Austin-based C3 Presents continues to expand its Chicago presence with a new exclusive, multi-year booking agreement with the Congress Theatre, a 4,200-seater that has been an open room in the past. The deal is effective immediately.

It's the latest in a series of significant moves for C3, owned by partners Charles Attal, Charlie Walker, and Charlie Jones. Earlier this year C3 announced a deal to book talent for some 20 Harrah's casino properties throughout the country, and more recently a partnership with SMG to bring events to Chicago's Soldier Field.

C3 produces the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, and the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin, and recently shelved until 2009 a new festival launch in Vineland, N.J.

The C3/Congress deal is important in a market historically dominated by Chicago-based Jam Productions and Live Nation, with the latter having been more active in presenting shows at the Congress.

"This is our first step into mid-sized venues outside Stubb's in Austin and the casinos," Walker tells Billboard.biz. "We're going to continue to expand our booking presence via real estate wherever these opportunities arise."

The musical menu at the Congress will include rock, hip-hop, jazz, country, R&B and blues -- "a little bit of everything," according to Attal, who will oversee the booking of the venue. Eddie Carranza remains owner and GM.

Volume-wise, "we want to do every show that makes sense," adds Walker. "It's not so much about volume as it is about doing the right shows for us and for the room."

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