Community Confronts Riot Fest

By Brayan Contreras, Puerto Rican Cultural Center

Monday May 4th, 2015 saw a large group of Humboldt Park residents/activists gather together in front of 2617 W. Division, office of the alderman of the 26th ward, Alderman Roberto Maldonado. This group of engaged and concerned citizens gathered to confront the petition to rescind the Alderman’s opposition to Riot Fest. Alderman Maldonado very graciously answered concerns from both sides, turning the discussion into a town hall meeting. Somewhat fittingly, none of the main Riot Fest organizers were present to participate in the discussion. Many newcomers who have recently moved to the area were present, although they made no real effort to embrace or listen to the community’s concerns. Some activists/residents voiced an objection to the total disregard of respect shown to the community by Riot Fest, citing mass public urination and public intoxication as well as a clear demonstration of arrogance and disdainfulness Riot Fest has shown for long time community residents.  

Some community residents had signs depicting the disrespect Riot Fest showed to the community last year, including photos of the park after the intense damage. In addition, many residents were making the point that Riot Fest made no effort to engage businesses in the community.

Finally, if Riot Fest were to have their way, they would be taking two weeks of prime summer park time away from already scheduled park activities for residents.