CHICAGO (CBS) — The future of Riot Fest wasn’t even on the Chicago Park District board’s agenda Wednesday, but the board heard at length from supporters and opponents of the popular music festival that has been held in Humboldt Park for three years.
Opponents said Riot Fest is too big and too unwieldy for the park, and causes damage that has proven difficult to repair.
Humboldt Park neighborhood resident Eileen Kelleher told the board she uses Humboldt Park’s paths to go running almost daily, and said she and others who do so have no problem spotting damage from last year’s festival that has yet to be repaired, despite promises to do so.
One opponent, Rosemary Vega, sobbed throughout her testimony, saying she feared opponents would be ignored because they don’t have “big money.”
Supporters, such as Mike Ayres, said it brings exposure to area businesses that would be impossible to obtain otherwise.
Another man said he’s spoken with block club leaders throughout the surrounding area and said they all voiced support to him. To underscore his point, he presented petitions on which he claimed to have more than 7,000 signatures from area supporters.
Board President Bryan Trauber indicated he expected a vote whether to grant a permit to this year’s Riot Fest at the next park board meeting.