p><p><a href="http://www.suntimes.com/14239330-761/lollapalooza-reopens-after-rain-delay-grant-park-evacuation.html">Another <em>Sun-Times </em>report added</a>: <em>At a Starbucks at Michigan and Balbo, employees ordered everyone out of the packed coffee shop, even customers who had beverages in their hands. Some concertgoers sat under shelters at bus stops and store awnings, and many could be heard screaming obscenities as they were escorted north of Grant Park.</em></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/lollapalooza-2012-day-2-festival-experience-weighs-heavier-mind-music-101478">WBEZ&rsquo;s reporters on the scene pulled no punches in pointing out the obvious flaws of this &ldquo;evacuation plan.&rdquo;</a> Wrote Dries: <em>There was no mention of where to go or when things might be getting back up to speed, if at all. The city and Lollapalooza officials may have had a plan, but few were privy to it. It&#39;s difficult to chalk up the relative calm that followed to anything other than a lot of people who just didn&#39;t want to ruin the day they were having.</em></p><p>Added Annie Minoff:</p><p><em>As a reader of Jim DeRogatis&rsquo; blog, I knew the contingency plan, such as it was: In case of evacuation, get to the Grant Park garages. But as for all those Lolla staff and CPD who supposedly &ldquo;directed [us] to pre-established underground evacuation and shelter sites&rdquo; per Lolla&rsquo;s press release? That&rsquo;s total bunk. I encountered no festival staff beyond the Lolla gates. An OEMC traffic officer I asked about the evacuation site had no idea such a site existed. Even the festivalgoers I found leaning up against the garage entrances had no idea they were supposed to be there. When I asked why none of them were moving underground, I was told it was hot down there. Lolla did eventually send out a notice via Twitter alerting readers to the garage evac site (not that many took them up on the offer). But as literally anyone at the fest this weekend could tell you,&nbsp;service is not reliable. Was this really the plan? To rely on an emergency communication system that, for one, assumes festivalgoers have smart phones, and for two, can get service?</em></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/lollaevac_0_0.jpeg" style="height: 400px; width: 400px;" title="" /></div><p>As has been their habit, C3 executives and city officials ignored what reporters saw and issued a statement maintaining that there were no problems whatsoever and everything went smoothly with the evacuation. Pressed on that by the <em>Tribune</em>&rsquo;s Gillers, C3 spokeswoman Shelby Meade insisted that, &ldquo;concert-goers got &lsquo;very clear&rsquo; instructions from C3 staff,&rdquo; while city Office of Emergency Management spokeswoman Delores Robinson stuck to the line that &ldquo;city and C3 staff advised the evacuees to seek shelter nearby,&rdquo; adding that the emergency management office is involved in an ongoing campaign throughout the year to make people aware of where emergency shelters are.</p><p>Perhaps they should start with their own employees. As the <em>Tribune</em>&rsquo;s Bob Gendron wrote via Twitter, <em>&ldquo;Lolla </em><em>organizers issued statement about evacuation. Their numbers, claims do not jive with my experience or what I saw.&rdquo;</em></p><p>This disconnect between what reporters saw and what concert organizers said was obvious in almost all media accounts, and it represented a distinct departure from the general cheerleading and softball coverage that Lollapalooza has received from year one in Grant Park, with certain notable exceptions. In 2008, while I still was the rock critic for <em>The Chicago Sun-Times, </em>freelancer Anders Lindall and I covered <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2008/08/raging_during_the_rage_set_her.html">a truly harrowing gate crash by fans of Rage Against the Machine</a>, watching the flash mob trample everyone in its path. C3 and police officials denied that it even happened.</p><p>At-times dangerous situations still exist at the concert, largely because of the configuration of the park to accommodate as many luxury V.I.P. cabanas as possible, a problem now exacerbated by fenced-off bushes. <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2012/08/crowds_swell_as_night_falls.html#more">Lindall described another disturbing event this year</a>, before the performance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He wrote:</p><p><em>If no one was seriously injured Saturday night at Lollapalooza, it was only thanks to good fortune.</em></p><p><em>Just hours after a powerful thunderstorm forced Grant Park&#39;s evacuation, a new danger presented itself on the ground leading up to the delayed performance by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.</em></p><p><em>Extreme crowding among the throng of readmitted fans plus a new, more confining array of fences coupled to create scary bottlenecks of shoving bodies on the two staircases that connect Hutchinson Field with Columbus Drive on the west.