After efforts to privatize and charge admission for the Taste of Chicago failed, the Park District will now take over the Taste, and the major (and expensive) music headliners will be eliminated. It’s really a return to the festival’s roots, as I pointed out the other day. The city was left a choice between the old Taste of Chicago and the old ChicagoFest, and it chose the former; among the options for Taste entertainment is the Grant Park Orchestra, which anchored the first versions of the Taste.
I expect there will be some disappointment, but then again we won’t be subsidizing performances of "Drops of Jupiter" ever again, or at least for awhile. If I was king, I would have Robbie Fulks curate the usually pretty forgettable Country Music Fest (Jewel?) in much the same way drummer Mike Reed curates Pitchfork and Downtown Sound, and make it a little more modest and interesting. I’ll even throw in a suggestion: recent Thrill Jockey signees the Black Twig Pickers, a fine old-time music* trio from around where I grew up and whom I’ve been enjoying recently.
* Old-time as distinct from bluegrass: less showy, more danceable.