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Monday, July 15, 2013

The Chicago Street Fest "Donation"

"You do not have to pay to go to a Chicago Street Festival."

This seemingly innocent observation has the tendency to anger people to the point outrage. Some people believe that not paying is a form a stealing, others think that not paying is immoral, but the voluntary act of donating money (rather than paying money) is the law in Chicago for good reasons.

The regulation states:

"No fee may be charged for admission to the public way in connection with any special event. A financial donation may be requested. Signs must be posted at all of the entry points that clearly state that the donation is voluntary. Donation collection points must be clearly outlined on your site plan."
Why is this topic always controversial? People expect that to get something that you have to give, and that this payment is made in cold hard cash. Yet with Fests, people have already paid for the burden or the reward that Fests place upon the community. With each event there is risk that is unaccounted for by the event's insurance, and shifted to the community. Like living over a nightclub, by an airport, or in a college-town, there is not only a greater use of the property, but issues with noise, vandalism, parking, disabled access, crimes (like trespassing, theft, fraud etc.), and transportation. The regulations and the accompanying Special Events Resource Guide, highlight many of these concerns. For many residents, it is like their 16 year old daughter decided to invite Joe Francis and 10,000 of his friends to their house for a "get together". For others, if they are included in the fest, it is a opportunity to get their name out and create satisfied customers in a struggling community and try to make some money.

Yet, whether people view this as positive or negative, it is unclear where the money goes in quite a bit of these fests. Ironically the very people who may believe in donating money for social change don't realize that their money isn't creating the desired effect when giving money at street fests.

Simply, if you seek to support a cause, know what you are supporting.

So we suggest doing something a bit different. Save your cash when going into a street fest if you are motivated by the cause of the non-profits or really want to give. You can always give on the way out. You can always take a look at the non-profits and give more or be involved. If you want to support the fest and the community cut out the middleman, clean up the neighborhood, spend money at businesses you love, and care about your neighbors.

We know business, consumers, and employees at Love & Yeggy. Let us help you sort out effective ways to encourage healthy legal relationships.