End Of Tax Exemptions To Result In Higher Lollapalooza Ticket Prices

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.

  • Joe

    They should take the event and the $20 million it generates and simply move it to Indiana or Wisconsin. Illinois just couldn’t leave well enough alone!

  • GO Southside

    though I never attended this party. I agree with Joe. We are going to be tax to death. I thought there was an amusement tax past back in the early 2000’s and now this.
    I hate those Cheese heads but I still for vote for Mil,Wisonsin is way better suited to host this fest with summerfest grounds.

    Thanks Rahm.

  • JD

    Think about it though…Grant Park was destroyed last year, and because Lolla paid no taxes, they personally shelled out the money to rebuild the grounds. Now that they feel like they are “paying,” will that still be the case? Or will the city actually lose money because it needs to do the restorations? It is such a great cultural event to have.

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