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4 of 5 Taste concerts sold out

Published: Friday, July 5, 2013 7:31 p.m. CDT

(MCT) — If ticket sales are any indication, Taste of Chicago’s rainbow cones and ribs may take a back seat this year to the annual festival’s concert line-up.

Four of the five shows scheduled at the Petrillo Music Shell next week in Grant Park are sold out, with the July 10 headline performance by fun. and Delta Spirit selling out in eight minutes, city officials said.

There were 3,000 tickets available, enough to fill the pavilion, for each show at $25 a pop. The other sold-out acts are: Robin Thicke and Estelle on July 11, The Lone Bellow and Robert Plant on July 12 and Maxi Priest and Jill Scott on July 13.

As of Friday, tickets remained for only one concert: the Sunday, July 14 show, which features The Mowgli’s and Neon Trees, city officials said.

Still, fans won’t be completely shut out of the sold-out shows.

Lawn seats behind the shell, which officials say can hold up to 35,000 spectators comfortably, are free. Large screens will amplify the stage so those sitting far away from it still get to watch the performers, said Mary May, a spokeswoman for the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, which organizes the event.

"It’s a great way to come out, put a blanket down, get some of the Taste food and hang out with your friends and family and then enjoy the concert that evening," May said.

Tickets are moving into music fans’ hands far faster than last year, which was the first time the city charged for admission to the band shell for the shows during the summer food festival. This time last year, nearly two-thirds of the seats remained available for the line-up that included Chicago native Jennifer Hudson. Indie rockers Death Cab for Cutie put on the only sold-out show in 2012, said Chicago’s special events coordinator, Cindy Gatziolis.

City officials are celebrating the concert sell-outs since Taste of Chicago has long been a budget sinkhole for the city, operating at a deficit of more than $2 million in past years.

The star-heavy line up this year, and pre-sale publicity, may have contributed to the sales volume, May said.

"Sometimes it takes a year or two to let things root in," May said.

Taste of Chicago officially kicks off at 11 a.m. July 10 in Grant Park. For a daily schedule of events, visit www.cityofchicago.org/tasteofchicago.

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©2013 the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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