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Southeast Side Music Venue Prepped For Dave Matthews Concert

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The Dave Matthews Band will play at this Chicago lakefront venue early next month. (CBS)

The Dave Matthews Band will play at this Chicago lakefront venue early next month. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s Chicago’s newest and most unlikely concert venue: the site of the old U.S. Steel plant on Chicago’s southeast side.

It’s been deserted for a long time, but it’s soon to be filled with people and big-name bands.

But as CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, some people aren’t jumping on the bandwagon.

Like it or not, the three-day concert event, the Dave Matthews Band Caravan, will kick off in eight days.

A lot of plans for retail, residential and recreation are on paper. But Neil Bosanko, the head of the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce, is thrilled that tens of thousands of concert-goers are actually coming next week to a long-deserted site about the size of the Loop.

“Finally there’s a spotlight on the southeast side in a positive spotlight,” Bosanko says. “It is nothing but a beautiful vacant parcel right on the lakefront and riverfront, and it’s going to prove to be a jewel.”

Bosanko says a temporary bicycling velodrome just breaking ground next door to the concert site shows there’s interest in the area.

“Even the interim facility will have a chance to attract riders from Michigan, riders from Indiana, from Ohio,” Emanuele Bianchi said.

Bianchi says a permanent velodrome on par with United Center breaks ground in August.

But it’s the concert that had neighbors abuzz this week.

Crews were putting wood chips on the ground and getting ready to prepare three main stages.

Resident Arselia Ben sees the event as a positive for the neighborhood, but next door, Joe Costello sees it differently. He’s worried about crowds, parking and alcohol sales.

Costello says he doesn’t see a weekend concert as leading to any real progress.

But if it goes well, more will be staged.

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