Riot Fest leaving Douglass Park, will announce new location dubbed 'RiotLand' Wednesday

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, June 11, 2024
Riot Fest leaving Douglass Park, new location announcement Wednesday
Riot Fest is leaving Douglass Park. The festival's new location, dubbed RiotLand, will be announced Wednesday 1 hour before the 2024 lineup release.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Riot Fest organizers released a message Tuesday night, on the eve of their 2024 lineup release, announcing the music festival is leaving Douglass Park.

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The North Lawndale community in recent years has become vocally opposed to Riot Fest.

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"I'm sick of our richest whitest communities getting all of the resources, and they don't have to have festivals to get their resources but our Black and brown working class communities have to fight and take crumbs," said Warren Williams in 2023, shortly before the festival was approved for the year.

The three-day music festival regularly draws around 50,000 over the duration.

In a video message posted on their social media channels, organizer Riot Mike wrote in part, "Riot Fest will be leaving Douglass Park. And - allow me to be as clear as the azure sky of the deepest summer - our exodus is solely because of the Chicago Park District."

Organizers praised 24th Ward Alderwoman Monique Scott, and in their statement wrote, "She is righteous. Caring. Passionate. She is one of us."

"We are not abandoning the community here...we're taking them on this journey as well," the statement continued.

The statement concludes by announcing the festival's new home will be in "RiotLand," but gave no other details other than that RiotLand's location will be announced Wednesday at 10 a.m., an hour before the 2024 festival's lineup announcement.

The Chicago Park District issued a statement in response saying, "The Chicago Park District has learned indirectly that the organizers of Riot Fest have stated they do not intend to go forward with their event in Douglass Park this September. The permit application for the event has not been withdrawn, and in fact it is currently pending provisional approval by the Park District Board of Commissioners. This approval process by the Board is one that was established two years ago for Special Events Permit Review and ensures that organizers engage community to get feedback about impact to community and dialogue about event production adjustments that should be considered to address community concerns.

"The Chicago Park District has worked tirelessly to strike a balance between community interests and our Special Events organizers. Community voices are critical to our decision-making process, which is why a comprehensive community engagement process is a necessary component in evaluating a permit application.

"Last year, Riot Fest organizers completed this process successfully, received a permit and hosted their event in Douglass Park.

"For large-scale events our top priorities are to minimize the impact on the community, protect our park assets and ensure the organizers are planning a safe and well-organized event. It is imperative that an event organizer work with and understand the community in which they are hosting an event. Prior to Board approval, we require that they engage local residents, community organizations, elected officials, businesses and the Park Advisory Council to provide detailed information pertaining to the event.

"This year, the Chicago Park District reinforced its commitment to community by announcing the creation of a new initiative to reinvest a portion of event revenue fund directly back to the parks that host special events with 3,000 or more attendees. Parks hosting multi-day events with 3,000 or more guests, will receive a direct re-investment of 10 percent of the permit fees collected from event organizers in addition to any park restoration fees. A key part of the initiative are the engagement opportunities that residents will be invited to attend to provide feedback on the potential capital improvement projects."