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NORTH LAWNDALE — The first Heatwave Music Festival drew thousands this weekend to Douglass Park.
The three-stage festival focused on EDM artists, bringing in big names, including Above & Beyond and Tiësto, as well as lesser-known DJs. Fans said they had a good time — though the festival, like others in the park, has proven controversial among neighbors.
“Everyone is just so peaceful and loving,” attendee Keenan Artis said. “I can just express myself for who I am without anyone judging me.
“Just seeing the diversity of people here and just everyone accepting everyone, regardless of their skin color, sexuality, and — honestly, it’s beautiful — dancing.”
The festival also featured art installations and reality-altering experiences. It was organized by Auris Presents, the production group behind venues RADIUS, Concord Music Hall and PRYSM.
The festival — and other major events in the park — have drawn criticism from some neighbors, though. Some residents have said they’re fed up with being fenced out of their neighborhood park as it plays host to Heatwave, Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash and Riot Fest during the summer.
Nearly 1,000 people have signed a petition calling on alderpeople to ban large music fests from the park, saying the festivals prevent neighbors from using the park, damage the park and create noise — while private companies that organize the festivals profit.
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