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Lollapalooza promoter subpoenaed in antitrust investigation

on June 24, 2010, 7:39pm

The easiest way to tell if a band is playing Lollapalooza is by looking if they’re playing Chicago in the months proceeding or immediately following the festival. If not, then, pending an appearance at Chicago’s other, more hipster music festival, it’s pretty likely that said band is playing Lollapalooza. That’s because the festival and its main promoter, C3 Presents, have a pretty well-known radius clause that prevents scheduled acts from playing anywhere else in the immediate vicinity — aka within 300 miles — from three to six months before or after the festival takes place.

It turns out, however, that not everyone is a fan of the clause, most specifically the independent club owners and promoters in Chicago and other nearby markets — which include places as far as Milwaukee, Detroit, and Indianapolis. According to Vocalo.org’s Jim DeRogatis, their complaints have caught the attention of the city of Chicago, which is now investigating C3 Presents and Lollapalooza for anti-trust issues stemming from these radius clauses.

Many club owners and promoters argue that C3’s radius clause dramatically hampers their business for much of the year, while C3 counters by noting that they are common practice used in the industry, and that the company is willing to waive these clauses when asked by artists. DeRogatis does point out that due to the sheer volume of artists and its dependency on the entire bill and not just one act to sell tickets, Lollapalooza has some of the largest and longest radius clauses in the business.

It is not known what repercussions C3 Presents and Lollapalooza may face if found in violation of anti-trust laws. It should also be noted the city and the festival signed a 10 year deal in 2008, extending Lollapalooza as an annual summer event in the city’s Grant Park until at least 2018.

This year’s Lollapalooza is set to take place from August 6-8 and will feature Green Day, Lady Gaga, Soundgarden, The Strokes, and Arcade Fire among others.

Full disclosure: Consequence of Sound is an editorial partner of C3 Presents and Lollapalooza.

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