Riot Fest Offers Refunds After Venue Change in Chicago

Festival organizers announced the event would move from Chicago's Humboldt Park to the city's Douglas Park

One day after announcing Riot Fest would move from Chicago’s Humboldt Park to the city’s Douglas Park, the popular music festival’s organizers sent a note to early bird ticket holders offering them a refund if they no longer want to go.

“While we are saddened to move the festival away from Humboldt Park, we are very excited about the new prospects that Douglas Park has to offer including convenient transportation options and its scenic park layout,” the organizers wrote in an email.

All tickets will be honored at Douglas Park, but ticketholders who "can no longer attend because of this change" can get a full through May 25.

The festival is also expected to release the lineup for this year’s event next week.

Organizers on Wednesday announced the venue change after Humboldt Park residents and Ald. Roberto Maldonado said damage to the park after last year’s event caused a public outcry. The Chicago Park District announced a $182,000 bill for damages to Humboldt Park during the Sept. 12-14, 2014, music festival.

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.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel warned organizers, however, that they have been “put on notice.”

“I’m glad they decided to make the city of Chicago their home. I think the people that organized the festival now know to stay in Chicago, which is their desire and that’s a good thing, they have to do it in a way that makes them good citizens and good residents and contribute back,” Emanuel said. “They now know that the people of Humboldt Park don’t want them, I don’t think it’s in their best interest to have a second park say we don’t want you in Chicago. So they’ve been put on notice to be a better citizen in holding this festival because if you go 0 for 2 we don’t have a three strike rule in the city of Chicago for you.”

This year's Riot Fest is scheduled for Sept. 11-13.

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