Daley: Taste Of Chicago About Food, Not Music

CHICAGO (STMW) — Taste of Chicago can reverse huge losses without charging an admission fee — and even turn a profit — by focusing exclusively on food, Mayor Daley said Tuesday.

“What we’re trying to do is make the Taste of Chicago get back to … the Taste of Chicago — not all the other things around it. We’re trying to get it back to what it was originally. It’s a Taste of Chicago. That’s what we’re trying to rebuild without costing you or taxpayers more money,” Daley said.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

“Originally, we never had an admission fee. … The cost [escalated]. All the musicals got so costly that they put money into the musicals forgetting it’s Taste of Chicago. It’s not a music fest.”

Pressed on whether the Taste would be food alone, without any music, Daley said, “Yes. That’s what you do because it was always free. It will always be free.”

Last week, Daley’s plan to privatize the Taste and six other lakefront festivals to stem $7 million in losses over the last three years fell flat on its face.

City Hall rejected a lone bidder’s revised proposal to charge a $10 admission fee to the Taste.

Celebrate Chicago LLC had initially proposed a $20 entrance fee with $10 rebated to patrons in the form of food and beverage tickets. The proposed fee was cut in half to appease Daley, but it was not enough.

The partnership included the Illinois Restaurant Association and two of the biggest names in live entertainment: JAM Productions and AEG Live.

Asked whether the city now intends to go it alone, Daley said, “No, no, no. … The cost of government goes up. … Not-for-profits, other institutions can manage it much better. Government has a difficult [time] … Government can’t do everything you want it to do. … That’s why you have partnerships with non-for-profits and profit organizations.”

The Illinois Restaurant Association — run by Sheila O’Grady, Daley’s longest-serving chief-of-staff — has managed the event’s food and beverage operations for the last 27 years.

It was not clear whether the partnership Daley envisions going forward would revive that agreement.

O’Grady could not be reached for comment.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • William Klawitter

    I agree. It should be the “TASTE” of Chicago not the MUSIC of whatever.

  • eric

    basically making it boring..god i hate this dude and cant wait until he leaves. how’s that parking meter deal working out?

    • DWH

      Then don’t go. I’m sure they really won’t miss you.

    • Smooth

      Boring? Without music , people don’t have to pay the charge. What part is difficult for you to understand about the position of Daly on this?
      The meter deal is not the issue here!!!!

  • James Watkins

    The concept of Taste of Chicago was Chicago restaurants with some Chicago musicians/bands performing daily. The bigger is better attitude is what has almost ended this wonderful event, and can continue for years to come. And Eric if it is “boring” to you please feel free to spend at least $100 a person for top entertainment, there are many here in Chicago.

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  • helptown

    the taste was fun at one time but became crazy. they need to open the taste to ventor for the surrounding towns and suburbs to help bring in the revenue to the city.

  • Dan Rakow

    I’ll take Food over Music at Taste Of Chicago.

    For Music Fans Naperville Ribfest would be a very good alterantive July 1st-July 4th.

  • Alan

    I have to agree with mayor Daley on this one, Taste of Chicago is about Food not music. Chicago could learn well from our experiance with Taste of Minnesota, after they started charging admission things went down hill quiickly, so now we wont be having the the event again anytime soon. Just read the comments left by those who attended lastt years event.


  • good citizen of chicago

    go ahead charge everybody.you’ll see how many people will show up.stupid idea.it’s a food festival to show case our best restaurants.

  • tc

    you folks are mistaken. it is about the music. many people come for the entertainment and eat the overpriceed food because it’s there.


    let all the “FOODIES” go to the taste to get “Taste Of Chicago” give me a break… what ? sausage? beef sanggies ? pizza? Choco covered strawberrys ? Ya, that above and beyond and worht the trip into the city w/ NO MUSIC line up… NOT!!! Everybody knows Milwaukee Fest not more that 2 hours drive north is and always will be by far the better summer / 4th o july all around FOOD & MUSIC place to be….. check out the music line up’s for the past 15-20 yrs at milwaukee fest , it a HUGE embarrassment for chicago! it kills me to write this being a life long chicagoian but it is what it is….. c u up N in July !!!!

  • Alison

    I’ve lived in Chicago all my life. In 1985 I walked over to the Taste with some of my co-workers. We were all dressed in office attire. While at the Taste there were no benches to sit at and have our lunch. While walking through the Taste (in 1985), I had 2 beers dumped on me (accidentally) and a baby stroller was pushed into my heel. I went back to work smelling like beer and had a bloody foot. That was my 1st and last experience at the Taste of Chicago. LOL!

  • Jbuck

    I want food & I want music. Local talent only is fine. Chicago has talent! You don’t have to break the bank. The good local bands will come I promise you.

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