CHICAGO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Chicago-based Jam Productions has been tapped to produce a concert celebrating the inauguration of incoming Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel.
According to Chicago music blogger Jim DeRogatis, the May 14th concert will be free and staged in Grant Park, headlined appropriately enough by the band Chicago.
While the 'optics' of choosing a hometown promoter seems like a politically savvy move, some observers were surprised by the choice of Jam over some of their competitors. Emanuel, formerly Barack Obama's chief of staff has deep connections to the music industry. His brother Ari is currently the head of William Morris Endeavor (WME) and serves as the basis for the hard-nosed and high-powered talent agent Ari Gold in the HBO dramedy 'Entourage.' Ari serves on the board of Live Nation and WME also owns a 50% stake in the Lollapalooza festival with Austin-based promoter C3 Presents.
DeRogatis also detailed the financial support Emanuel received during his mayoral campaign from industry figures such as Live Nation's Irving Azoff ($10,000) and Michael Rapino ($5,000) and 15 WME employees, who forked over a combined $140,000, while C3 was in negotiations for a tax and competition free deal to stage Lollapalooza in Grant Park until 2018.
A spokesman for Rahm Emanuel was quick to point out that Rahm had distanced himself from the negotiations, telling DeRogatis that "Given his brother’s position at WME and on the board of Live Nation, Rahm would ask the City Council to appoint an outside negotiator to handle any negotiations with these companies so that there wasn’t even a question of favoritism." – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers