Chicago Remembers Dave Matthews Band Tour Bus Poop Dumping Incident With Dedicated Plaque: “No One Died That Day, But Many Wish They Had”

Dave Matthews band bridge
Riot Fest

Nineteen years and a day ago, the stinkiest incident Chicago has probably seen since modern-day plumbing occurred.

It has been nineteen years since the Dave Matthews Band tour bus incident, but it is far from forgotten.

In 2004, Dave Matthews Band was on tour and making stops in Chicago. The bus driver thought that unloading the bus’ waste tank while crossing the Kinzie Street Bridge. The bus driver dumped 800 pounds (an equivalent of 55 gallons) of human waste into the river, which unfortunately landed on a river cruise that passed under the bridge.

A horrible place (and illegal) to dump, to begin with; you’d think the driver would have taken a double glance to make sure no one was going to get sh*t on…literally.

Boat passengers on the tour were victims of the dump, leading to ruined clothes, illness, and the trauma of learning they just had poop dumped on them.

While the boat passengers received the worst of it, bystanders were hit with some of the most horrid smells. One woman who was near the bridge recalls:

“The horrifying smell hit us like a tsunami, and I barfed, leaning my head out of the window while I drove, my husband now screaming from the passenger seat.”

While the bus driver did fess up to his wrongdoings, paid a fine, and was on probation for 18 months, the public has a long way to go from forgetting.

In fact, yesterday, on the 19th anniversary of the incident, a local news station reported that the Riot Fest Historical Society (which I don’t believe is a real historical society) dedicated a plaque on the bridge that read:

“No one died that day. But many wish they had.”

While I have many questions regarding the location to dump, I also have questions regarding why there was that much waste being held on the bus.

Surely the tank isn’t big enough to hold 800 pounds of sh*t? Are the members of the Dave Matthews Band okay? Did their bus smell as bad as these bystanders recall?

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock