Riot Fest is an independently-owned music festival hosted annually in September. Since 2015, Riot Fest has called Douglass Park its home. We value community, and we want our neighbors to feel that Riot Fest is not only something they can take part in, but also be proud of.
Year-round Community Initiatives
Each year, Riot Fest attendees have a chance to earn their tickets by volunteering to help with Douglass Park cleanups.
Tickets for Local Community Residents
If you live within the newly expanded radius of Douglass Park, you can register for free tickets to Riot Fest every year!
Winter Clothing Drives & Donations
Hosted annual winter clothing drives directly benefitting the Douglass Park community, including the “Share The Warmth” coat drives with Douglass Park Advisory Council which date back to 2017.
We’ve donated festival tickets to hundreds of fundraisers for a variety of causes throughout Chicago, contributed to toy, clothing, & food drives, as well as donated to local schools, not-for-profits, and organizations supporting Chicago + Douglass Park.
A recurring segment in the RiotFest.org Magazine that highlights hardworking neighborhood businesses.
Recent & Upcoming Activity
Free Youth Baseball Camp
Riot Fest partnered with the Chicago White Sox to host a free youth baseball camp in Douglass Park on Aug 20, 2023. Sign-up form and details can be found HERE. All participants will also receive a fun White Sox swag bag!
Boxing Out Negativity: Street Love Ride
Join us on Aug 19 from 6pm-8pm at 3147 W. Douglas Blvd. Riot Fest representatives will be there, offering community ticket registration and local hiring opportunities.
Local Vendor Workshop
Riot Fest and Star Events held a workshop on July 8 & 9, specifically tailored to community vendors to inform and prepare local businesses for vending at a large event like Riot Fest.
We are installing Little Free Libraries in the community. There will be one at the Hammond Community Garden and another at A Safe Haven.
A Little Free Library is a “take a book, return a book” free book exchange.
Harmony Community Cares Received RFF Grant
Riot Fest awarded a grant to HCC’s Community Arts program which provides valuable arts education to children and teens in North Lawndale and surrounding areas.
Community Involvement Highlights
- Each year, Riot Fest partners with the community to host a local job fair, which, over the years has employed over 1,250 community members at the festival, resulting in over $332,000 of economic impact in Douglass Park. Positions are available in various departments including, but not limited to, general labor, information services, event set-up/tear-down, gate attendants, and more.
- In addition to job fairs, Riot Fest also offers community ticket registration which provides complimentary entry to residents living near the park, as well as for employees of the adjacent hospitals. Providing over 5,000 community members and organizations access to the event.
- For community causes around the city, Riot Fest has donated thousands of tickets to fundraisers put on by local organizations and not-for-profit organizations. We’ve hosted week-long and single day merch fundraisers with all proceeds going to a variety of causes that directly affect people living in the surrounding community.
- Since 2010, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless has been the official charity partner of Riot Fest. Over the years, this partnership has helped raise more than $150,000 through various fundraising events, including raffling off autographed albums, guitars, t-shirts, and memorabilia contributed by festival performers.
- In Winter 2021, the Riot Fest Foundation contributed coats & hats to the winter clothing drive that we hosted for the students/families of Lawndale Community Academy.
- In May 2022, Riot Fest contributed to the North Lawndale Employment Network to support their 2022 Job Fair. The North Lawndale Employment Network (NLEN) serves under- and unemployed residents of the North Lawndale neighborhood and surrounding communities, including citizens returning from incarceration and others facing the day-to-day hardships of living without enough income to support themselves and their families.
- Every Thanksgiving, Riot Fest donates turkeys to families in need in the surrounding communities around Douglass Park including families from Little Village and McKinley Park.
- In 2022, partial ticket fees from the Riot Fest Late Night Aftershows were donated to Douglass Park community organizations Lawndale Community Academy and the Chicago Youth Center-Sidney Epstein.
- In December 2022, Riot Fest donated hundreds of toys to Saucedo Elementary in Little Village as a part of their Toy Giveaway with the 24th ward.
- Riot Fest staff members volunteered at the Harmony Community Cares Food Pantry on March 15th, 2023 and we plan to make this a recurring event.
- Riot Fest donated 20 Easter Baskets for G.D Kanoon Magnet Elementary School Bunny Hop Event & for their fundraising raffle, candy for the egg hunt, and 22 gift cards to be used as prizes for the older students.
- Riot Fest donated 27 Easter Baskets in 2023 for the children that are taking shelter with their parents at A Safe Haven. A Safe Haven provides the tools for each individual to overcome the root cause of homelessness.
- The Riot Fest supports entrepreneurship in the arts and we sponsored OPEN Center for the Arts for their Live Brazillian Music Show for “Sabor do Brasil” (Taste of Brazil) which showcases Samba music and dancers in carnival gear. The event takes place on April 15th, 2023. Please click here for more information.
- Wilson Sporting Good & Riot Fest partnered for a 2023 Earth Day Beautification event in Douglass Park spreading Fibar (kid-safe mulch) in the playground near Ogden & California.
- Riot Fest donated Easter candy for the Douglass Park Advisory Council 2023 Easter event.
