Illinois Attorney General's Office Investigating Lollapalooza's Blackout Policies



On his new blog, former Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis broke some interesting news: Lollapalooza's sponsor, C3 Presents, and their partners are being investigated by the office of the Illinois Attorney General for what DeRogatis terms "anti-trust issues stemming from the radius clauses that the Austin, Texas-based concert promoters impose on all of the artists who play the giant, three-day concert in Grant Park."

What that means is that bands aren't allowed to play in Chicago for a certain amount of time before and after Lollapalooza; this is known as a "blackout" in the touring industry. The argument against the blackout is that this is hurting Chicago clubs and venues, who have lost touring business because of it. In addition to the local ban, however, bands also apparently aren't allowed to play shows within a certain number of miles before and after Lolla either -- which is where the "radius" part comes in. Says DeRo:

The controversial radius clauses prohibit Lollapalooza acts ranging from the top headliners to the smallest "baby bands" at the bottom of the bill from playing anywhere else in the Chicago area for months before and after their appearance at Lollapalooza in August. Sources have said that the most extreme of these clauses stretch from six months before Lollapalooza to three months after it, and that they encompass a 300-mile radius--which would include concert markets as far away as Milwaukee, Madison, Iowa City, Detroit, and Indianapolis.

This part was news to me -- mainly because in St. Louis, we always get a ton of Lolla spillover before and after. This year is no different:

WarPaint, Javelin, Gogol Bordello, Phoenix, Neon Trees, Toro Y Moi and Deer Tick are among the Lolla performers playing here around the early August event.

Now, I also know that Chicago is right around 300 miles from St. Louis, so I was curious why this radius hasn't affected us. But lo and behold, when you map the address of Millennium Park (where Grant Park actually is) to St. Louis, the distance is 301 miles.

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For once, our location is a positive! DeRo's blogpost smartly breaks down typical concert protocol; it's worth a read for anyone curious about the nuts and bolts of touring.