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Park District special events support Chicago’s economy and generates $21 million in permit revenue invested back to maintain park programs affordable for families across the city
 

The Chicago Park District announces the beginning of the special events summer season in parks citywide with the Sueños Music Festival in Grant Park. Popular music festivals like this weekend’s sold-out Sueños Music Festival, Lollapalooza, NASCAR Chicago Street Race, and Pitchfork Music Festival are some of the most sought out tickets of the season, and make Chicago the perfect destination for entertainment experiences. These events, among others, not only put Chicago on the map, and support Chicago’s bustling economy, but equally as important, the permit revenue collected from each event has a direct impact on neighborhood parks and programs.

In 2024, the total permit revenue is projected at $21 million, half of which is generated by large events. Large permitted events host 10,000 or more guests. The millions of dollars in permit revenue generated from each event directly supports parks and programs citywide, and allows the Park District to offer programs for free and/or at an affordable cost to our Chicago residents.
 
“Park events bring vibrancy to every Chicago neighborhood and we are mindful to support inclusive projects that foster healthy experiences for all Chicagoans and visitors but most importantly bolster opportunities for communities in need,” said Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO, Rosa Escareño. “Working with community we are devising innovative practices that benefit neighborhood parks by investing revenues right back into local parks so that local residents, and park visitors citywide will benefit.”
 
Special events, large and small, take place throughout the city. Last year, the Park District launched a new initiative aimed at reinvesting revenue funds directly back to the parks that host special events with 3,000 or more attendees. Parks hosting multi-day events with 3,000 or more guests, will receive a direct re-investment of 10 percent of the permit fees collected from event organizers in addition to general capital dollars and park restoration fees to fund capital improvements at the local host park.  
 
The amount will be capped at $100,000 per event. Community residents are encouraged to provide suggestions for capital improvements using the form on our website located at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/capital-improvement-plan-suggestions

Communities will also be invited to engagement opportunities where they will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the potential capital improvement projects. Large events are only a small portion of the hundreds of smaller permitted events that bring vibrancy into every Chicago neighborhood and it is this combination that creates fun and safe events throughout the entire city.

In addition to large special events, parks citywide will host community-based entertainment events that make our parks hubs of activity.

“We are especially proud that hundreds of communities events, especially smaller and mid-size events, that enrich our neighborhoods with music, dancing, and entertainment. These events infuse joy into every community and will bring families together in our parks this summer,” said Escareño.