</em></p><p><em>The circumstances closely resembled foot-traffic jams on the same staircases that played a role in <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2008/08/raging_during_the_rage_set_her.html">trampling incidents during Rage Against the Machine&#39;s infamous set at Lollapalooza four years ago</a>. In that case, &quot;Concertgoers trying to go up a set of cement steps were pushed backwards or blocked from exiting as a bull rush of male fans barreled down the steps, knocking people over like dominoes,&quot; MTV <a href="http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1592052/rage-against-machines-lollapalooza-set-turns-ugly.jhtml">reported</a>&hellip;</em></p><p><em>How did [Saturday&rsquo;s event] happen? It seemed obvious that there were far too many people trying to get to Hutchinson Field at once, with inadequate access to do so. There is no way that tens of thousands of people can share two staircases without causing a bottleneck. But the VIP cabanas that line most of the hill combine with new fencing added this year&mdash;ostensibly <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/14020080-418/extra-fences-security-to-combat-gate-crashers-damage-at-lollapalooza.html">to protect trees, shrubs and grounds from foot traffic</a>&mdash;to funnel the huge crowds into just these two confined areas.</em></p><p><em>What&#39;s more, I saw little or no police or security personnel in the area. Their authority has to be used to keep these exits clear. Aside from the threat of a crowd surge resulting in people trampled or crushed, the blocked exits could have prevented emergency personnel from being able to respond immediately to a medical or security situation on the field.</em></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/crowdathutchnorth.jpg" style="height: 373px; width: 500px;" title="(Anders Lindall, with permission)" /></div><p>Police also reported two stabbings at this year&rsquo;s concert, <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-08-03/entertainment/chi-man-stabbed-downtown-near-lollapalooza-20120803_1_lollapalooza-music-sold-out-three-day-grant-park">one on Friday</a> and <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/14252311-418/two-stabbed-in-fight-near-lollapalooza.html">another on Saturday</a>.</p><p>Will the promoters and city officials examine and improve upon potentially unsafe conditions before the next concert&mdash;and the next, and the next? (Lollapalooza officially is here through 2021, though the terms of the new concert struck earlier this year actually allow the city and the promoters to extend its presence here annually in perpetuity.)</p><p>Certainly they should. But in eight years, they&rsquo;ve never really probed any of the big-picture questions: Can Grant Park really accommodate that many people, and is it the ideal location for such a concert? Is it right for the city to privatize the park for such an event? And what are its real impacts, pro and con, on Chicago, its businesses and its music scene?</p><p>There is no reason to expect that the city will start asking those tough questions now, or in any way curtail the preferential treatment it accords C3 Presents, which is showered with love that no other promoter ever has gotten.</p><p>Here, it is worth noting once again that, as with so many things in Chicago, Lollapalooza is here for two reasons: Clout (50 percent of the festival is owned by Hollywood&rsquo;s William Morris Endeavor talent agency, run by Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s brother Ari, and its registered agent and lobbyist remains Mark Vanecko, nephew of former Mayor Richard Daley) and cash (the city is quick to tout the financial benefits of the concert, though no independent economic analysis ever has been done, and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/new-lollapalooza-deal-blown-opportunity-98257">only this year will the concert finally pay its full freight of the amusement taxes levied on every other entertainment event in this city</a>).</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/7715281926_038eb7a818.jpg" title="(Annie Minoff/WBEZ)" /></div><p>Meanwhile, in a final bit of irony, while Bob O&rsquo;Neill of the toothless watchdog group the Grant Park Conservancy last week <a href="http://llnw.wbez.org/120801segb_1.mp3">assured me and listeners to WBEZ&rsquo;s <em>848</em></a> that last year&rsquo;s months-long cleanup of the park was the result of once-in-a-lifetime storms, this year&rsquo;s restoration likely will take even longer. Wrote the <em>Tribune</em>&rsquo;s Gendron via Twitter: <em>&ldquo;</em><em>Standing water everywhere. Inches deep. Unreal conditions&hellip; This year&rsquo;s storm likely to make last year&rsquo;s park damage [seem] minor.&rdquo;</em></p><p>And, in stark contrast to the terms imposed on every other festival held in a public park, C3 faces no penalties, fines or specific deadlines for failing to restore the park in a timely manner to the condition it was in before the concert.