In the summer of 2001, Radiohead played one of the greatest and most memorable shows of their career (according to die hard fans and the band itself) in Grant Park, on Chicago's beautiful lake front. I was at that show and despite temperatures in excess of 100 degrees, watching Radiohead perform in the majestic setting - the classically-inspired architecture of the Field Museum to the South, the skyline of the city to the West and North and Lake Michigan to the East - was a sight to behold.
Radiohead are set to release their seventh studio album later this year and hoped to perform at the Frank Gery-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion in the new, $475 million Millennium Park on June 19 and 20. However, despite a pledge to bring more popular music to the park, Chicago's cultural affairs dept. rejected Radiohead's bid to perform at the venue. Why? Well, even though Radiohead would have paid rental fees upwards of $100,000, the city nixed the idea because the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra is scheduled to hold a rehearsal on June 20. A rehearsal!
A spokeswoman for the park said, "free public programming is part of the venue's mission," and continued to say that the orchestra could not move because it needs its own sound system. "We have to support organizations such as the Grant Park Orchestra, but we're open to other events if there are availabilities at other times," she told the Chicago Sun-Times before eating the brains of an innocent kitty cat. Her name is Karen Ryan and you can email her here.
Apparently that mantra wasn't in existence when Toyota paid $800,000 last year for a private corporate event which closed the entire park to the public.
I'm calling shenanigans on the Cultural Affairs Dept. Get your heads out of your stuffy butts and allow one of the greatest, most forward-thinking and creative groups of men on the planet to bring their music and energy to the city of Chicago. You should be thanking them for considering that venue, enjoying the revenue it will bring in and bending over backwards to make it happen. If you don't straighten this out ASAP, I will personally pee on every tree in Millennium park and invite all my pals to do the same.