Ted Nugent performs during his 2019 tour. (Photo courtesy of tednugent.com)

Ted Nugent performs during his 2019 tour. (Photo courtesy of tednugent.com)

UPDATE: RidgeFest cancelled over flash mob safety concerns

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Editor’s note: Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar said Friday that RidgeFest originally set for July 28-30 was being cancelled for this year out of safety concerns as a result of the teen rampage last weekend at a carnival in Tinley Park. It’s the second area event called off because of the threat of teen flash mobs. Evergreen Park’s Most Holy Redeemer Parish called off its annual parish carnival set for mid-June earlier in the week citing the same safety concerns.

By Dermot Connolly 

There will be no “Cat Scratch Fever” at RidgeFest this year after the Chicago Ridge Village Board did not approve the contract drawn up to bring Ted Nugent back to the popular summer festival being held July 28-30 at Freedom Park.

Nugent’s performances at RidgeFest in 2007, 2011 and 2013 drew big crowds. When it was announced The Motor City Madman would be returning this year, nearly 450 people “liked” the April 21 notice on the RidgeFest Facebook page.

However, due to Nugent’s vocal support of Donald Trump and vitriol toward Democrats, the thought of him returning drew criticism on Facebook, too. The announcement turned out to be premature, because the Village Board did not get a chance to vote on any of the RidgeFest entertainment contracts until the May 16 village board meeting.

Nugent’s contract was among 10 related to RidgeFest on the agenda, and Trustee Elaine Davenport asked for a separate vote on all of them because deposits had already been submitted for a few before the board saw them.

“I brought this up at time last year, and we were told changes would be made. But here we are again,” said Davenport, who said she had to resort to issuing Freedom of Information requests to even find out if deposits were made.

“It completely takes away from our role as trustees. We are not rubber stamps,” said Davenport. She pointed out that three re-elected trustees were sworn in earlier at the meeting—Bill McFarland, Roger Meslar and Jack Lind—and approving “unauthorized expenditures” goes against the ordinances they swore to uphold.

“I think we talked about that last year. I went through all of them and I could have questioned the language on some of these if we had a chance to see them earlier,” said Meslar.

While the contracts had not been signed, Mayor Chuck Tokar, who leads the RidgeFest organizing committee, acknowledged that deposits were made on a few with time constraints, including half put down on the $67,500 contract for Nugent.

“From what I have read, it doesn’t seem like the deposits are refundable,” said Meslar.

“There has been a deposit on Nugent but it is refundable,” said Tokar. “Generally, they are standardized contracts. But I have had a long-term relationship with these (booking agents) since we started doing this in 1989. We have never had a problem if we have canceled something.”

In the end, the board did approve most of the contracts. Some by a 6-0 margin for popular acts like the Jesse White Tumblers and Dave DiNaso’s reptile show. But music acts such as BTE and Listen to the Music were approved 4-3, with Tokar casting the tie-breaker. Only Davenport voted against Led Zeppelin II, a tribute band, again because of the down payment.

When Nugent’s contract came up for discussion, Meslar said he had concerns because the rider seemed to contract the main contract, and the language appeared to protect Nugent against responsibility if there were problems at the concert.

“That is a genuine concern. I would agree with you there,” said Tokar.

“I just don’t think it would be a good contract. The language in the rider is much broader and appears to indemnify Nugent,” said Meslar.

So, when the contract was brought up for a vote, it died for lack of a second and no vote was taken.

Trustee Ed Kowalski described Nugent as a “polarizing figure” after the meeting, but his political views were not the problem. “In the end, our job is to protect the citizens of Chicago Ridge and the contract did not do that.”

“Unfortunately, the board did not take a vote on Ted Nugent so I don’t think he will be appearing at RidgeFest,” said Tokar, who was working this week on finding a replacement and hoped to have an answer by Friday.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/CRRidgeFest

38 Comments

  1. Bill McClain on May 24, 2023 at 2:53 pm

    This is ridiculous . Wake up it’s freedom of speech. Ted is a true patriot if he was transgender you wouldn’t cancel him. It’s funny how the left can say whatever they want but if you disagree with them you are just horrible. Stop being cowards.



    • Jody rice on May 24, 2023 at 11:41 pm

      Lol true patriot? You do realize he dedicated on himself to avoid being drafted and defending our freedom.



      • Jon on May 26, 2023 at 6:04 am

        I don’t blame him as Vietnam had nothing to do with our freedom. Too bad all of the men back then didn’t do that to take a stand against BS wars.



      • Jon on May 26, 2023 at 6:07 am

        The Vietnam war had nothing to do with defending our freedom. It’s a shame all the military & men didn’t take a stand back then to the BS “war”.



      • William William on May 27, 2023 at 8:02 pm

        Just crazy where is freedom of speech in this country? you should be thrown out of office



    • L Robinson on May 25, 2023 at 1:16 am

      Just shut the fuck up Bill! We don’t want that TRUMP LOVING ASSHOLE performing here! I wish we could CANCEL him and CANCEL your pathetic ass!



      • Jon on May 26, 2023 at 6:07 am

        Speak for yourself. Our country was so much better off with him in office.



    • Tom M on May 25, 2023 at 9:56 am

      It’s not a freedom of speech issue besides, Nugent sucks. He’s a washed up, jerk off, has-been.