</p><p>Meanwhile, Lollapalooza continues to grow. Though the promoters were thwarted several years ago in their attempt to expand in the U.S. with an edition of the festival on the east coast, they have gone global, with concerts in Brazil, Chile&hellip; and now in Israel.</p><p>During last weekend&rsquo;s festivities, C3 announced that Lollapalooza will expand in 2013 to Tel Aviv, a fact reported without much comment by the media covering the Grant Park bash. But one of this blog&rsquo;s readers directed its attention to a story that dug a little deeper.</p><p>Writing for <a href="http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/benjamin-doherty/promoter-who-raised-money-israeli-army-hold-lollapalooza-ruins-palestinian">electronicintifada.net</a>, Benjamin Doherty noted that C3 will hold its event in Israel in Yarkon Park, &ldquo;built over the ruins of the Palestinian village of Jarisha whose residents were forced to flee their homes under attack by Zionist militias in 1948.&rdquo; Gee, if only Lollapalooza had been around to play Sun City before that troubling business of Apartheid came to an end.</p></p> Mon, 06 Aug 2012 11:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-08/lessons-lollapalooza-2012-101501 Cropped tops dominate Lollapalooza 2012: 'Give your stomach room to breathe' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/cropped-tops-dominate-lollapalooza-2012-give-your-stomach-room-breathe-101479 <p><p>As someone brought up by parents who said it was innapropriate to wear bathing suits at amusement parks, the cropped top phenomenon has been strange to me from the get-go. I have seen it in a few places before: I was a child of the &#39;90s, and thus exposed to<a href="http://media.onsugar.com/files/2011/03/10/1/827/8273402/5ae4d5fd44f9b56a_kelly-kapowski1.jpg"> Kelly Kapowski&#39;s</a> wardrobe, I&#39;m an <a href="http://www.manrepeller.com/2011/06/repeller-or-propeller-cropped-top.html">avid</a> <a href="http://www.refinery29.com/cropped-tops-summer">fashion</a> <a href="http://www.vogue.com/guides/the-social-shopper-april-21-2012/">blog</a> <a href="http://lookbook.nu/looks?q=cropped+top">reader</a>&nbsp;and, I mean, who hasn&#39;t seen Madonna&#39;s &quot;Lucky Star&quot; video?</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe align="middle" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ThHz9wlBeLU" width="420"></iframe></p><p>But never have I seen so many navels as I did at this years Lollapalooza.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cropped%20friends%203%20%281%29.JPG" style="height: 620px; width: 620px; " title="(WBEZ/Kate Dries)" /></div><p>It wasn&#39;t surprising to me at first. Festivals always seem to bring out lots of skin and strange behavior. But after about an hour, I realized this was so much more than that. There were countless girls wearing tiny tank or tube top shirts, most of them paired with denim shorts. I counted 15 just standing between the BMI and Bud Light stages for just five minutes. And some of those girls were wearing sports bras or actual bras with shorts, as if they just <em>had</em> to get in on the trend. Women of all ages!</p><p>What is this all about? Where were all these girls&#39; and womens&#39; mothers? Since when was almost everyone confident enough to bare their belly button?</p><p>And so I decided I would dive in head first to get some answers. I headed to my local Akira, where I heard one shopper say to the staff there, &quot;I need new Lolla clothes.&quot; Perfect.</p><p>But Akira was low on cropped top stock, I assume because of Lollapalooza, so I headed to Urban Outfitters, where I spent TWENTY NINE DOLLARS on a strapless, tribal print cropped top. Thinking that I would have been better served to start a crop top pop-up shop outside the festival, I ran home to change and hit the road.</p><p>My colleague Kate Dries was able to capture a bit of my apprehension on video. Note the cropped top wearing female to the right of the screen:</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="288" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/47023533?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe></p><p>I eventually got up the courage to go full-cropped top, but I was no where near as confident as Mariah Harris, who I ran into at the Prius Family Playground.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="288" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/47023532?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe></p><p>While Mariah was all about the cropped top for style and to show off her washboard abs, Olivia Campbell, Stephanie Webber, Melanie Wood, Anna Schwartz told me it&#39;s more about keeping cool, temperature wise.</p><p>And maybe one other thing...</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="288" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/47023496?