Puerto Rican Fest Sides With Riot Fest In Fight Over Humboldt Park
By Rachel Cromidas in News on May 6, 2015 5:15PM
Photo of the crowd at the 2012 Riot Fest by Cobra Productions
The Puerto Rican Festival & Parade Committee is siding with Riot Fest in the effort to keep the September music festival in Humboldt Park.
In a statement released Wednesday by Riot Fest organizers, representatives from the Puerto Rican Festival said they would combine resources with Riot Fest to improve the 26th Ward, which encompasses Humboldt Park.
Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th), has said he won't support the three-day music festival's return to Humboldt Park, where it has been running since 2012, because of damages the park sustained during last year's fest.
The release said the groups want to "dispel false preconceived notions by a fanatical few about their neighborhood" and build "a cooperative platform where the true voice and tone of Humboldt Park is heard and not stifled by officials who do not represent the needs and concerns of the community."
Humboldt Park hosts both festivals, each drawing thousands of revelers to the West Side neighborhood every year.
The groups would not only like to resolve issues such as broken benches and the inability to drain water from the fields within the park, which combined with bad weather turned parts of Riot Fest into a virtual mud pit last year, but also tie both festivals to the neighborhood more, Riot Fest founder Michael Petryshyn said in the statement.
The groups plan to hold joint fundraisers for local arts programs and scholarships for 26th Ward youth, hold quarterly cultural events and host park cleanups and events for senior citizens, Petryshyn said. He also pointed to the $249,000 Riot Fest has donated to charities within the 26th Ward since 2012 as signs of the festival's commitment to doing right by the community.
Chicagoist requested a statement from Ald. Maldonado's office but we was not available at the time to comment.