Music to Highland Park's ears | Bleader

Music to Highland Park's ears

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Highland Park has long grumbled that its resident treasure, the Ravinia Festival, has a downside that costs the city money for things like road and parking lot maintenance--complaints that the Festival seemed to meet with a deaf ear. But when city officials recently threatened to resort to an amusement tax on Ravinia tickets, the message came through loud and clear. Under a 10-year agreement signed last week, Highland Park will receive a "municipal admissions fee" of five percent of the Festival's gross ticket sales. Based on last year's gate of nearly $15 million, that could mean about $750,000 for the city in 2009. Expect to see the fee affect pop concert prices disproportionately, since there will be no increase in prices for Chicago Symphony Orchestra events--lawn admission for the CSO will remain $10. It's curtains, however, for the YEA! Highland Park concert, an annual end-of-the-season benefit that raised $254,000 last year for local youth, art, and education activities. Instead, the festival will donate 300 tickets for a tented YEA fundraiser at one of its scheduled concerts. The city's also promising to donate an unspecified portion of its new bounty to YEA.

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