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Ald. Cardenas Says Spring Awakening Is Getting A Wake-Up Call!

Alderman [George] Cardenas was shocked to learn that React Presents recklessly announced grand plans for a music festival that draws 30,000 to 40,000 people a day at Douglas Park in the summer of 2019. This group never consulted him, or any of the many important local organizations and resident groups that make up the vibrant community surrounding Douglas Park.

"I am not against music, and I am a big fan of other festivals, but this group did this without my consent and more importantly, without the community in mind," Cardenas said.

Typically, festival organizers go through the process of aldermanic approval as well as garnering community support - React did neither.

"Festival organizers who enjoy the support of my office and our community are good partners," Cardenas said. "They have outreach events to discuss safeguards, logistics and environmental impacts, they willingly donate to local not-for-profits, provide community job opportunities and participate in neighborhood holiday events. These groups respect our community and the process. I did not authorize their decision to relocate to Douglas Park, and will be taking further action to maintain 12th ward residents' concerns as the top priority."

The alderman has contacted the park district as well as other city officials to let them know that he has not - nor will he - authorize such a large-scale music fest to take place in Douglas Park.

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Despite the alderman's statement, Spring Awakening is still promoting its 2019 festival as being held in Douglas Park. Presale is scheduled to begin Tuesday. There is nothing, however, at the link "Why The Move?"

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Riot Fest moved from Humboldt Park to Douglas Park in 2015. Hence:

(Spring Awakening has been at Addams/Medill Park the last three years.)

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"The 12th ward's Director of Communications Liliana Escarpita further confirmed that Alderman Michael Scott, Jr. - whose 24th ward also covers a piece of Douglas Park - was unaware of SAMF's impending move as well," the Tribune reports.

In a statement, React pinned the move on construction that will affect its former home throughout the spring. Organizers of the festival, which draws crowds between 30,000-40,000 people a day over the long weekend, also suggest the much-larger Douglas Park comes with "exciting new benefits" for attendees such as "including easier travel to/from the festival with just a two block walk to the CTA California Pink Line station, as well as more free street parking." Along with the new site, organizers promise additional art installations, experiences and "curious corners" for guests to lose themselves as well as new stage designs, including a brand-new Solstice Stage.

"Like everybody else, I found out through the media," Cardenas told the paper. "I heard rumors and someone had sent me what they posted on the website. Right away people started talking, 'Why didn't the alderman notify the community?' We immediately get the blame for this, but what (React) did was not right."

The festival apparently submitted a Special Event Permit Application to the Chicago Park District, though it was only received on November 2 - just three days before SAMF made their announcement on Monday. Because the application is still being evaluated, said the district, a permit has yet to be issued.

"The first thing I do as an alderman is go to my community and get their input," said Cardenas. "As of today, I'm so insulted by it, what would I do with people that have no respect for my community? But some people in the community want to hear more about it. I think we at least owe it to people to try to understand it and see if this works or not."

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"Chicago Park District officials said aldermanic approval is not required," Block Club Chicago reports.

"The Park District is currently processing a special event permit application for the Spring Awakening Music Festival, Park District spokeswoman Irene Tostado said in an e-mail. React Presents applied for the permit on Nov. 2, but no permit has been issued to date.

"The city agency does not require aldermanic approval or community input before permits are issued, Tostado said, but they encourage all event organizers to gather input from the surrounding communities."

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on November 12, 2018


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