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe></p><p>As for my own analysis, I can&#39;t say I was any cooler because less of my body was covered. It was scorchingly hot Saturday morning, and no cropped top was going to help me avoid that. And though I got under cover just before the big storm hit, I think the cropped top would have made getting drenched all the worse.&nbsp;</p><p>One thing&#39;s for sure, I definitely did not look out of place. Within the confines of the metal fences, wearing a cropped top seemed as much a part of the experience as drinking expensive beer alongside a lobster corn dog. It&#39;s not going to make or break your experience not to do it, but you&#39;re definitely going all-in if you do.&nbsp;</p><p>The only strange looks I recieved came as I boarded the 151 bus back home, where I promptly put my long sleeve shirt back on.&nbsp;</p></p> Sun, 05 Aug 2012 09:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/cropped-tops-dominate-lollapalooza-2012-give-your-stomach-room-breathe-101479 Fence jumpers beware: Lollapalooza beefs up security http://www.wbez.org/fence-jumpers-beware-lollapalooza-beefs-security-101426 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/lollapalooza.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>People planning to hop the fence to see bands for free at Lollapalooza this weekend might want to think again.</p><p>The music festival kicks off on Friday in Grant Park, and organizers say they&rsquo;re taking steps to amp up security this time around.</p><p>Lisa Hickey, a Lollapalooza spokeswoman, said organizers are adding more guards. Hickey also said they have increased the amount of so-called &ldquo;black fence,&rdquo; the same kind of fencing that the government uses to protect its buildings during protests and that it used during Chicago&rsquo;s NATO summit. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;You&#39;ll notice we are still utilizing chain-link fencing, but we have installed additional black fencing behind some of that, particularly along Lake Shore Drive and the outer perimeter of the park,&rdquo; Hickey said. That addition, organizers hope, will prevent gate-crashers from getting a running start.</p><p>Bob O&rsquo;Neill of the Grant Park Conservancy Council says there will also be fencing surrounding the park&rsquo;s flowers and gardens.</p><p>O&rsquo;Neill said Lollapalooza covers the costs for any damage to the park, like last year when heavy rains caused impromptu mudwrestling that tore up a lot of the grass.</p><p>O&rsquo;Neill said afterwards Lollapalooza organizers spent about $1 million on new sod for the park, but he also said the festival raises money for the city&rsquo;s parks.</p><p>&ldquo;Lollapalooza needs to be looked at as one big parks fundraiser,&rdquo; O&rsquo;Neill said, adding organizers have raised more than $10 million for Chicago&rsquo;s park system.</p><p>Lollapalooza runs from Friday through Sunday.</p><p>Hickey said organizers are expecting 100,000 people a day, for a total attendance of 300,000. That would be 30,000 more people than last year, and it would set another attendance record for the event.&nbsp;</p><p>The headliners are: The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Sabbath, Jack White, and The Black Keys.</p></p> Thu, 02 Aug 2012 16:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/fence-jumpers-beware-lollapalooza-beefs-security-101426 Tribune: If severe weather hits, fans at Lollapalooza are screwed http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-08/tribune-if-severe-weather-hits-fans-lollapalooza-are-screwed-101374 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1Lolla.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 600px; " title="Bad weather at Lollapalooza in 2011 (Flickr/Robert Francis)" /></div><p>Four years ago, on the Monday after Lollapalooza 2008, the tornado sirens went off in the city of Chicago for the first time in the 20 years I&rsquo;ve lived here. Raised on the east coast, I was startled when my wife grabbed me by the hand to cower in the basement for 45 minutes until the all-clear. What would have happened, I wondered, if the warning tolled 24 hours earlier when 150,000 people were in Grant Park? (This year, the city has approved attendance of 300,000.)</p><p><a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/music/2008/08/on_tornadoes_and_the_cops_new.html">I wrote a piece for the <em>Sun-Times</em> trying to answer that question</a>, but I had little luck getting an answer as city spokeswomen stonewalled me. The people in the northern end of the park, it seemed obvious, would be directed to the underground parking ramps below Millennium Park. But what of the 75,000 (now 150,000) filling Hutchinson Field, in front of Lollapalooza&rsquo;s main stage, and the rest of the southern end of the park?</p><p>Soldier Field, which would be locked, is a long hike across Lake Shore Drive, and the hotel basements on Michigan Avenue, which never could accommodate that size crowd, are no closer. In severe weather, the park would need to be cleared on short notice, without panic, and with clear directions on where people should go. Shouldn&rsquo;t the plan be publicized in advance?</p><p>At the time, police spokeswoman Monique Bond and Office of Emergency Management &amp; Communications spokeswoman Jennifer Martinez both assured me that the city had an evacuation plan&mdash;though neither would tell me what it was, because of &ldquo;terrorist concerns,&rdquo; they claimed.</p><p>In a hard-hitting story in today&rsquo;s <em><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/lollapalooza/ct-met-lolla-emergency-plan-20120801,0,3917978,full.story">Chicago Tribune </a></em><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/lollapalooza/ct-met-lolla-emergency-plan-20120801,0,3917978,full.story">written by Heather Gillers</a>&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;the paper&rsquo;s new investigative entertainment reporter who won nationwide acclaim in her last gig for her coverage of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse &mdash;&nbsp;the question of the specifics of the Grant Park evacuation plan still remains unanswered, as does another that had not occurred to me: Who will cancel or suspend the show and take control of an emergency evacuation if one is needed? Writes Gillers:</p><blockquote><p><em>The written plan is unclear on what would happen if the safety officials and the promoter are in conflict &mdash; a situation that can stifle quick decisions. That type of conflict likely contributed to tragedy in the weather-related collapse of a stage structure last year in Indianapolis.</em></p><p><em>An independent expert who analyzed what happened at the Indiana State Fair, where seven concert-goers were killed, said plans should leave no ambiguity about who makes the final call in an emergency.</em></p><p><em>&ldquo;It is not in the best interest of public safety to have ambiguity about who is responsible for the decision about whether the show should be delayed,&rdquo; said Charlie Fisher of Witt Associates, which conducted an eight-month independent assessment of emergency preparedness by the Indiana State Fair.</em></p><p><em>&ldquo;It should be very clear: &lsquo;This is who is going to make the call,&rsquo; and &lsquo;This is how the call is going to be made.&rsquo;&rdquo;&hellip;</em></p><p><em>Carol Cwiak, assistant professor of emergency management at North Dakota State University, said sometimes cities agree to emergency-weather plans that enlist promoters in decision-making because it makes the city a more attractive place to hold an event.</em></p><p><em>&ldquo;It will limit private-sector partners from wanting to come into those jurisdictions and do events if they feel like their control is removed,&rdquo; she said.</em></p><p><em>But she said cities should be careful when sharing that authority.</em></p><p><em>&ldquo;The promoter has a monetary interest,&rdquo; Cwiak said. &ldquo;They probably want to take care of people as well. But that&#39;s not their primary interest.&rdquo;</em></p><p><em>[Lollapalooza spokeswoman Shelby] Meade said: &ldquo;[Lollapalooza promoter] C3 has no financial incentive to, nor interest in, proceeding with a festival that would endanger fans.&rdquo;</em></p></blockquote><p>Can we really accept that, however, when for the last eight years, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/grant-park-watchdogs-and-lollapalooza-hype-boone-talks-music-and">Lollapalooza has skimped on security and fencing, allowing large crowds of gate-crashers to rush the event &mdash; endangering fans and themselves?</a> The promoters have promised much tighter control of that issue this weekend. But, as with the weather, they have to date simply been lucky that serious injuries have been minimal, many concert professionals and industry watchdogs have said.</p></p> Wed, 01 Aug 2012 10:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-08/tribune-if-severe-weather-hits-fans-lollapalooza-are-screwed-101374 Grant Park watchdogs and Lollapalooza hype; Boone talks music and the Cultural Plan http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/grant-park-watchdogs-and-lollapalooza-hype-boone-talks-music-and <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/1303383825_193dc5d075_z.jpg" style="height: 743px; width: 550px;" title="(Flickr/new1mproved)" /></div><p>As usual in the days leading up to Lollapalooza, which takes place Friday through Sunday in its eighth year in Grant Park, the Chicago media has been in full-on hypemaster mode, with a particular emphasis on repeating promoters&rsquo; claims that there won&rsquo;t be an encore of the trashed grounds that took months to clean up in 2011, or the massive onslaught of freeloaders crashing the gates and trampling everything in their path&mdash;flower beds as well as paying customers.</p><p>Here is <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/13996506-452/here-for-the-long-run-lollapalooza-makes-itself-at-home.html">Thomas Conner</a> and <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/14020080-418/extra-fences-and-security-planned-to-combat-lollapalooza-gate-crashers-and-landscape-damage.html">Fran Spielman</a> in the Sun-Times and <a href="http://chicagoist.com/2012/07/27/expect_extra_fencing_security_at_lo.php">Chuck Sudo in Chicagoist</a>, to cite a few of the many recent stories repeating Texas-based promoters C3 Presents&rsquo; promises of more fencing and security, both to protect the park and to keep the non-paying customers out, complete with Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael Kelly and Bob O&rsquo;Neill of the watchdog group the Grant Park Conservancy cheerfully saying that this year, everything should be swell.</p><p>Stopping the fence-jumpers is no easy task, however. Last year, some of the groups that rushed the gates numbered 75 people or more, overwhelming security, according to this story in <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-08-07/news/chi-packs-of-fencejumpers-rush-lollapalooza-20110807_1_fence-lollapalooza-security-guards">the <em>Tribune</em></a> and numerous other accounts. This created a situation that was unsafe for people inside legitimately, as well as for the uninvited guests scamming/forcing their way in: <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/6925286-418/two-struck-seriously-injured-by-car-outside-lollapalooza.html">At least two were seriously injured in 2011</a> when they were hit by a car while dashing across Lake Shore Drive.</p><p>Security guards who worked the concert&mdash;the majority come from the local company S3 or <a href="http://www.safetyservicesystems.com/">Safety Systems Services</a>, which works for and partially is owned by Chicago concert mainstays Jam Productions&mdash;told me they saw concertgoers trying to climb up the railroad trestle at the southern end of the park near Hutchinson Field (&ldquo;These kids would have broken their necks if they fell!&rdquo;), as well as doing the flash-mob rush at the northern end of the park near the Art Institute.</p><p>None of this was a game: One guard was hit in the head with a bottle as a gate-crasher rushed him, and he suffered a nasty gash. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s only a matter of time before somebody gets killed&mdash;one of them, or one of us,&rdquo; the security staffer said. &ldquo;Grant Park just is too damn big to really secure, and this thing should be taking place somewhere in the middle of nowhere, like Dave Matthews last year.&rdquo;</p><p>Nevertheless, Lollapalooza has a contractual lock on Chicago&rsquo;s front yard&mdash;and not just through 2021, as the Sun-Times reported, but in perpetuity, given that the promoters and the city can extend the new deal annual forever, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/city-releases-lollapalooza-contract-98324">as reported here</a>. And nobody seems to mind, least of all the group that traditionally voiced its objections to anything that took the very public park private, even for a short time.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;ll be much more fencing off of all the areas with sensitive landscaping. Flowers and bushes and things that can get trampled will be protected,&rdquo; Bob O&rsquo;Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy, told the Sun-Times. &ldquo;And there are a lot more precautions being set, much more diligence in auditing the before and after.&rdquo;</p><p>Lest any members of his group or other friends of the park remain skeptical about things, the Grant Park Conservancy Advisory Council is meeting at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at Daley Bicentennial Plaza, 337 E. Randolph, to assuage their fears by answering the questions, &ldquo;How will Lollapalooza be different from last year? How will the park&nbsp;be restored? What are the benefits to Grant Park and Chicago&rsquo;s parks under the new arrangements?&rdquo;</p><p>That last question may be the thorniest, given that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-14/lollapalooza-finally-will-pay-what-it-owes-97309">Lollapalooza for the first time will be paying its full freight on amusement taxes</a>&mdash;to the city, and not to the (now non-existent) Parkways Foundation parks charity. Where will the money go from 2012? Nobody has said for sure yet, but there are many more pressing demands than new flower beds and benches in the midst of a budget crisis.</p><p>Meanwhile, more soothing but none-too-illuminating words are likely to be spoken at another meeting tonight, when Michelle Boone, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and Angel Ysaguirre, her new deputy in charge of arts programming, talk about the much-ballyhooed Cultural Plan, no doubt for the first time being pressed on music therein&mdash;a natural, given that the session is being hosted by Grammy sponsors the Recording Academy (and taking place from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower, 20 E. Chesnut.