Riot Fest should move to a different part of the city
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Your July 28 article reminded me that soon Riot Fest will be invading beautiful Douglas Park again. Those of us in the community around the park are NOT universally delighted.
It’s not just the three days of noise, traffic problems, disrespectful crowds and their trash. It is also the set-up and the (always inadequate) repair and cleanup that effectively closes off the park to the public from early September until the end of the season.
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The festival is a private, for-profit use of public space — and this public space is one of the most beautiful large parks in Chicago. The festival has damaged the park every year, and the promises of repairing it properly have never been fully kept. Promises of benefits to the community have also turned out to be mostly false: A few vendors and businesses have done well, but others — including the numerous vendors whose business is at the soccer fields during those games — were kicked out.
The people who flock to Riot Fest from the North Side do not venture into the community and patronize our businesses. They do sometimes patronize the emergency rooms of the hospitals by the park — the staff there, needless to say, are not fans of the festival. Even their promise that people who live nearby could get in free, to somehow compensate for the loss of our park and the various inconveniences, has proved a sham. The process of getting a pass has become so secret and convoluted that most of us don’t even know about it.
Please, Riot Fest, take over some other part of the city that is NOT a public space intended for public use!
Rebecca Wolfram, Lawndale
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