- Riot Fest staff members volunteered at the 2023 Bike Out Negativity: A Celebration of Chicago’s Youth, hosted by Boxing Out Negativity. Founded in 2009 by Derek Brown, a coach who provides more than just a boxing program, a way of life to at-risk youths with a supportive environment.
- Riot Fest donated snacks and beverages for Chicago West Community Music Center for their Annual Spring Recital performances by WISH (Westside Instructional String and Harp) program and The Chicago West Community Music Center’s Orchestra on May 13th, 2023.
- Riot Fest sponsored the Little Village Rotary Club 5k Peace run.
- Riot Fest sponsored Juneteenth Village Fest 2023, a family-friendly event in Douglass Park hosted by “It Takes a Village,” which celebrates culture and community with local music talent, food vendors, and carnival rides.
- Riot Fest sponsored the stage and sound equipment for Boxing Out Negativity’s Unity in the Community: Boxing Event Carnival. This fun, family event celebrated Father’s Day and Juneteenth 2023 with local music, carnival rides, and a boxing competition.
- Riot Fest and Star Events held the first Vendor Workshop weekend on July 8 & 9, 2023 which was specifically tailored towards community vendors to help inform and prepare local businesses for vending at large events like Riot Fest.
- Riot Fest sponsored the relocation of La Liga’s adult soccer league tournament which coincided with Riot Fest.
- Riot Fest sponsored the 1st Annual Tree Lighting on the Boulevard in partnership with Alderwoman Monique Scott (24th Ward). Courtesy of Riot Fest, hot chocolate was provided and Santa Claus made an appearance for a fun family evening.
- Riot Fest, in partnership with the Douglass Park Advisory Council, assisted with the ‘Won’t He Do It’ Comedy Show. Complimentary pastries and appetizers were provided by Riot Fest.
- Partners with A Safe Haven Foundation for their annual 5K Run to End Homelessness. Proceeds support the foundation’s mission to help and guide the local community members experiencing homelessness.
- The festival welcomes local food vendors, offering discounted booths within festival grounds, and gives priority to local restaurants when purchasing meals and fulfilling hospitality riders for artists and crew. Riot Fest has also promoted and amplified local businesses and restaurants surrounding the festival each year.
- Local Not-For-Profits and organizations receive donated booth space at the festival, so they can raise funds and promote their mission to the tens of thousands of Riot Fest attendees at the festival.
- Partnered with Sing-Me-A-Story and both community hospitals in a music program that takes children in different programs in the hospitals to write a song with one of the festival bands records at an onsite studio during the festival. Riot Fest management has also devoted some time to mentor kids and give them an inside look at operations and set- up of venue, and day of show reveal.
- Partnered with WKQX 101.1 radio station for their You Give and You Get program. Recruited volunteers for the All Chicago – YPN Ikea build out. Volunteers helped put together furniture, which was then donated and delivered to 20 families experiencing homelessness who received a new apartment/home from All Chicago. In return for their time, they received complimentary Riot Fest passes.
- Supported the National Museum of Mexican Art for their 2022 Gala de Arte. This event is critical in generating funding to support the museum.
- Merch fundraiser held in 2021 and 2022 for Brave Space Alliance. The first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ+ Center located on the South Side of Chicago and designed to create and provide affirming and culturally competent services for the entire LGBTQ+ community of Chicago.
- Donated to True Star Foundation for ‘From The Go Fest.’ True Star donation provides over 500 Chicago youth with after-school and summer apprenticeship programs annually, giving teens an opportunity to learn new skills and training of different professions.
- Riot Fest participates in and donates to the community’s annual bike drive that promotes health and positive actions in the community. Also donated supplies to and participated in the Bike the Boulevard event in the summer of 2022.
Community Youth + Sports Highlights
- Partnered with the Chicago Fire FC to bring their “Soccer in the Community” program to local youth free of charge to Douglass Park + North Lawndale residents.
- Supplied grants to America SCORES Chicago, which helped fund their after school programming at local schools called Literacy in Action, a free after school initiative that integrates soccer, poetry, and public service education.
- Partnership with North Lawndale Eagles football team to help support their annual football banquet and sports team. The North Lawndale Eagles football team provides at-risk youth with a safe outlet for physical fitness and team-building skills.
- Coordinated a field trip to the Chicago White Sox baseball game for the kids of Douglass Park Summer Program.
- Coordinated and donated to annual Holiday Drives for toys, coats, clothing and household supplies which directly benefit the children and families of the Douglass Park and surrounding communities.
- Funded special recreation programming at Douglass Park with DPAC.
- Funded program and partnership between North Lawndale College Prep and Free Spirit Media to educate students on music business, film and photography
- Funded Westside Cultural Foundation with a donation to Chicago Westside Music Festival
- Funded a Champion Sponsor donation for Saint Anthony Hospital Foundation
- Supports local Back to School Festival, where book bags and school supplies are provided for students free of cost.
- Funded after school guitar lessons program for students at Hammond Elementary.
- Funded a pilot music program at Our Lady of Tepeyac Elementary School
- Organized meet-and-greets with local students and festival artists such as Ice Cube & Psalm One
- Invited and collected on-site skateboard donations for local organization, froSkate. froSkate exists to provide inclusive experiences, resources and equity for BIPOC, non-traditional skateboarding community.