The punk rock Riot Fest turns out large numbers making a pit stop in Chicago, featuring top acts like Slayer, The Offspring, and Social Distortion.
There’s been a rumor going around Riot Fest is trying to be as big as Lollapalooza and if this year’s fest is any indication, they’re headed in the right direction. Seeing the countless bands and massive crowds, it’s safe to say the now ten-year-old Riot Fest has gone mainstream and to dedicated fest followers.
Once deemed as an alternative/punk fest, Riot Fest served up bands like Wu Tang Clan, Die Antwoord, Tegan and Sara, and icon Patti Smith, bringing in a new vibe and decidedly a young and old demographic. Old schoolers need not fret for there were still plenty of punk icons like Chicago’s Naked Raygun, 7 Seconds, Buzzcocks, Social Distortion, and The Descendants, to give the masses something to mosh about. A plethora of new talent played on secondary stages as well.
The most unpredictable thing about Riot Fest would be the famous Chicago weather. Fans braved the rain and moshed in the mud on the first day of the fest to see acts like Slayer, NOFX, Mastodon, The Offspring, and Jane’s Addiction. Fate left the rest of the weekend sunny and mild in order to sop up all the mud. It makes one wonder if Riot Fest is eventually going to outgrow Chicago’s West side Humboldt Park where it seems to have laid solid roots.
This year’s fest compared to the last two held at the same locale was massive. So big the entire park was utilized this year with an addition of more sponsored stages and even a haunted house, Zombie Containment Unit 9, run by Chicago’s own Zombie Army Productions.
Although the fest isn’t as intimate as it once used to be, production moved like a well oiled machine save for some weather related issues. Riot Fest works with communities using local beer, food, and attraction vendors, in order to make each Riot Fest location feel like home while at the same time supporting local economy.
Adding a carnival in the mix makes it not only just a music fest but more of an overall experience. The three day passes sold out and tickets were more expensive in the days leading up to the event, it is advised to keep your eyes peeled for their early bird tickets because those can save you hundreds on bands you know you’re going to want to see. Â Save the date, make plans and be sure to pack a back up pair of soggy bog boots for Riot Fest 2015.Â You’re going to want to add this festival to your bucket list.