Riot Fest Co-Founder Sean McKeough Dies at Age 42

Billboard

Sean P. McKeough, co-founder of the annual rock festival Riot Fest, died Tuesday night. A statement posted on Riot Fest's website confirms that the event "lost an irreplaceable part of its closely-knit family." McKeough was 42.

Founded in Chicago in 2005, Riot Fest has since expanded to become one of the country's biggest and most influential rock festivals, with a specialty in reunited headliners, like The Replacements in 2013 and The Misfits in 2016. In 2012, the fest became a multi-day occasion and also expanded to multiple cities throughout North America.


In addition to his work with Riot Fest, McKeough also owned the Chicago-area Cobra Lounge venue and the adjoining All Rise Brewing brewery.

Michael Petryshyn (a.k.a. Riot Mike), McKeough's Riot Fest partner, issued the following statement on the festival's website:

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.  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.

Our thoughts are with the entire McKeough family and his beloved partner Erin.  You were the closest people to him and without your constant love and support for Sean, his unimaginable impact on thousands of lives may have never been realized.

Sean, I will forever be indebted to you.  I love you, brother and I'll make sure that Riot Fest never loses its purpose or vision… the one you saw before any of us.

No details have yet been made public about the circumstances of McKeough's passing. Billboard has reached out to Riot Fest for further details.