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Attendees enjoy a punk rock carnival during the final day of Riot Fest Chicago on September 14, 2014.
Photograph: cousindaniel.comAttendees enjoy a punk rock carnival during the final day of Riot Fest Chicago on September 14, 2014.

Riot Fest is moving to Douglas Park

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

After a very public clash with 26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado and various neighborhood groups who were upset with the damage done to Humboldt Park after last year's Riot Fest, the festival's organizers have revealed that the event will being taking up residence in Douglas Park this summer. In a longwinded announcement posted on the festival's website, Riot Fest founder Michael Petryshyn lauded a close partnership with 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas, who stated that "the community is thrilled to say ‘welcome’ to the over 150,000 fans, artists and staff."

Located on the Southwest Side of the city, Douglas Park is located near neighborhoods like Lawndale, Little Village, Pilsen and the Illinois Medical District. Accessible via the California-Cermak Pink Line and the Western-Forest Park Blue Line, the park is roughly the same size as the Humboldt Park, featuring a similar mix of grassy fields, lagoons and a field house. What remains to be seen is if Riot Fest's organizers can devise a layout for the event that results in minimal damage to the park. Last year's festival in Humboldt Park was riddled with bottlenecks and inefficient pedestrian routes that resulted in additional damages to the park after heavy rains hit on Friday night.

It's important to note that this isn't the first time a Riot Fest event has been forced to change venues. Last year's Riot Fest Denver moved to Mile High Stadium after being forced out of its former home in Byers, Colorado due to complaints from the town officials and residents. There aren't many more venues in the city big enough to hold the throngs of fans that flock to Riot Fest—we can only hope that the organizers are able to work closely with their new Douglas Park neighbors and keep the festival in Chicago beyond 2015.

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