Riot Fest Shares Repair Photos, Launches Petition As Some Residents Show Their Support Of Ald. Maldonado
By Justin Freeman in Arts & Entertainment on May 5, 2015 7:00PM
The situation between Riot Fest and 26th Ward Alderman Roberto Maldonado continues to escalate. Last week, disagreements emerged as Alderman Maldonado told the RedEye that he does not support the return of Riot Fest to Humboldt Park. Riot Fest founder, Michael Petryshyn, responded in a statement saying that he was “extremely surprised” as Maldonado had been “extremely supportive of the festival since it's Humboldt Park inception in 2012.”
The issue of contention is structural damage to the park that occurred during the festival last year and the repairs surrounding them. Last year, it rained heavily during most of the duration of the festival. That it rained so strongly is not Riot Fest’s fault, as they don't control the weather. But as we know, the park took on a remarkable amount of structural damage and Riot Fest ended up paying $182,000 for repairs.
“...now I have to have a different position because it was a big mess, which still the park is trying to rectify," Maldonado told the RedEye. In response, Riot Fest posted photos on their website that showcase the repairs they’ve done in comparison to how the park looked during the festivities last year.
Yesterday, Riot Fest also launched a change.org petition to keep Riot Fest in Humboldt Park. As of this writing, the petition has over 5,000 signatures and is growing. [Ed. note: It's interesting to note that Ald. Maldonado only drew 3,407 votes in last February's election.] In fairness, it is unknown with absolute certainty how many of those signatures are from people that live in Humboldt Park. Many of the comments do appear to be from Humboldt Park residents that support Riot Fest’s cause. In response to the situation, a number of Humboldt Park residents protested Riot Fest in front of Maldonado’s office.
Riot Fest has expressed their willingness to meet with Ald. Maldonado later this week to discuss the matter at hand, but no firm date has been set.