It looks like Riot Fest has a new home in Chicago.
Aldermen involved in the back and forth over the music festival’s location said that after three years in Humboldt Park, the punk and rock music festival will move this year a few miles away in Douglas Park.
Many Chicagoans were unhappy with the condition of the West Side park after last summer’s festival. Alderman Roberto Maldonado (26) said residents of Humboldt Park and the surrounding neighborhoods have been complaining to him about the state of the grounds ever since concert-goers and organizers left.
“Four Sundays ago...two of the diamonds were unusable for the opening games of the softball league,” Maldonado said. “The impact to the local economy, although it was substantial the first and second year, the third year it wasn’t there.”
So for now, Riot Fest is taking its party elsewhere. In a statement, Riot Fest founder Michael Petryshyn said he met with Ald. George Cardenas (12) about using Douglas Park and was, “ecstatic” at the response he got from their new aldermanic partner.
“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 resident,” Petryshyn said. “Essentially, everything we have brought to Humboldt Park over the last three years.”
After Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he was pleased the festival chose to stay in the city, but issued a warning to organizers: Leave Douglas Park the way you find it.
“They now know 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,” Emanuel told reporters. “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.”
Ald. Cardenas said the Park District is set to put down a bond as insurance in the event Douglas Park sees some damage.
Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ political reporter. Follow her @laurenchooljian.