Hundreds of thousands of music lovers descend on the city for its annual summer music festivals, but the impact on public land is a point of contention for some neighbors who live near the parks.
Douglass Park just had its second of three festivals this summer, Summer Smash and Heatwave, with Riot Fest scheduled for September. Anton Adkins of Friends of Douglass Park, lives across the street and said the fests impact the neighborhood and cut back on residents’ use of green space.
“We have to uproot our lives. The music at the EDM fest [Heatwave Festival] was very heavy on the bass. It’s loud. Plus, there’s no parking and I couldn’t have guests into my home. People visit for the festival from all over and show no interest in the community,” Adkins said. He has complained but “we get a lot of run-around with aldermen pointing at each other.”
Leslie Recht of the Grant Park Advisory Council, wants the decibel levels capped at Lollapalooza and notes the damage caused by semi-trailers parked on tennis courts and pavements. She also notes that this an “ongoing conversation with the city and the park district.”
In a statement to “Chicago Tonight” the Chicago Park District said:
As the leading provider of recreation in the city, the Chicago Park District is committed to supporting the diverse needs and interests of all residents. Our parks are the setting for countless events from family picnics and weddings to concerts, cultural events, and more. In every instance, the District works closely with the organizer to ensure the event has limited impact on the surrounding community and works to provide a balance for the day to day use of the park.
The Chicago Park District requires organizers of large-scale music festivals to submit and execute a community engagement plan before the event permit is approved and issued. The plan ensures neighboring residents and businesses are aware of the event, have the opportunity to voice their support and concerns and are kept informed of event operations that impact the surrounding community. Organizers are also required to bring economic investment to the community by hiring local residents and securing local vendors.
Under new leadership, the Park District is continuously evaluating permitted events of all sizes and exploring ways to improve community engagement, including welcoming input from neighboring residents and other community stakeholders.