Tickets are on sale for concert seating and fancy meals at this summer's Taste of Chicago, and as in years past Mayor Rahm Emanuel's move to make some money for the city on Chicago's long-free midsummer extravaganza also will benefit a private ticket vendor.
Ticketweb will collect $3 for every ticket sold to the five shows at the Taste and the snazzy $45 daily “chef du jour” meal now offered, plus another 2.5 percent credit card charge based on the price of the ticket, according to Mary May, spokeswoman for the city Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. The tickets will only be available to purchase with credit cards.
The Emanuel administration, however, will not move forward this year with a plan to charge concert attendees for up to 3,000 lawn seats at the Petrillo Music Shell in addition to the reserved seats near the stage. Aldermen had given City Hall the power to do so earlier this year.
“The ordinance in February simply gave us that authority and was intended to give the Taste more flexibility to meet consumer demand at various price levels,” May said in an email.
Tickets for the three highest profile concerts — Janelle Monae and Gary Clark Jr., Nickel Creek and Emmylou Harris, and Jeff Tweedy and Lucinda Williams — are $25 for general admission and $50 for “premium seating,” according to the Ticketweb site. General admission tickets are $18 for the AWOLNATION concert and $20 for the Aloe Blacc show.
In 2013, Ticketweb made $51,539 for administering Taste ticket sales based on the same fee structure, May said. Groupon handled ticket sales for Taste in 2012 and was paid about $16,900 based on a flat $2 fee per ticket sold, she said.
The city farms out the service because it does not have its own ticket-selling platform, May said.
“To build it would be cost prohibitive because we only use this technology once a year,” she said in an email.
Taste runs from July 9 to July 13.
Emanuel instituted the charge for concert tickets to the traditionally egalitarian festival in 2012 to try to make Taste profitable after years in the red. Taste lost $1.3 million in 2012, but turned a slight profit in 2013, according to the city.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun