Greek Theatre Vote: Let’s Start Over
Live Nation has been in a battle with the venue’s current operator, Nederlander, after the city’s Board of Recreation & Parks Commissioners requested RFPs for operation of the city-owned Greek Theatre, then recommended Live Nation to take over.
The fight was sent to the city’s Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and River Committee, which voted to “not concur” with the previous decision and recommended Nederlander which, by that time, had partnered with AEG to operate the Greek. Live Nation, in its disappointment at the decision, said that the committee had moved the goal posts.
The city council met Feb. 11 and, after much testimony, a long closed session and a tangential discussion regarding a letter from the city attorney, voted to have Rec & Parks, which covers the Grant Park area where the Greek is situated, reexamine the Request for Proposals. Rec & Parks does not need to entertain the city council’s request.
However, Greek Theatre GM Rena Wasserman said the city council’s vote equated to a “great day for Nederlander and AEG” because it showed the council did not agree with the previous decision. Meanwhile, Live Nation released a statement literally two minutes after the vote that said “the process calls for Recreation and Parks staff to negotiate a contract with Live Nation” – an interpretation rejected by Wasserman.
Throughout this process, city government halls have been packed with representatives of both companies along with community leaders. Some in the community voiced support for Live Nation — like building managers that said LN shows “paid the rent.” Others supported the Nederlander because of its long relationship with the community. Some of the discourse involved a guarantee from Live Nation for 70 shows annually versus AEG/Nederlander’s guarantee of 50, and the millions of dollars each would provide the city if the goals are met, or penalties if they were not. However, the commissioner for the city’s Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and River Committee – who roundly disputed the notion anyone had “moved the goal posts” – said the AEG/Nederlander proposal of 50 showed it was more sensitive to the neighborhood by not oversaturating it with many nights of loud music.