The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Intonation Organizers to Chicago: Pretend You’re A Camel

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 13, 2005 12:33PM

UPDATE: Scott Plagenhoef, Managing Editor of Pitchfork, wrote us with the following: "Here is the info on the water situation: The Chicago Park District is providing extra water stations throughout the site. If people wish to purchase water, it will be available at a cost of $1/half-liter."

When asked about restrictions on water at this weekend’s Intonation Festival during WXRT’s Sound Opinions radio program, Intonation Music Festival 2005_07_13_hipstercamel.jpgorganizer and Pitchfork Media head honcho Ryan Schreiber initially suggested anyone planning on going to the fest should “drink as much water in advance and then hope that you’re set” before mulling over a change in the restrictive policy. Or did he? You make the call.

When co-hosts Jim Derogatis and Greg Kot first raised the question of restrictions on water, Schreiber and talent booker Mike Reed initially dodged the question. Derogatis noted that Intonation seemed to be a much more “fan-friendly” event that Lollapalooza and noted “you can only bring two bottles of water to Lollapalooza.” When asked directly by Kot about the water restrictions, Reed stated that city restrictions did not allow any open containers into the festival before noting they “took their cues” from other neighborhood festivals like the recent Folk and Roots Festival put on by the Old Town School of Folk Music.

The issue was raised again later in the broadcast as Dero said he received a call that said “your site [Intonation] says you can’t bring water” and referring listeners to the Intonation website for a list of other restrictions. That comment lead to this exchange:

Ryan Schreiber: You have to drink as much water in advance and then hope that you’re set.
Mike Reed: Should we change it? Should people be able to bring in some camped water? (laughing)
Ryan Schreiber: I’ll do it!

Now we’re really confused.

More thoughts plus a transcript and MP3 of last night's interview after the jump.

If Intonation organizers are taking their cues from the Folk and Roots Festival, they might note the restrictions listed in the Old Town FAQ that state no “coolers, glass bottles or cans” are allowed in the park. No mention there of disposable plastic water bottles. While prohibitions against open (or closed) containers of alcohol are understandable, no such restrictions about open (or closed) containers of water, juice, etc. are in place at other city events such as the Chicago Outdoor Movie Festival in Grant Park. Even U.S Cellular Field allows you to bring in one liter-sized closed container of water!

The restrictions in place for Intonation fly in the face of Dero’s assertion that the festival is “fan-friendly” especially in light of Lolla’s two-bottle allowance. Chicagoist isn’t questioning Intonation’s right to make money on this event (though no mention was ever made during last night’s broadcast of any water vendors at Intonation). We hope they make tons of dough so they can keep bringing this fest back year after year. But with forecasted temps in the 80s and 90s for this weekend and no re-entry privileges, one has to wonder if organizers have created a truly “fan-friendly” event. In fact, it’s the one detail that keeps the fest from looking letter-perfect right from the word Go (-Team).

But maybe we’re getting all worked up over nothing. Schreiber’s remark has us wondering if he’s re-considering this rule in light of comments in recent days. We certainly hope so.

Below is a partial transcript of comments made by Sound Opinions co-hosts Jim Derogatis and Greg Kot and their guests, Intonation organizers Ryan Schreiber and Mike Reed. Click here to download an MP3 of this portion of the broadcast.

Derogatis: I was impressed by how fan-friendly...I mean, not only are you getting tremendous bang for your buck ‘cause now it’s going to be $15 a day, right? At the door? But if you compare...if you go to the Lollapalooza website and go to the Intonation website and you compare the list of restrictions at Grant Park. You know, you can only bring two bottles of water to Lollapalooza and you can bring no other food substance, no other anything. No nothing. Right? On and on and on. They’ve got three screens full of things you can’t do in this public park. You guys are like “Bring the kids, bring a lawn chair if you want. You know, nothing too big."
Kot: You actually can bring the kids to Lollapalooza but I’m curious about like the water and bringing in beverages. I know that there was a lot of people e-mailing me about that kind of information. So what can you bring in to the Festival?
Mike Reed: OK, I may be slightly not as informed—there’s many people working on our festival, so that may not be my area of expertise. As far as I know, I don’t think you can bring any open containers into the festival. No large bags. If you bring a knapsack, that’s fine. And yeah if you want to bring like small folding chairs and stuff like that…um, a lot of the ideas that we were kind of working off of originally was based, at first, among the sort of neighborhood festivals that happen in the city. We were just trying to see what we could do and be more creative about that. You know, like last weekend the Old Town School had their festival which we kind of think is a really great city neighborhood festival and so we took cues from that.
Derogatis: We did get a call that said “Your site says you can’t bring water.” Now I was just writing about it the other day and I thought you could…so check the Intonation website…
Ryan Schreiber: You have to drink as much water in advance and then hope that you’re set.
Derogatis: It just struck me that the rules, which are posted on the web, are much more casual.
Mike Reed: Should we change it? Should people be able to bring in some camped water? (laughing)
Ryan Schreiber: I’ll do it!
Derogatis: I was trying to make the point that the whole Lollapalooza restrictions seems designed to sell as much crap, while you’re in Grant Park, as possible. And the Intonation seems to be about the music. And a fairly more comfortable situation.
Mike Reed: Well, that was the thing. We definitely could have increased our ticket prices.
Derogatis: Although you guys have your share of corporate sponsors at this thing.
Mike Reed: Of course we do. These days you can’t pull of an event like this without them...they want to be out there in front of people as much as anybody.

(Damn shame that one of those sponsors wasn’t Dasani).