The Spring Awakening music festival is set to take place next summer in Chicago’s Douglas Park, much to the surprise of the area’s alderman.
Ald. George Cardenas accused the organization that puts on the music festival, React Presents, of “recklessly” announcing “grand plans for a music festival that draws 30,000 to 40,000 people a day.”
“I am not against music, and I am a big fan of other festivals, but this group did this without my consent and more importantly, without the community in mind,” Cardenas said.
Dubbed the Midwest’s largest all electronic music festival, the event is set to return to Chicago for its eighth year in June. The festival, which was previously held in Addam/Medill Park, said the space it planned to use is “getting a brand new field house and soccer field” and the construction meant the event could not be held there.
It added that the “larger footprint” of Douglas Park will better accommodate fans and make way for a “brand new Solstice Stage.”
Douglas Park has previously hosted Chicago’s Riot Fest, but local officials said Spring Awakening didn’t handle their announcement effectively.
“Festival organizers who enjoy the support of my office and our community are good partners. They have outreach events to discuss safeguards, logistics and environmental impacts, they willingly donate to local not for profits, provide community job opportunities and participate in neighborhood holiday events. These groups respect our community and the process,” Cardenas said. “I did not authorize their decision to relocate to Douglas Park, and will be taking further action to maintain 12th ward residents’ concerns as the top priority.”
“I am against what they did and I want to make sure that rules are followed,” he added.
The concert requires a special event permit from the Chicago Park District.
"The Chicago Park District is currently processing a Special Event Permit Application from React Presents for the Spring Awakening Music Festival, which was received on November 2, 2018," the district said. "As the application is still being evaluated by the Park District, no permit has yet been issued."
The park district does not requires aldermanic approval or community input to issue a special event permit.
Spring Awakening did not immediately respond to requests for comment following Cardenas’ statements.