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Park district pushing change as criticisms of Chicago music festivals increase
2022-09-15

This article shared 751 times since Thu Sep 15, 2022
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As criticism increases over the use of public parks for large-scale events put on by private companies, leaders at the Chicago Park District are moving to change their code to mandate a board vote to sign off on events with more than 10,000 daily attendees, The Chicago Tribune reported.

Park Board President Myetie Hamilton announced the proposal at a Sept. 14 board meeting. Under current district practice, agreements that generate revenue are approved directly by the superintendent, skipping board signoff and reducing the opportunity for the public to comment on such permits.

The announcement came days before Riot Fest kicks off in Douglass Park, and weeks after festival management let go of an event organizer and apologized to the community for the "tone" of a neighborhood meeting meant to address neighbors' concerns.

A group of opponents presented a letter to the board, demanding that the city and district "stop allowing Douglass Park to be used to host large, for-profit festivals." Their letter asserts events such as Riot Fest, Summer Smash and Heatwave limit programming, as the park is fenced off for "a minimum of 46 days."

Local elected officials and neighbors near Grant Park have also expressed frustration that the city's "front yard" park is off-limits for several weeks each year before and after events such as Lollapalooza, and will be further limited during next year's inaugural NASCAR street race.


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