Riot Fest announces new location and issues a statement: "Simply, we were duped"
After being denied special-use permits required by Arapahoe County, Riot Fest has moved its 2014 festival from May Farms outside Byers to Sports Authority Field at Mile High in downtown Denver. The dates (September 19 to 21) and schedule (see below) are unchanged. Previously purchased tickets will be honored as-is, and camping refunds will be issued starting today. Riot Fest will also offer free parking.
Aaron Thackeray A fan at Riot Fest last year in Byers
In addition to announcing the new location, the festival has issued a lengthy statement on the entire ordeal, including a letter from founder Mike Petryshyn. In it, he passionately expresses his connection with the family who owns May Farms and his anger at the County's decision. "And we all know if we were named Good Ole Country Riot Fest, we would have never been in this situation," it ends. You can read the whole thing below.
Riot Fest plans to lay down turf on the Sports Authority parking lot and go ahead with its planned carnival. It also plans to "recreate May Farms" in the shadow of the stadium by "bringing all the things people love about May Farms (tractors, hay bales, etc) together with all the things to love about a country fair (rides, a pie eating contest, apple bobbing and more). Even the stages and vendor rows have been renamed to indicate Riot Fest's support of Byers, Colorado."
Some of those changes, including the renamed stages (Byers American Feed and Supply Stage, Byers General Store Stage, May Farms Stage and The Whatever Store Stage) can be seen in the illustration below.
Riot Fest also announced an unusual partnership with the town of Byers, detailed in the release:
• Any Byers resident who wants to come to Riot Fest this year will receive complimentary tickets as well as free daily shuttle service to and from May Farms and Sports Authority Field. Details will be announced next week on how residents can sign-up for this.
• Riot Fest will also allow several Byers businesses and other I-70 Corridor businesses who supported them free vending space at no cost.
• Riot Fest has also announced a $5,000 scholarship to be awarded to one graduating senior who plans on majoring in music, arts, business or marketing. Riot Fest has now asked other partners, industry friends and other Colorado businesses to contribute in hopes of getting that scholarship up to $20,000.
The festival plans to appeal Arapahoe County's decision.
Statement from Riot Fest Founder Mike Petryshyn
Before I begin what will probably be a long-winded concerto of a statement, it has to be stated with deafening clarity that we wanted to make Byers, Colorado our home for Riot Fest for years to come. It's a community we care about tremendously, just like Humboldt Park, in Chicago and just to pack up and watch the town disappear in our rear window is not an option.
In just over a year, we became part of the May Family and Gary, Stacie and their children became part of ours... the relationship is beyond normal kinship. And, I wish I wasn't hunting for words in describing the bond between our two families -- a perfectly succinct account for the fans. But, it's hard enough writing about the Mays and the deeper I dig to find words, the harder it becomes to explain. There's no defense mechanism for this one to hide or bury inside a wrinkle... I'm just tremendously sad.
At the same time, I am utterly incensed. Elementary ideological forces and manipulation veiled in contradictory legal jargon prevented us from coming back to May Farms this year. Simply, we were duped. Certain groups, residents and so forth did not want YOU or US in their town, and there is something morally dishonest and unforgiveable with their actions. Sean and I have been mum throughout this entire ordeal, but that will stop today. We have officially filed an appeal with Arapahoe County as of this morning and, needless to say, we are doing this because we are in the right. I cannot fathom that in 2014 certain social mores grounded in revulsion and irrationality, of course, by a limited howling few, can inflict such harm in a town or in a county. It's disgusting and these people should feel ashamed. I will refrain from commenting any more on these matters, but, with complete conviction and certitude, more will come to light and all fans will know what precisely transpired.
The statement continues on the next page, where you'll also find the festival's schedule.