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Near North Side, River North

Dave Matthews Tour Bus Dumped 800 Pounds Of Poop On People Taking A Chicago River Cruise 15 Years Ago Today

As an architectural boat cruise passed under the Kinzie Street bridge, someone on the tour bus emptied the bathroom waste into the river. Or so they thought.

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RIVER NORTH — It’s not a proud anniversary or one marked with a precious metal (not yet, at least). But it’s an anniversary nonetheless.

Fifteen years ago Thursday, a Dave Matthews Band tour bus infamously dumped 800 pounds of human waste on a hapless river cruise floating at exactly the wrong time under the Kinzie Street Bridge. 

Boat passengers — including a Chicago Tribune reporter — enjoying an open air architectural river cruise “described a downpour of foul-smelling, brownish-yellow slurry that ruined their clothes and made several of them sick,” on the afternoon of Aug. 8, 2004, the Tribune reported. 

The jam band’s tour bus driver admitted to the dumping and reportedly paid a fine, served 1½ years probation and performed community service. The band, known for huge outdoor shows, a string of hits and environmental activism, later donated $50,000 to the Chicago Park District “to begin the healing process,” according to reports.

Time heals all wounds, but years later, DMB’s dumping lives on in infamy to many Chicagoans.

In 2015, in fact, someone posted a sign at the scene of the crime to remind the world.

“In August 2004, at this very location, a DMB tour bus dumped 800 pounds of poo on some people. #NEVERFORGET #ALWAYSREMEMBER.”

Credit: Dave Matthews/DNAinfo

A version of this story originally appeared on DNAinfo, written by then-staffer Dave Matthews (no relation, he insists).