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Riot Fest Agrees To Last-Minute Hospital Demands Ahead Opening

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Sep 8, 2015 8:30PM

Photo of the crowd at the 2012 Riot Fest by Cobra Productions

Days after an eleventh-hour lawsuit filed by St. Anthony Hospital sought to block Riot Fest from taking place in Douglas Park this weekend, the hospital and music festival organizers have reached an agreement that will allow the three-day fest to go on.

This has been a contentious year for Riot Fest, which lost its home in Humboldt Park this year under staunch community opposition to the music fest's presence in the neighborhood. Riot Fest announced its move to Douglas Park, about three miles south on the city's West Side, earlier this year, and the announcement was followed by another surge in community opposition that has kept organizers on their toes.

St. Anthony Hospital filed a lawsuit against the fest last week along with a motion requested a federal judge block the fest from taking place on Sept. 11 to 13 as planned. The hospital also informed Riot Fest, according to emails released by fest organizers, that they would have to pay nearly $100,000 in security and staffing fees to the hospital and over $50,000 in hospital legal fees to get the hospital's blessing.

In a joint press release Tuesday afternoon representatives from the hospital and Riot Fest said they've reached an agreement in which Riot Fest will give in to some of the hospital's demands—but will not pay any of the hospital's requested fees.

“Unfortunately, passions ran high on both sides and motivations were questioned," the statement, from Riot Fest partner Sean McKeough and St. Anthony CEO Guy Medaglia, reads. "Both sides regret their aggressive statements. Saint Anthony Hospital acknowledges that Riot Fest was not lying and Riot Fest acknowledges that Saint Anthony Hospital was not motivated by financial gain. Thankfully, calmer heads prevailed when we met today with city and police officials to work out the compromise for the benefit of the community.”

Agreed upon compromises include:

-Restoring parking on 19th Street in front of Saint Anthony Hospital
-Erection of pedestrian barricades on the west side of California Avenue
-Continual monitoring of traffic flow with a promise that should pedestrian and vehicular congestion make it difficult for emergency vehicles to access the hospital, traffic will be closed
-Sound monitoring within the hospital to protect patients