Following concerns from residents and officials, Riot Fest has announced it will move this year’s event out of Humboldt Park.
The festival will now be held in the city’s Douglas Park, located in Ald. George Cardenas’ 12th Ward, officials said Wednesday.
“We are so very excited to get to know our new neighbors and to work with them to hold an event that is beneficial to the community, local businesses and the residents,” Michael Petryshyn, founder of Riot Fest said in a statement. “Essentially, everything we have brought to Humboldt Park over the last three years.”
The move comes after Ald. Roberto Maldonado said he didn’t want the event in Humboldt Park again after damage to the park caused a public outcry in the community. The Chicago Park District announced a $182,000 bill for damages to Humboldt Park during the Sept. 12-14, 2014, music festival.
Ald. Maldonado said he was initially supportive of the festival because he hoped it would bring economic support to businesses in the community, particularly the restaurants along Division Street. There was more damage than economic revival, however, he said.
Despite Ald. Maldonado’s concerns, a Change.org petition to keep the festival in Humboldt Park has gathered more than 8,000 signatures, with supporters saying they believe Maldonado “is unequivocally wrong.”
Festival organizers said they would not allow the festival “to be used as a pawn” and decided not to hold the event in Humboldt Park for a fourth year.
Sean McKeough, Petryshyn’s partner in the festival, said the event was almost moved out of the city entirely.
“When the decision was made by us to take the high road, [Ald. Joe Moreno] convinced us, alongside Alderman Cardenas, that Chicago—no matter what—should remain Riot Fest’s home,” McKeough said. “Joe and George did well by Chicago and indie music fans by championing Riot Fest for what it truly is.”
Organizers cited Douglas Park’s proximity to public transportation, Lagunitas Brewing Company and the Illinois Medical District in their decision.
“Music brings people of all different backgrounds together. It’s the melodies and lyrics that artists create that inspire us, motivate us, and maybe even more importantly, it provides a mixtape of important events in our lives,” Ald. Cardenas said in a statement. “From Woodstock to Riot Fest it’s about unity and creating a positive community. It’s as American pie as you can get.”
This year's Riot Fest is scheduled for Sept. 11-13. The lineup is scheduled to be released next week.