HYDE PARK — A group of local bands are playing a basement show in Hyde Park to stand with West Side residents speaking out against Riot Fest.
People can reach out to organizers on Instagram for the address of the show.
For years, Riot Fest organizers have received pushback from West Side residents who say they’ve been negatively impacted by the festival’s presence in Douglass Park, 1401 S. Sacramento Drive.
“We wanted to get a group of Chicago-based bands together who understand the community and city we live in and the neighborhoods we play in to take a stand,” said Directrix band member Berk Ergoz. “We’re not against festivals or punk music, but we’re against hurting the communities we’re from and that we’re supposed to be supporting.”
Community members have raised concerns about the excessive noise and traffic generated by the festival as well as the fact the event prevents families from accessing the park for weeks during the summer.
Parts of the park have also been severely damaged by the festivals and not repaired until weeks later, Park District records showed.
“Riot Fest is just not a good neighbor, it’s not making an investment in Douglass Park or the neighborhoods around it,” said Directrix band member Hamza Jilani.
“There’s a difference between being punk and being a jerk,” Ergoz said. “If you’re punk, sure, you want to make noise and be disruptive but you want to disrupt larger systems, not neighborhoods that have been underinvested in.”
Directrix — the band that organized “Anti Riot Fest Fest” — doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre of music. The band grew up listening to punk and appreciate the bedroom-produced sound of indie pop and rock music, said band member Maatkara Wilson.
“Being able to create spaces and learn how to be better neighbors for each other is one of the major goals of what we’re trying to do with our band and as people who live here,” Wilson said.
The organizers said they hope the show will highlight the “vibrant and welcoming” DIY music community that’s present in Chicago year-round. Members of Directrix said they’re grateful to be a part of a local community of musicians who look out for one another and their neighborhoods at large.
They also encouraged people to reach out to local officials and urge them to listen to West Siders who don’t want Riot Fest to return to Douglass Park.
“A lot of people see investment in a community as a purely economic thing, but it’s so much more than that,” said Directrix bandmember Andrea Garcia. “We’re honored to be sharing a stage with bands who really care about their communities and show up for them.”
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