Sean P. McKeough, co-founder of the popular annual festival Riot Fest, died on Tuesday, according to a statement posted on the festival's website. He was 42. The cause of death remains unknown.
In a statement, McKeough's partner Mike Petryshyn said, "Sean was Riot Fest's pillar of strength. I loved him. I admired him. And to lose him is a lonely and barren feeling. I miss my friend immensely. Without Sean and his belief that a little fest could make a positive impact on people's lives by doing things differently and left of the dial, Riot Fest would have never become such an intimate family.
"His Herculean-sized heart and volition made that all possible," Petryshyn added. "Anyone lucky enough to have witnessed his kindness and compassion knows Sean's muddy work boots will never be filled. It's impossible … he cared when no one else did. He worked when no one else did. And, he believed in Riot Fest when no one else did."
Founded in 2005, Riot Fest began as a multi-venue event in Chicago focusing on punk, metal and their numerous offshoots. The festival attracted an eclectic array of acts, including Weezer, Danzig, Bad Brains, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Social Distortion. In 2012, Riot Fest moved to a single space in Chicago, Humboldt Park, and expanded to other cities, including Brooklyn, Toronto and Dallas. Over the past few years, Riot Fest settled in Chicago and Denver and has become known for both its diverse lineups and ability to reunite acts like the Replacements and the Misfits with Glenn Danzig.
Along with his work at Riot Fest, McKeough owned the Chicago venue Cobra Lounge and recently launched All Rise Brewing brewery.