    • Mick on May 25, 2023 at 11:27 am

      Did he marry a child that he adopted



    • Gwen Brookes on May 25, 2023 at 5:54 pm

      Ted makes the poor widdle snowflakes cry , the left attacks him while cheering for scum like Roman Polanski or Woody Allen, stupid is as leftists say and do



      • Jeff on May 27, 2023 at 3:30 am

        The right has it’s idiots as well. Look at Majorie Taylor Greene.



      • Dr. Tad Vogl on May 27, 2023 at 9:29 pm

        You ought to hold a conversation with a Democrat as you seem only to have deranged, cartoonish, and worst of all, false, notion of who we are.



    • Jtaps on May 27, 2023 at 11:39 am

      The whole fest is cancelled now anyways because of that bs in Tinley Park a week ago



  2. Bryan on May 24, 2023 at 3:51 pm

    Well, no need for me to go, guess it’s back to being overcharged for garbage entertainment



  3. Bryan on May 24, 2023 at 4:02 pm

    Is it just because the liberal left cried? Or because we know they would be the ones to turn things violent because their feeling got hurt?



  4. Michael Cleve on May 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Politics at RidgeFest? We aren’t in the city my friends. Grow a pair.



    • METAL DAVE on May 25, 2023 at 10:44 am

      IF TED NUGENT ISNT THERE I’M NOT GOING THEIR OTHER MUSIC SUCKS



      • Richard cranium on May 29, 2023 at 1:39 pm

        Watch how many villages cancel 4th of July celebrations because off these skids. Looks like Indiana will make a lot more money on fireworks this year cause Illinois is only one of a few states where there are illegal, but terrorism is. What a joke.



    • Me on May 25, 2023 at 12:05 pm

      Surprised Ted would want Illinois money any how.. dirty dem money!! He don’t need it.. !!



  5. Jody Rice on May 24, 2023 at 11:37 pm

    Wow all politics aside, he’s an avg musician who’s biggest hits are wang dang sweet poontsng and cat scratch fever. I outgrew this moron by the time I was 12



  6. Jenifer on May 25, 2023 at 6:59 am

    Well fuck that fest then.



  7. Richie on May 25, 2023 at 9:12 am

    I agree with others. Due to the Contract not protecting people? Yeah right. More like they don’t like his political views so they canned him. They can say it’s not about that but i find it odd that the country just so happens to be in political turmoil and ted is likely one of the most outspoken rock n rollers ever. And as Someone else said. The left can say whatever they want and it’s “oh its okay freedom of speech!” Then the right speaks up and it’s considered unacceptable and dangerous and all of a sudden your canceled and freedom of speech is no longer the discussion.



  8. Rob on May 25, 2023 at 10:14 am

    The contract says he isn’t responsible for anything bad that happens. All you pro Nugent people wouldn’t have a problem if he was responsible for whatever happens then right?



    • James Martin on May 25, 2023 at 2:20 pm

      Why would anything bad happen it’s only liberal peaceful protesters that would show up to protest?



    • Jon on May 26, 2023 at 6:10 am

      He’s an entertainer, why would he be held accountable for anything other than not performing



  9. Mick on May 25, 2023 at 11:31 am

    Did he marry a child he adopted ?
    Talk about grooming ?



  10. Alice on May 25, 2023 at 11:45 am

    We will be looking for other family entertainment. The Jesse White Tumblers headliners. Really?



  11. Wayne Trosper on May 25, 2023 at 11:55 am

    Its called Freedom Of Speech Mrs Davenport. RidgeFest gets worse every year! Hope you are proud of yourselves….
    My $ will stay in my pocket this year…



  12. Donnie T on May 25, 2023 at 2:15 pm

    Well it doesnt matter anyway, the little black flash mob will ruin the whole festival.



  13. Rick Rezzardi on May 25, 2023 at 2:20 pm

    Ban chicago Ridge that liberal ass suburb



  14. Sean McCarthy on May 25, 2023 at 2:39 pm

    Maybe they can hire drag queens! Dumbass people!



  15. Timothy Higgins on May 25, 2023 at 2:56 pm

    When did Ted Nugent not have comments about certain things guys awesome and if you gave them up when you were 12 years old how the h*** are? You now I seen him alive. When I was 16 in 1974 at soldiers field. The guy was a killer along with leonard skinner ariel speedwagon journey and thirty eight special.



  16. Uncle Sam on May 25, 2023 at 7:26 pm

    Let The Great White Buffalo Roam Freely!



  17. Dirk Diggler on May 25, 2023 at 9:05 pm

    Word is Ted will be replaced with a transgender Asian midget juggler.



  18. Paul on May 26, 2023 at 12:51 am

    So if theybare canceling performers due to political stances. Then maybe that entire board should get replaced. I’d choose Nugent over some snakes or some kids tumbling around anyway.



  19. Paul on May 26, 2023 at 12:54 am

    Hold a.private event close by and have nugent come play . See who’s louder and draws a bigger crowd. Bet they won’t “cancel” him next year. Not that he would attend after this nonsense.



  20. Frank on May 26, 2023 at 9:20 pm

    SNOWFLAKES!!!



  21. JF on May 30, 2023 at 11:59 am

    How about the police presence be amped up and come and out say if you wanna come riot bring it , you will regret it. Thanks democratic ideology, let the animals run free, Yes, they are animals



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