Drama is a-brewin’ in Riot Fest’s hometown of Chicago.
Earlier this week, and alderman spoke to the Chicago Tribune and told the publication that he opposed the return of Riot Fest to Humboldt Park due to “the mess they left at the park last year.”
“I am exceptionally disappointed at the Riot Fest organizers for the mess they left at the park last year and their shallow and hollow promises to restore the park,” Ald. Roberto Maldonado said.
“I don’t support them coming back.”
He followed that up by claiming that three-day festival had cut off public access to baseball diamonds and the Humboldt Park field house both before and after the event.
But for anyone who is familiar with Riot Fest and their Twitter account, it should not come as a surprise that founder Michael Petryshyn has come to defense of his festival by releasing a statement of his own about Maldonado’s opposition considering the alderman was supportive of the festival in the past.
“Due to the economic benefits Riot Fest brings to many 26th Ward businesses, the hundreds of thousands of dollars Riot Fest has donated to ward charities, our support in his reelection, and more importantly, job creation in a ward that has sorely lacked new job development, the Alderman and Riot Fest have been on the same page in shining a positive light on our culturally rich and magnetic neighborhood,” Petryshyn said.
Petryshyn also points out that some of the blame for the damage to the park rests on Maldonado’s shoulders since it was he who decided to add the low-lying parts of the park to the festival’s footprints.
“We must all be reminded that it was Ald. Maldonado’s direction and his final decision to change the footprint in 2014 to encompass low-lying parts of the park that we neither wanted, planned or needed during a July, 2014 meeting” Petryshyn added.
Following a torrential downpour that occurred on opening night last year, Humboldt Park became a mushy mess resulting in a lot of damage. At the end, the damage was originally estimated to be about $182,000, though recent reports claim it came in at $150,000; about triple what the festival paid in 2013.
The repairs that needed to be done to the ground included: grading, reseeding, adding topsoil, and soil aeration.
But unlike Maldonado and his opposition, Chicago Park District spokesperson Jessica Maxey-Faulkner said that the follow-up repairs to Humboldt Park are no different from what happens every year after Lollapalooza in Grant Park. To no one’s surprise, no one is trying to kick Lollapalooza out of their home.
Even thought the Park District has reportedly not issued a permit for this year’s Riot Fest, the festival’s official website has Humboldt Park.
Pre-sale tickets for the Chicago edition of the festival, which is scheduled to take place during the weekend of Sept. 11-13, are currently available.