No Radiohead In The Park

Chicago officials said late last year they want to stage more concerts in the city’s parks this summer, but one of them won’t be Radiohead – at least not in Millennium Park in June as hoped.

Sources close to the band told the Chicago Sun-Times Radiohead hoped to play Chicago June 19-20, though an official tour itinerary has yet to be released.

But the city’s Cultural Affairs Department that oversees programming at Millennium Park rejected the band’s offer to play there, including a $100,000 rental fee, because the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra plans to hold a rehearsal there June 20th.

Radiohead pulled off a well-received and financially successful show at Grant Park’s Hutchinson Field in 2001, but Chicago officials have been reluctant to book more rock acts there because of noise complaints from a handful of nearby residents, according to the paper.

Tim Mitchell, the city’s new Park District superintendent, has reportedly indicated a willingness to stage more rock shows at Grant Park after last summer’s Lollapalooza generated more than $2 million.

But the Cultural Affairs Department’s mission to stage free public events puts it at odds with the parks department, in this case.

“Free public programming is part of the venue’s mission,” Millennium Park spokeswoman Karen Ryan told the Sun-Times, adding that the orchestra can’t move its rehearsal because it needs to use 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 said.

Yet the Cultural Affairs Department has embraced other private events at Millennium Park, including a Toyota corporate event for which the car maker paid about $800,000 to close the park. Jam Productions also staged a paid Tori Amos concert the same month at the park, which drew criticism from watchdog groups but also praise for generating revenue.

A spokesman for Jam, which hoped to promote the proposed Radiohead gig, wasn’t available for comment.