Park District proposes lawn seating for 22,000 at Northerly Island concert venue
BY MITCH DUDEK Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org March 18, 2013 11:28PM
Northerly Island | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times file photo
Updated: March 19, 2013 7:49AM
The concert venue at Northerly Island could take on a “Ravinia-type feel” if Chicago Park District plans are approved this week to create lawn seating that would accommodate 22,000 people.
The city’s Plan Commission is scheduled to vote on the project Thursday.
Under the proposed plan, the stage at Charter One Pavilion, which faces east, would be shifted to face south and a series of speakers would extend out from the stage through 5.8 acres of newly landscaped grassy fields.
The plan also calls for increasing pavilion seating by 600 to a total of 8,600, according to Bob O’Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy and Advisory Council. The pavilion seating would be reconfigured so it would not block the view of the stage for folks sitting on the lawn, he said.
The projects would cost about $3 million.
Construction could begin this spring and the first two or three concerts using the lawn could be held this summer.
The projects would be funded by the Live Nation entertainment company.
The additional concertgoers would double the Park District’s yearly revenue from the venue to an estimated $2 million. The money would support the nature programs in the park and go toward new projects, such as a pedestrian bridge across Burnham Harbor to Northerly Island.
A temporary fence would be erected during concerts, O’Neill said. The grassy field would otherwise be free and open to the public.
O’Neill compared the idea to the Ravinia concert venue in Highland Park, but he wasn’t sure whether music fans would be allowed to bring their own food and drinks, as they may at Ravinia.