</p><p>The discussion will be moderated by Chicago music journalist Althea Legaspi, and it&rsquo;s free for Recording Academy members but $25 for the rest of us. <a href="https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGdhTENoRUZjZWxRSjltY3Nlai1ZdXc6MQ">Tickets can be reserved here</a>.</p><p><strong><u>Earlier</u></strong></p><p>April 15: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/new-lollapalooza-deal-blown-opportunity-98257">The New Lollapalooza Deal: A Blown Opportunity</a></p><p>April 17: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-04/city-releases-lollapalooza-contract-98324">City releases Lollapalooza contract</a></p><p>July 16: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/cultural-plan-music-specifics-nonexistent-100949">The Cultural Plan on music: Specifics non-existent</a></p></p> Mon, 30 Jul 2012 12:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/jim-derogatis/2012-07/grant-park-watchdogs-and-lollapalooza-hype-boone-talks-music-and Lollapalooza finally will pay what it owes http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-14/lollapalooza-finally-will-pay-what-it-owes-97309 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-15/Lolla 2_Flickr_EMR.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-15/Lolla%202_Flickr_EMR.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 473px;" title="Lollapalooza promoters have reached a new agreement with Chicago Parks District. (Flickr/EMR)"></p><p>In a tacit admission that Lollapalooza’s original long-term, tax-free deal with the city, crafted in part by Mayor Daley’s nephew Mark Vanecko, was inequitable and possibly corrupt, promoters have reached a new agreement with the Chicago Park District under which they finally will pay all of the city, county and state taxes levied on every other for-profit concert, entertainment and sporting event.</p><p>The economic benefit over the course of the deal—which now will keep Lollapalooza in Grant Park through 2021—will increase to $4.05 million the monies raised from the event by local government this year, up from $2.7 million collected for parks improvements under the old deal last year.</p><p>In addition to the revenues from the previously waived city and county amusement taxes and state liquor taxes, Lollapalooza claims the deal will bring a billion dollars into the local economy over the next 10 years, via income for hotels, restaurants and other businesses, though neither the promoters nor any local governmental body ever has done an economic impact study to verify these alleged anicllary benefts or the negative impact on existing local music businesses. Once again, the Lollapalooza contract is being awarded without any request for proposals being issued and with no consideration of what any competing concert in Grant Park could bring in terms of benefits.</p><p>Here is the story as covered in <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/turnitup/chi-lollapalooza-deal-changed-lollapalooza-and-city-restructure-deal-20120314,0,5868942.column">the <em>Tribune</em></a>, <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/11297164-418/city-extends-lollapalooza-until-2021-but-yanks-tax-breaks.html">the <em>Sun-Times</em></a> and <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20120314/NEWS02/120319863/lollapalooza-to-stay-put-in-chicago-as-ticket-prices-jump">Crain’s <em>Chicago Business</em></a>. Inexplicably—or perhaps not, given the extensive reporting on the old sweetheart deal done by WBEZ—neither this blogger nor anyone at Chicago Public Media received the notification of the new agreement sent to those publications.</p><p>Lollapalooza originally dodged the taxes expected of every other event by partnering with the nonprofit Parkways Foundation. “As Lollapalooza has succeeded and grown over the years, we understand that Parkways’ engagement with the Festival is no longer the best way to ensure that Chicago’s people and their parks benefit from this annual event,” Parkways interim director Jay Terry said in a statement.</p><p>Terry recently replaced Parkways executive director Brenda Palm, a favorite of the Daley family, who saw her salary jump from $62,000 to more than $109,000 a year during the time her organization partnered with Lollapalooza. Parkways was a favored charity organization of the late Maggie Daley.</p><p>Lollapalooza is co-owned by Austin, Tex.-based concert promoters C3 Presents and the Hollywood-based William Morris Endeavor talent agency. The latter is run by Ari Emanuel, brother of the new mayor, which means his administration could have been subject to charges of favoritism if Lollapalooza continued to receive its unprecedented tax waivers. The old tax-free deal was set to run through 2017, but it had become the subject of increasing criticism from public officials struggling with the current budget crises after the inequities in the deal were reported here and in the Sun-Times and attacked in strongly worded editorials in the Tribune.