DOUGLAS PARK — After a series of dramatic clashes with its Humboldt Park neighbors led Riot Fest to relocate this year, the festival made a concerted effort to start things off with Douglas Park residents on the right foot.
That included offering free admission for anyone who lives near the park and thought to ask, according to a Riot Fest spokesman.
"Residents who expressed an interest in attending the festival were given entry upon the presentation of their ID to confirm they lived within a certain boundary," said Chris Mather, a Riot Fest spokesman, though he did not specify how far that boundary extended.
Neighbor Rena Chandler, who lives on the 1700 block of South California, Avenue, says she "went all three days. Just had to show my ID saying I lived here, and they let me pass.
"I saw Snoop Dogg, and Gwen Stefani. It was great."
Chandler said she saw "no problems at all" during the three-day festival's first year in the West Side neighborhood.
It was "just a very nice event and lots of people enjoying themselves," she said. "No fighting, no shooting, nothing like that."
The festival faced significant pushback from Humboldt Park community members ahead of this year's fest, prompting the move to Douglas Park. Once the new location was announced, Riot Fest's new neighbors expressed some anxiety as well, about traffic and neighborhood impact, as well as safety concerns.
Pablo Vivar who lives nearby on the 1800 block of South California Avenue and did not attend the fest, said he also had only good things to say about its impact on the neighborhood over the weekend.
"It was all nice and queiet around here, peaceful," he said. "Nothing happened, nothing out of the ordinary. Lots of people, but nobody caused any trouble."
George Devereux has gone to every Riot Fest in Chicago and drove to Douglas Park this weekend for the festival's first year there. He said the location was no less inconvenient than Humboldt Park and that parking was not a problem.
"We're super pleased," Devereux said Saturday. "The stage set up is even better. It's just perfect this year."
Scattered showers throughout the weekend left Douglas Park in muddy shape, but a Park District spokeswoman said the damage had not yet been assessed, so a timeline for repairing the park was not immediately available.
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