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End Of Tax Exemptions To Result In Higher Lollapalooza Ticket Prices

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Lollapalooza

The 2011 Lollapalooza festival in Grant Park. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Fans anticipating Lollapalooza 2012 in Grant Park could face sticker shock at the gate.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Keith Johnson reports, the operators of Lollapalooza have a new deal with the Chicago Park District, into which they are locked until 2021.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Keith Johnson reports

But an article by Greg Kot in the Chicago Tribune says the promoters will be required to shell out millions in annual city and county amusement taxes and state liquor taxes for the first time.

Charlie Jones of Austin, Texas-based promoter C3 Presents tells the Tribune the changes have been in the works for a while, and they will affect ticket prices. How much, he cannot or will not say.

But Jones does tell the Tribune the issue keeps him up at night.

The deal to keep Lollapalooza in Grant Park also requires promoters to contribute $1.5 million per year to park improvements, the Tribune reported.

Previously, Lollapalooza had paid to contribute to park improvements, but had not paid city, county or state taxes. The festival lost money its first three years in Chicago, Jones told the Tribune.

Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer (D-10th) proposed earlier this year that the tax exemptions come to an end.

Gainer said, when Lollapalooza first came to town, it made sense to give the festival a tax break because nothing like it had been tried here. But now, the event brings in $20 million. The tax break cost the county $350,000 last year.

“The county needs the money,” Gainer said in late January. “I mean, when we look at what just the $350,000 could do from this amusement tax, that could hire 150 kids this summer to have a summer job – maybe their first experience with working. So this isn’t just some philosophical change. These are real things that have impacts on people’s lives.”

Under the new deal, local governments will see a minimum of $5.3 in new revenues from Lollapalooza by 2021, the Tribune reported.

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