</p><p>“This is a good deal for the city and we felt it is the right thing to do,” C3 executive Charlie Jones said of the new deal in the Tribune. “But it will affect ticket prices. There will be an increase. How much? To be determined. But it’s been keeping me up at night.”</p><p><img alt="Charlie Jones of C3 Presents." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-14/Jones.jpg" style="width: 171px; height: 187px; float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Charlie Jones of C3 Presents.">In the <em>Sun-Times</em>, Jones added: “I don’t think it was necessarily public pressure [that led to the new deal]. It was time to look at a new agreement.” He repeated his comments about the need for an increase in ticket prices, and echoed them to Crain’s as well: “Obviously there’s going to be additional expenses to produce the show this year that make an increase necessary.”</p><p>Last year, Lollapalooza charged $215 for a three-day pass. The two other American music festivals of similar size and scope, Coachella in California and Bonnaroo in Tennessee, both pay all applicable local taxes and, like Lollapalooza, still generate considerable profits after expenses for their owners. A three-day pass to Coachella for 2012 costs $285, while a three-day pass to Bonnaroo costs $259.50 (though the earliest bargain presale price was $209.50).</p><p>Does the new Lollapalooza deal do anything to address Lollapalooza’s infamously restrictive radius clauses that prohibit bands playing on its stages from performing elsewhere in Chicago for a total of nine months before and after the big festival? None of the stories made mention, and presumably other media have not yet scrutinized the new deal for if or how it addresses that issue and others. WBEZ has requested prompt delivery of a copy of the contract under the Freedom of Information Act, but Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner said it does not exist yet, and that today's action by the Park District Board only gives the superintendent authority to enter into the agreement.</p><p>Lollapalooza 2012 takes place from Aug. 3 to 5, and ticket prices and a lineup are expected to be announced on April 9.</p><p><strong><u>EARLIER REPORTS IN THIS BLOG ABOUT LOLLAPALOOZA’S SHENANIGANS</u></strong></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-02-04/lollapalooza-gets-set-spin-96119">Feb. 4, 2012: Lollapalooza gets set to spin</a></p><p><a href="blog/jim-derogatis/2012-02-01/county-lollapalooza-pay-96038">Feb. 1, 2012: County to Lollapalooza: Pay up!</a></p><p><a href="blog/jim-derogatis/2012-02-04/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-01-29/state-rep-probes-lollapalooza-sales-tax-95937">Jan. 29, 2012: State rep probes Lollapalooza sales tax </a></p><p><a href="blog/jim-derogatis/2012-02-04/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-02-01/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-01-23/county-targets-lollapalooza%E2%80%99s-tax-exemption-95730">Jan. 25, 2012: The county targets Lollapalooza's tax exemption</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-09-18/another-pa-lollapalooza-92124" target="_blank">Sept. 18, 2011: Another pass for Lollapalooza: Restoring Grant Park</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-08-08/demand-builds-probe-lolla-sweetheart-deal-90218" target="_blank">Aug. 8, 2011: Demand builds: Probe Lolla sweetheart deal</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-08-02/rahm-city-will-review-lollapalooza-tax-exemption-90008" target="_blank">Aug. 2, 2011: Rahm: City will review Lollapalooza tax question</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-08-01/does-lollapalooza-hort-chicago-89911" target="_blank">Aug. 1, 2011: Does Lollapalooza $hort Chicago?</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-08-02/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-04-07/two-key-differences-between-mega-fests-dave-matthews-caravan-vs-lollap" target="_blank">April 7, 2011: Two key differences between the mega-fests, Dave Matthews Caravan vs. Lollapalooza</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-02-24/dear-rahm-how-quell-fears-about-your-ties-ticketmasterlive-nation-and-" target="_blank">Feb. 24, 2011: Dear Rahm: How to quell fears about your ties to Ticketmaster/Live Nation and Lollapalooza and fix relations with the Chicago music scene</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-02-08/rahm-emanuel-pledges-hands-all-dealings-ticketmasterlive-nation-and-lo" target="_blank">Feb. 7, 2011: Rahm Emanuel pledges hands off all dealings with Ticketmaster/Live Nation and Lollapalooza</a></p><p><a href="http://wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2011-02-07/rahm-emanuel-pal-thuggish-concert-giants-ticketmasterlive-nation-and-l" target="_blank">Feb. 4, 2011: Rahm Emanuel: Pal$ with thuggish concert giants Ticketmaster/Live Nation and Lollapalooza</a></p></p> Thu, 15 Mar 2012 02:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/jim-derogatis/2012-03-14/lollapalooza-finally-will-pay-what-it-owes-97309