'RiotLand': Riot Fest leaving Douglass Park and moving to the suburbs

Riot Fest is moving to the suburbs.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, Riot Fest organizers announced that the fest will be held at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview. 

The lineup for the festival was released at 11 a.m.

In a statement from Riot Fest co-founder Mike Petryshyn, also known as Riot Mike, he blamed the move on the Chicago Park District. 

"…allow me to be as clear as the azure sky of the deepest summer — our exodus is solely because of the Chicago Park District. Their lack of care for the community, you, and us, ultimately left us no choice," he said in a statement released on the Riot Fest website. 

Neighbors near Douglass Park have long voiced a litany of complaints about the event, including noise, parking issues, street closures, and the takeover of the community's green space.

Riot Fest, which debuted in 2005, moved to Douglass Park in 2015.

Amid ongoing tensions, organizers announced on Tuesday night that the festival will relocate.

The fest is scheduled to take place from Sept. 20 to Sept 22. 

You can read the full statement released by Riot Mike below:

Dearest fans,

You find me penning this letter at the end of what was built — the culmination of the wildest journey Riot Fest has traveled.

Several weeks ago, I had enough. I was tired of Riot Fest continually being the lowest hanging fruit. I was tired of playing their games. I was tired of watching something I love being continually used to deflect away from their own internal deficits. This prevented us from giving you the experience you deserve. 

So it became evident change was needed. 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. Their lack of care for the community, you, and us, ultimately left us no choice.

But then there's Alderwoman Monique Scott. She is righteous. Caring. Passionate. She is one of us. The hardest conversation I've had regarding our departure was with her. It was filled with tears and sadness because Riot Fest has real meaning with the 24th Ward and vice versa. We're not abandoning the community here… we're taking them on this journey as well. 

Though our curtains may have closed in Douglass Park, another one has opened.

It's called RiotLand.

It's something like you've never seen before. And it's far overdue.

So perhaps for one last time, allow your humble guide to take you to the front gates of a place where all of you can choose your own adventures. That would mean the world to me and the friends we're bringing along because without you — the fans — there would be no soul to what we do. 

Only at RiotLand.

Your chum,

Riot Mike

The Chicago Park District released the following statement in response to the announcement from Riot Fest: 

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.