UPTOWN — Riviera Theatre concertgoers camped outside the music venue last week spilled onto a typically quiet residential street nearby — and neighbors' complaints about noise, trash and other issues have local leaders brainstorming how to avoid an encore.
As many residents in the Sheridan Park area of Uptown were making their morning commute last Thursday, a throng of teens and tweens camped out just west of the Riviera on North Magnolia Avenue between Lawrence and Leland avenues.
The concert early birds were waiting for Australian pop band 5 Seconds of Summer to hit the stage. On Friday morning, fans of the band 21 Pilots followed a similar strategy — with the line of people nearly reaching West Wilson Avenue for a show slated to begin at 7:30 that night, according to some neighbors.
"Is anyone else getting a little tired of the crowds lining up on Magnolia for concerts at the Riv?" Uptown resident Jeff Kroesch asked on a neighborhood Facebook page.
In the post, which sparked a spirited discussion, Kroesch said he was glad Uptown has the venue, but he complained that "the management is not respectful to the surrounding neighbors," and that concertgoers leave behind trash that "contributes to the blight in Sheridan Park."
LISTEN: Adeshina Emmanuel joins DNAinfo Radio to explain how local leaders are handling the complaints:
"Lining up this many people on a residential street is plain ridiculous, and I doubt it would be tolerated in any other ward," said the post, which turned to Ald. James Cappleman (46th), for solutions.
Cappleman commented on the thread, telling neighbors, "Clearly, more needs to be done to address this." He said his office "will be on this to address the many issues that surfaced."
His office didn't respond Monday to requests for comment.
Magnolia Avenue resident Bob Byrne said that while some locals were upset about the lines, having so many people come to the neighborhood had a positive ripple effect on area businesses.
"It helps all the restaurants in the area with people getting food before the show. ... That Thursday, lots of places were packed for lunch," said Byrne, who added he had no problem with the lines.
Crews from the Riviera could be seen Thursday night and over the weekend cleaning up after the crowd, some of whom left behind blankets and water bottles. Riviera owner Jerry Mickelson could not be reached for comment.
"We want the residents to be proud to be part of this area and see it as an asset and not something that is just a nuisance," said Alyssa Berman-Cutler, president of economic development organization Uptown United. She said she was working with Cappleman's office, the Riv and Jam Productions about "some fairly easy things we can do to make sure the residents aren't so impacted and still support a healthy entertainment district."
She mentioned the possibility of limiting the amount of time before a show that people could camp out and extending lines down Lawrence instead of side streets.
Some worry that moving concertgoers to another street could cause other problems.
Lines south on Racine would simply place the burden on a different residential block, and would block the Golden House Pancake House, as well. Lining people up south on Broadway would block the intersection of Broadway and Racine, which emergency vehicles from a nearby fire station use frequently. If concertgoers line up west on Lawrence, they will be in the way of bus stops and car traffic. The line would also have to span crosswalks.
Uptown resident Jeffrey Littleton said the whole issue had existed for years and was "no big deal." But "this might be a good moment to talk about this," he said.
Littleton said lining people up in the alley behind the venue was an option, but joked he wouldn't want to "be the bad guy that lines 'em up in the alley."
Putting lines on Magnolia remains the best option, he said.
"It's on a residential street, but it's a street that's been behind a theater for almost 100 years," Littleton said. "We're talking about being an entertainment district, but we can't put up with that?"