Riot Fest's Michael Petryshyn Talks Launch Of Riot Fest Foundation
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 17, 2014 8:00PM
The 2014 crowd Riot Fest Chicago. Photo by Jessica Mlinaric.
Earlier today Riot Fest told us that the clean-up and repair of Humboldt Park to counter damage done due to crowds and rain during this year's fest was completed. According to the their press release Riot Fest says, "Grounds crew managers reported that all concerns raised by the Chicago Parks Department have been addressed."
But this wasn't the biggest Riot Fest news of the day. That honor was reserved for the announcement that they are launching a not-for-profit arm focused on charitable work, The Riot Fest Foundation. Riot Fest founder Michael Petryshyn took some time out of what has certainly been a big day for the Fest to answer a few questions about this news and the Fest's involvement with the 26th Ward Turkey Drive, now the largest turkey drive in Chicago.
CHICAGOIST: You announced the 26th Ward Turkey Drive earlier today. While this might be the first time people are hearing about Riot Fest charitable work in that neighborhood, it's not the first time you've done this right?
MICHAEL PETRYSHYN: We actually held the turkey drive last year too and it was amazing. All of the staff came out and pitched in—it meant a lot to me to see everyone be so selfless and care about the community we live in. I know it's just a small piece to larger issues, but I have this sense that if we can the lead on projects like this, other people and business owners will follow suit. And, quite frankly, they should.
C: Along with the Turkey Drive it surfaced that you're putting together a non-profit arm of Riot Fest, The Riot Fest Foundation. What spurred that?
MICHAEL PETRYSHYN: We've been really quiet with all of the charitable things Riot Fest has done in the past, namely because these things generally have a tendency of looking like someone tooting their own horn, and I've always preferred doing things important to me behind the scenes. But, after Riot Fest ended this year, I realized that there could be a lot more good and social awareness that could be had if we just used stepped out of the shadows a little bit. Yes, it's uncomfortable for me, but, after talking to some great local NFPs, it made me also realize that living in the shadows handcuffs social causes that we deem important.
C: What kind of work can we expect to see from the Foundation?
MICHAEL PETRYSHYN: On a financial level, we are ambitious. The goal is to raise $500,000 in the first year for all of the charities and causes we will be supporting. The funds raised will be through events, donations, contributions from the festival itself and many other things that we have planned. On a social awareness level, there's no quantitative figure that can be laid done plainly; however, we know the core Riot Fest fans are social conscious individuals and understand that community and people means more than seeing any band at Riot Fest. So, there's much hope that they'll latch on and volunteer on some of the larger projects, and if not, volunteer for a cause that speaks to them.
MICHAEL PETRYSHYN:Although, The Riot Fest Foundation is, in part, related to Riot Fest, it does have it's own staff and will has a board of directors separate from the festival. Obviously, because many eyes are on the festival, we'd be foolish not to incorporate the Foundation into marketing plans and so forth; however, technically, it's a separate entity altogether.
C: Excellent, we look forward to seeing the Foundation in action. Is there anything we missed?
MICHAEL PETRYSHYN: The important aspect in all of this, at least on our end, is that because of who we are as a festival—and the bands we book—we can't just park it in neutral anymore. With a certain amount success comes a duty and ought. I cannot stress that enough. As much as people want to tie our legacy into reuniting bands and ferris wheels, those things should only play into what we really want to leave behind, and that's helping others.