“Everyone is just welcome to be themselves”

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NORTH LAWNDALE — The inaugural Heatwave Music Festival drew thousands to Douglass Park this weekend.

The three-stage festival focused on EDM artists, bringing together big names, including Above & Beyond and Tiësto, as well as lesser-known DJs. Fans said they had a great time – although the festival, like others in the park, sparked controversy among neighbours.

“Everyone is so peaceful and loving,” said participant Keenan Artis. “I can just express myself for who I am without anyone judging me.

“You just have to see the diversity of people here and everyone accepting everyone, regardless of 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 RADIUS, Concord Music Hall and PRYSM.

The festival – and other major events in the park – have drawn criticism from some neighbors, however. Some residents said they were tired of being fenced off from their neighborhood park as it hosts Heatwave, Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash and Riot Fest over the summer.

Nearly 1,000 people have signed a petition calling on aldermen to ban large music festivals from the park, saying the festivals prevent neighbors from using the park, damage the park and create noise – while private companies who organize festivals take advantage of this.

RELATED: With much of Douglass Park closed to the public for 3 music festivals, some residents say ‘almost the whole summer is ruined’

Meanwhile, some attendees said they were excited for the first Heatwave Fest to expand next year.

“Everyone is welcome to be themselves,” said participant Flo Lawnicki. “…“I think it’s going to be a lot bigger next year. It’s cool to be one of the first to participate in the first year.

Pascal Sabino contributed to this report.

See photos from the festival here:

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Aaron Taylor (center) headbutts as Dion Timmer performs during day two of the Heatwave Music Festival at Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Festival goers dance as Dion Timmer performs on day two of the Heatwave Music Festival at Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Hagen Haley dances as Blunts and Blondes perform on day two of the inaugural Heatwave Music Festival at Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Miguel Paiz relaxes in an inflatable sofa during day two of the Heatwave Music Festival at Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Sasha Levin dances with a technicolor hoop during the Heatwave Music Festival at Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
A festival goer’s back is covered in grass during the first day of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Fans react as Galantis perform on day one of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Katie, Diana and Jessie exchange bracelets on day one of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 16, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Jorge Rodriguez headbutts as Zeds Dead performs during day two of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Loud Laundry performs on day two of the Heatwave Music Festival at Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Haze Amethyst dances with lights on day two of the Heatwave Music Festival at Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Friends mosh during the Boombox Cartel set on day one of the Heatwave Music Festival at Douglass Park on July 16, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Two Feet performs on day two of the Heatwave Music Festival at Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
People hold stuffed animals during day two of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Sergio Valenzuela reacts as Galantis performs during day one of the Heatwave Music Festival at Douglass Park on July 16, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
A person with a stuffed Grogu from The Mandalorian series walks around during day two of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Bill Nelson and Deandre King dance as Above and Beyond perform on day one of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 16, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
The El Campeón kitchen crew prepare tacos and eat them during day two of the Heatwave Music Festival at Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
A person rests during the second day of the inaugural Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Security guard Clif hands out water to thirsty festival goers on day two of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Chicago police officers stand by during day two of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
People sit near light structures on day one of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 16, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Tiësto performs during day two of the Heatwave Music Festival at Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Chris and Cole dance as Zeds Dead performs on day two of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
People carry a large banana prop as Above and Beyond perform on day one of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 16, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Sam Gelski, center, dons a Zeds Dead tattoo as the electronic duo perform during day two of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Zeds Dead performs on day two of the Heatwave Music Festival at Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Fans begin to leave the festival grounds as the headliners perform on day two of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Chicago police officers stand at the intersection of Sacramento Drive and Ogden Avenue after day two of the Heatwave Music Festival in Douglass Park on July 17, 2022.

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