Why some people complained about pot-friendly music festival in Mundelein

The loudness of performers at a pot-friendly music festival held over the weekend in Mundelein has drawn the ire of some residents living near the event site.

Three people complained about the noise emanating from the Miracle in Mundelein festival - as well as expletives that were audible outside nearby homes - during Monday night's village board meeting.

Dubbed by organizers "an unprecedented cannabis and outdoor concert experience," the two-day festival was staged in the parking lot across the street from the Rise cannabis dispensary, 1325 Armour Blvd.

It featured musical acts including Grammy-winning reggae artist Stephen Marley and Grammy-nominated hip-hop group Cypress Hill. More than 8,000 people attended the event, according to a statement issued Tuesday by Green Thumb Industries, Rise's parent company.

Cannabis consumption was permitted at the festival. Attendees could bring in pot purchased at any Illinois dispensary as long as it was in its original packaging, or ordered from Rise.

People had to be 21 or older to get in. There was no parking at the event, so most attendees either were dropped off and picked up or used shuttle buses to and from a parking lot elsewhere in town.

In its statement, Green Thumb Industries said reaction to the festival from both attendees and local residents has been positive.

That wasn't the case Monday at village hall.

Christine Spisla was the first person who spoke about the festival during the public comment portion of the meeting. She said the performances rattled her windows, shook the floors and made her walls vibrate.

In response, Village Administrator Eric Guenther said sound levels sporadically were checked by police officers during both days of the festival, and the decibel outputs never reached unacceptable levels.

Spisla also complained about a performer's colorful language she and other people heard early Saturday night.

"I want to know if this is how Mundelein wants to (be represented)," Spisla asked.

"Certainly not," Guenther said, adding that her complaint about cursing was the first one he'd heard.

If the festival is held again, Guenther said, officials will caution organizers about language.

Mundelein resident Taylor Straub complained about noise, too. He also expressed concerns about people who might have left the venue high.

Guenther noted that monitors at the event would stop and speak with anyone who seemed overly intoxicated to prevent injury. Additionally, police in and near the remote parking lot were on the lookout for inebriated drivers, he said.

In closing, Straub said he wouldn't want to live in Mundelein if it becomes known for having "open-air drug events."

After thanking Straub for his comments, Mayor Steve Lentz reminded the crowd that Mundelein has been ranked one of the safest communities in the country.

A third resident, Mahendran Ravichandran, complained about the sound generated by the performers as well as curse words he heard from the venue Saturday night when he went outside to play with his kids.

On Tuesday, Interim Police Chief Jason Seeley said police issued only one ticket, for trespassing, during the festival. No more serious charges were filed.

The person cited for trespassing had refused to leave despite being removed from the venue by security, Seeley said. The person eventually departed via a ride-hailing service.

The fire department didn't respond to any calls at the festival, Chief Bill Lark said.

As for noise, Guenther said officials will take the complaints into account if another music festival is planned.

Green Thumb Industries said its team worked closely with village staffers to ensure sound levels would be "within appropriate limits for a gathering of this size."

The company also said it welcomes any feedback and looks forward to working with the village and community to address any concerns for future events.

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A pot-friendly music festival held this past weekend near Mundelein's Rise cannabis dispensary, shown here in 2020, drew complaints from some residents at Monday's village board meeting. Daily Herald File Photo, 2020
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