In 2014, Riot Fest Chicago came under scrutiny for the disaster-land aftermath it left behind in its wake at Humboldt Park. As always, however, festival organizers addressed the situation with the utmost respect and professionalism. Areas of the park affected by the fest have since been addressed and are being restored to pristine conditions. Even the baseball fields on which certain stages stand have even been cleared for the 2015 Spring Leagues.
Despite returning arguably more vibrancy to the park than there was before Riot Fest ever left a footprint, Chicago Alderman Roberto Maldonado (26th Ward) claims his mind is made up on not wanting the fest to return to Humboldt Park (even though he, nor any of his staff, have attended any walk-throughs to witness the repairs firsthand).
“To be honest—and I’ve been telling everyone this since November—Riot Fest’s cleanup and restoration has made the park better,” says Abel DeJesus, vice president of the Puerto Rican Parade Committee, who hold their long-standing annual June event in Humboldt Park. “Both ‘Tito’ [Angel Medina, president of the Puerto Rican Parade Committee] and I have personally witnessed and seen the amount of work that has been put in, so I’m not really sure why the Alderman [Roberto Maldonado] is creating such negativity in the community because even as this past weekend, I had people coming up to me saying that the park is in good shape. And that’s great for us because our event in coming up in June. Riot Fest has been really good in taking care of the park and neighborhood and, more importantly, they’re respectful.”
According to the Chicago Sun Times, Riot Fest founder Michael Petryshyn says organizers already have $152,000 in repairs invested in the park's restoration, with $30,000 scheduled for further improvements in the near future.
As a response to Maldonado's stern opposition, festival organizers have launched an online petition to keep Riot Fest at Humboldt Park. If you want to see Riot return to the grounds in 2015, make sure you sign and let your voice be heard.