Riverwest Music Festival throws party, faces complaints

With canceled shows, inaccessible acts and extra costs, the inaugural EDM event had issues. Still, EDM fans wrapped in neon, tank tops and costumes partied hard

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  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

  • Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

    EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

Photograph: Kristine Kuczora

EDM fans gather at Chicago's newest music festival, Riverwest, 4th of July weekend, 2014.

Chicago might not need more three-day summer music festivals, but we keep getting them. The latest entry into the pool is Riverwest, an electronic music event that fills the void left by Wavefront, essentially bringing the same acts that appeared on Montrose Beach in 2013. 


Well, most of them. Rusko, perhaps the biggest name on the bill, bailed. Erick Morillo, who was initially announced, seemingly had no plans to show up. He was in Brazil, on his way to Ibiza, which seems like the better option.


Perhaps that was the first sign something was not quite right. Riverwest was held along the west bank of the Chicago River at Division Street. Ticket-holders (three-day passes ran $100–$169.99, while single-day access cost $50–$69.99) reported of being denied access to the Belvedere Terrace Stage, one of the three main stages billed, set atop the roof of Estate nightclub. This Belvedere stage was 21+, unlike the rest of the event, which caters to a young EDM fanbase. Additional fees were charged for access as well. Naturally, some of the bigger names, and the late headliners, were booked there.


There is a Facebook group set up to demand refunds. Negative comments on the official Riverwest page have reportedly been erased (though not all of them). Some fans are crying scam. We've attempted to contact Riverwest's publicist; we'll keep you posted when/if we get a response.


That didn't stop a sizeable crowd of bros and girls from raging. In our photos you can see hundreds of ravers covered in neon and ink, plastic cup in hand. Hey, at least people showed up, unlike at Third Rail. But we might have reached our saturation point.



Users say

1 comments
catrainbow
catrainbow

@todd w


1. It was 31st street beach, and LOL if you think Burnham Park is "the ghetto".

2. There were many of the same acts. Guy Gerber, the whole Visionquest crew, Lee Burridge, DJ Tennis, Damian Lazarus, etc. This was billed as an underground music festival, but held at exactly the type of venue that embodies everything the underground electronic community rejects:  exclusivity, bottle service, VIP bullshit, gestapo-esque security, etc. 

3. The majority of people who bought tickets to this festival don't gives a shit about Justice, Fatboy Slim or some trap DJ named after a guy that played for the Miami Heat in the early 90s, we came to hear the best of the best underground techno/house DJs and producers, and were given an experience that matched what you'd expect at a state fair sponsored by Rainn in Vegas. Some people bought a ticket because they wanted to see Art Department outside in the summer breeze, or just to catch Visionquest in a relaxed environment. This is not a bottle service crowd, I only went Sunday but 90% of the crowd was not there for Excision or Rusko, these are not "EDM kidzzz" complaining. These are adults who are justifiably annoyed that they were told they needed to waste a week's paycheck on a bottle of well vodka if they wanted to see the acts they paid to see, and were never informed that they may be playing on a limited capacity, 21+ stage. Clearly they knew if they released this information it would have an extremely detrimental effect on ticket sales. BTW, no one who gives a shit about underground music goes to LIV or Surfcomber. The whole thing screamed of a cash grab, amazing acts and in half-baked parking lot attached to a douche factory. Normally you have to pay $500 to see Dixon, Art Department, Visionquest, Thugfucker, Heidi, Loco Dice, etc? I'll have what you're smoking. 

4. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to have the last headliner of a festival with a capacity well into the thousands play on a 180 capacity rooftop should be, at the very least, fired. If this would have been a younger, more drugged out crowd Estate would've had a riot on their hands and if even 1 person died from heat exhaustion because they didn't have $5 for a bottle of water, they'd have alot more than some credit card chargebacks and an investigation from the BBB on their hands. Dino is a great promoter who throws great shows with amazing talent, and I agree that its not right to place all the blame on him. But there was some fuckery afoot, and they're justifiably feeling the sting of not thinking through the logistical planning of a festival of this magnitude.


Just my .02