[Zell v Wrigleyville turns ugly, really ugly: Rascal Flatts to play Friendly Confines.]
As previously reported here, Alderman Tom Tunney of Chicago’s 44th ward, working with Sam Zell’s Tribune Corporation, already imposed a summer Billy Joel/Elton John concert on the citizens of Wrigleyville without consulting them. This reporter regards the shows as Trib strongarm tactics to force neighbors with rooftop views of Wrigley to pay a fee to the Cubs for selling rooftop seats on game days. That is, pay up, or Joel and John will play. And play LOUD. With some neighbors refusing to pay, and Sam Zell after his money, the conflict escalated with the announced Rascal Flatts date. Locals understandably regard the band as “too much for the community to endure.” The Sun-Time‘s Fran Spielman reports, here:
[This is what Wrigleyville can expect if the vig is not paid.]
The July 18 concert featuring Rascal Flatts would conflict with the group™s seventh annual Summer on Southport Festival, which features live bands on three stages on Southport between Waveland and Grace.
œBased on their agreement in the past to limit concert events to two nights per year, their request has been met. A third — especially on a Saturday night — would be too much for the community to endure on top of a festival. It™s piling on too much for a community already stressed during baseball season, said Jill Peters, president of the Southport Neighbors Association.
œThe July 18 concert will directly compete with our festival. The times are the same. Festivals make money on Saturday night. Our money is used to continue our festival and donate to the community, said Peters. œWe believe that the Cubs should continue to show good faith to the community by canceling the event. We would also like them to adhere to promises made in the past by giving up one night game.
Tunney could not be reached for comment. He already has introduced an ordinance authorizing concerts with an 11 p.m. cutoff on three of five possible dates: July 18, 19, 20, 21 or 22 . Community protections would be similar to those in place during previous concerts by Jimmy Buffett and the Police.
Off-duty police officers would remain on the streets until 2:30 a.m., or three hours after the shows end, whichever is later. Beer and alcohol sales would end at 9:30 p.m.
Sources said the Cubs originally planned to hold two concerts — one with Elton John and Billy Joel, the other with Rascal Flatts — to help the promoter defray set-up costs. By the time John and Joel sold out, creating demand for a second show, Rascal Flatts already had been booked, sources said.