Taste Tix Have Yet To Take Off

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 6, 2012 7:20PM

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A member of Dierks Bentley's band is hurt you won't pay a measly $25 to get up close and personal with him. Photo from his Facebook page.

How could it go wrong? Everyone loves the Taste of Chicago, right? And everyone loves seeing the bands performing there, right? So one can almost understand the reasoning behind the city's desire to charge $25 for previously free premium seating in the Petrillo Band Shell during this year's Taste Of Chicago July 11-15. Well, according to a report by Greg Kot in the Tribune, people aren't exactly rushing to pay for the privilege of sitting slightly closer to musical acts including Jennifer Hudson, Death Cab for Cutie, Michael Franti, Chaka Khan and Dierks Bentley. In fact two-thirds of seating for those shows is still available. This isn't exactly great news for the musical groups performing or the city's coffers.

So what happened? Well, first of all we think the plan to downsize the Taste AND move it from its traditional holiday weekend to mid-July was probably the city's biggest mistake. Following that, the city should have realized that the mostly second-tier (or third- or fifth-tier) musical bookings probably weren't going to bring anybody rushing to get as close to the stage as possible with or without a ticket charge. We personally respect most of the musical acts playing, but outside Hudson and Bentley there are no bona fide superstars performing, and it could even be argued Hudson isn't primarily known as a musician any longer.

Look, we understand the fiscal responsibilities facing the city and are sympathetic with attempts like this to try and bring in a little more cash. But to do so in a year when it's already going to be a challenge to get people to attend The Taste—God, man, there aren't even turkey legs this year!—this might not have been the best time to do so.