The mission of CIVL is to advocate
on behalf of Chicago's independent performance venues.

CIVL acts to secure the long-term future of these and other venues for the benefit of our communities and emerging artists. Member venues have played a crucial role in the development of Chicago’s music over the last 50 years by nurturing local, national and international talent, and providing a platform for these artists to build their careers and develop their music. Chicago's independent venues provide thousands of jobs, as well as millions of dollars in salaries, revenues, charitable donations and taxes. CIVL strives to gain recognition for the essential role these venues have played in defining the music culture as it exists in Chicago today.


ArtsSpace Program

2020 INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS PROGRAM (IAP) GRANTS The Individual Artist Program aims to support Chicago’s practicing artists in creating work that develops their craft and elevates their careers while adding to the cultural vitality of the City." Deadline to submit is December 5th!


We are pleased to honor CIVL for going above and beyond the call of duty to stand alongside park activists in the fight for an appropriate riverside redevelopment on the old North Branch Industrial Corridor.

While former Mayor Rahm Emanuel worked to ram Sterling Bay’s Lincoln Yards through TIF district approval before leaving office, these small music club owners banded together with each other to fight the proposed riverfront sports stadium/concert venue as well as alongside those of us fighting for the North Branch Park and Preserve concept. Their willingness to look far beyond their immediate interests to stand together with the TIF Equity Coalition trying to slow down the Lincoln Yards “done deal” in favor of a more thoroughly vetted process and publicly-accountable project is not to be overlooked.

Image courtesy of The Chicago Tribune

Image courtesy of The Chicago Tribune


Get Informed

In 2018, Sterling Bay development company and Live Nation entertainment and ticketing mega-corporation announced a massive entertainment complex within the proposed Lincoln Yards development — along the Chicago River between Lincoln Park and Bucktown. The project would include multiple live music venues to be owned and operated exclusively by Live Nation.

Owners of 14 independent venues formed CIVL, the Chicago Independent Venue League. We are not against competition — CIVL members have been competing with one another for decades.

Sterling Bay wants Chicago taxpayers to provide $800 million in TIF funding to pay for the infrastructure for their Lincoln Yards project. 

We are not opposed to responsible development that is done with community input. We are simply asking the city to slow down and do the proper vetting necessary for a project of this size. Delay the TIF until the next mayor and City Council take office.

Read details of CIVL’s position in Our Letter to the Citizens of Chicago.

Here are the latest news reports covering the Lincoln Yards project:

WTTW News: Growing List of Aldermen Speak Out Against Lincoln Yards Development

Chicago Reader: How Rahm plans to spend the $1.3 billion in TIF tax dollars he’s giving to Lincoln Yards 

Chicago Sun-Times: Plan Commission accused of ‘rubber-stamping’ $6 billion Lincoln Yards project
”Our City Council process is in turmoil,” said Ald. Michele Smith (43rd), whose ward borders the 55-acre Lincoln Yards site that runs along the Chicago River in Lincoln Park and Bucktown.

“I respectfully ask this Plan Commission to delay the vote on this project for the sake of your reputation, for the sake of good urban planning and to demonstrate that we have good government that the public can trust.”

Chicago Sun-Times: Aldermanic hopeful, citing Solis connection, says hold off on South Loop project
Forbes: The Billionaire Banker in the Shadows
Chicago Tribune: Third time not the charm for Lincoln Yards plan. It still needs work despite alderman's hasty approval
Block Club Chicago: The Rich Get Richer’: Will Public Money For Projects Like Lincoln Yards Deepen Racial And Economic Inequity In Chicago?
Street’s Blog Chicago: How the Lincoln Yards Development Could Impact Chicago Transportation
The Chicago Reporter: Lincoln Yards and the ‘lords’ of Chicago
Chicago Tribune: Chicago corruption and the race for mayor
WBEZ: Chicago Plan Commission Approves $6 Billion Lincoln Yards Proposal
Crain’s Chicago Business: The end of the Chicago Way

(Aerial photo by Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune. Rendering from North Branch Park & Nature Preserve.)  An image of Lincoln Yards (foreground) made by open-space advocates depicts the sharp change in height and bulk the development would bring to west Lincoln Park.

(Aerial photo by Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune. Rendering from North Branch Park & Nature Preserve.)

An image of Lincoln Yards (foreground) made by open-space advocates depicts the sharp change in height and bulk the development would bring to west Lincoln Park.