Tensions flare between Riot Fest organizers, residents near Douglass Park

A community meeting designed to foster cooperation between Riot Fest and neighbors of Douglass Park seemed to do just the opposite.

The meeting was announced due to tension over the years between the music fest and residents in the area. However, the meeting quickly spun out of control after the first Riot Fest speaker gave a long, rambling introduction — much of it unrelated to Riot Fest itself.

The audience first grew impatient, then flat-out agitated.


"We ain't going to get nothing done here if we keep yelling! We're either going to work together or we can't!" one Riot Fest organizer said. "Can we present to you guys, seriously? This is not how you work things out."

"Y'all keep talking about what y'all did already. They trying to figure out what y'all going to do! They don't want to hear about what already happened. They trying to figure out how is Riot Fest coming to North Lawndale going to benefit the people that live in the community," one resident said.

Opponents of Riot Fest were unconvinced that the music festival is good for their neighborhood.

Toward the end of the meeting, festival organizers encouraged attendees to write down their concerns, so they can gather feedback and return with a plan that addresses those concerns.