DOWNTOWN — Riot Fest will go on as scheduled this weekend, after officials with the music festival and a nearby hospital settled their dispute before a court case against the fest could proceed.
Lawyers for St. Anthony Hospital on Tuesday asked Judge James Zagel to withdraw a motion for a temporary restraining order against the festival. The hospital and the festival released a joint statement after the court hearing, saying extra precautions have been taken to protect patients and caregivers.
St. Anthony Hospital filed a suit against the fest in federal court last week, claiming the festival would disrupt flow to and from the hospital's entrance and emergency room as well as harm recovering patients. Hospital officials said the fest was unwilling to compromise their plans, a charge Riot Fest has denied.
Joe Ward says festival organizers will monitor the sound levels:
The filing of the suit led to some testy exchanges between the two parties, including a hospital-organized press conference with neighborhood leaders railing against the festival and the releasing of emails by Riot Fest that claimed to show the hospital was merely seeking money from the fest.
"Unfortunately, passions ran high on both sides and motivations were questioned," read a press release from Sean McKeough, Riot Fest partner, and Guy A. Medaglia, president and CEO, St. Anthony Hospital. "Both sides regret their aggressive statements."
Just four days after the suit was filed, the parties announced that changes to the festival and public-safety procedures that they say will benefit both the hospital and the festival. Officials with the fest and hospital said they met with police and city officials to help come to a compromise.
Riot Fest will build barricades that will keep fest goers off of the west side of California Avenue, in an effort to keep clear the main and emergency room entrances of the hospital, 2875 W. 19th St., according to a release. There will also be parking along 19th Street in front of the hospital, a reverse from earlier logistics plans, the settlement said.
Festival officials will also monitor sound levels within the hospital to ensure that the levels are safe for patients, the festival said. Riot Fest said previously that they had already agreed to bring in specialty sound equipment to help keep the noise at respectable volumes.
The settlement appears to answer the hospital's two most pressing concerns: that healthcare providers and patients would have trouble accessing the hospital and that noise levels would harm patients and interfere with the hospital's work.
“Thankfully, calmer heads prevailed when we met today with city and police officials to work out the compromise for the benefit of the community," the joint press release said.
The festival is taking place next to another hospital as well. Mount Sinai Hospital was not involved with the suit and told DNAinfo Chicago that they had been working with fest organizers for months to make sure hospital work would be unimpeded.
Riot Fest will begin Friday, Sept.11, and last through the weekend and is expected to bring 45,000 people to Douglas Park in North Lawndale.
After three years in Humboldt Park, the festival announced in May that it would be moving to Douglas Park. The fest was forced out of Humboldt Park at the behest of neighborhood officials concerned with damage done to the park.
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