CHICAGO — More than 1,300 residents around Douglass Park have signed a petition to get large music festivals out of the park. They claim due to the three festivals, they have been shut out of their largest green space this summer.
For the last seven years, Riot Fest has been held in Douglass Park on the West Side. It’s once again set to be held next month from Sept. 16 to 18 and will be the park’s third music festival this summer.
Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash was held on the weekend of June 17 and Heatwave Festival was held on the weekend of July 17.
Neighbors said they are fed up due to all that goes into producing a music festival and the aftermath consisting of trash.
“The influx of people coming into the neighborhood being in your yard sitting on your porch waiting for an Uber, throwing up in your yard,” said community organizer Anton Adkins. “You can walk around after the festivals and see there are many cans out, broken glass out, paraphernalia out, book bags left behind.”
Neighbors told WGN News a local soccer team had to move their practice after the last festival because someone was cut on a glass bottle left behind.
Riot Fest does host beautification initiatives cleanups and came to the park on June 10, July 23 and August 4. Festival organizers also have to pay for repairs to the park and they neared $200,000 last summer, according to Block Club Chicago.
The Chicago Park District released the following statement.
“Under the district’s new leadership, the Chicago Park District is committed to increasing opportunities to connect and engage with Chicago residents and work hand in hand with communities to build a better, stronger park system. With this goal top of mind, the Chicago Park District is planning a series of community engagement forums to seek public input from Chicagoans about their local parks, and work collectively toward increased transparency and collaboration.”
Riot Fest also provides 750 free tickets to surrounding community members and hosts a job forum to hire neighbors to work the festival.
The Chicago Park District is hosting a community listening session on Aug. 24 at the Douglass Park Fieldhouse.