Riot Fest

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Riot Fest
Lemuria Riot Fest 2014.jpg
Genre Punk rock, rock, alternative rock
Dates September 2–4, 2016 (Denver), September 16–18, 2016 (Chicago)
Location(s) Denver, Chicago
Years active 2005–current

Riot Fest (also known as Riot Fest & Carnival) is a multi-day music festival. Riot Fest specializes in rock, punk, alternative rock, and hip hop. Riot Fest is known for booking reunions, guest performances, and full album performances.[1] First started as a multi-venue festival in Chicago in 2005, Riot Fest has since expanded to Denver and Toronto.

Musical styles[edit]

The majority of bands that play Riot Fest fall somewhere on the punk spectrum with punk rock, new wave and hardcore punk being the most heavily represented genres. Emo, alternative rock, pop punk, ska and metalcore have also had a strong presence at Riot Fest. The occasionally novelty hip hop, psychobilly, thrash metal, post-hardcore and indie pop bands have also appeared at Riot Fest.

Local Chicago bands that have played Riot Fest include Naked Raygun, The Lawrence Arms, Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, Fall Out Boy, Screeching Weasel, Flatfoot 56, The Tossers and Slapstick .


Riot Fest began in Chicago in 2005. Riot Fest spent seven years as a multi-venue festival, using the Metro, Subterranean, Double Door, Cobra Lounge and the Congress Theater to present bands over a three-day weekend, such as Social Distortion, Danzig, Cock Sparrer, Weezer, Alkaline Trio, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Bad Brains, Dead Milkmen, Fun., The Lawrence Arms, Bad Religion, Murder City Devils, Butthole Surfers, Suicide Machines, and more.

Punk, rock, indie rock, alternative, psychobilly, metal, skate punk and ska are represented at Riot Fest along with reunion sets from Naked Raygun, Screeching Weasel, WAX, Blue Meanies, Articles of Faith, Plow United, Jesus and Mary Chain, Chiodos, The Misfits, and The Replacements.


In 2012, Riot Fest moved from various venues around the city to an outdoors venue at Chicago’s Humboldt Park and was marketed as Riot Fest & Carnival, with rides, games, wrestling, and food vendors. 2012 also saw the festival expand through North America with events staged in Brooklyn (September 8), Toronto (September 9), and Dallas (September 22).[2] The festival consisted of two days of music at Humboldt park on Saturday, September 15 and Sunday, September 16th and a Friday night kickoff at the Congress Theater. The lineup for Riot Fest in 2012 included:

Friday, September 14: The Offspring, Neon Trees, Pegboy, Dead Sara

Saturday, September 15: Rise Against, Descendents, Dropkick Murphys, Coheed and Cambria, Slapstick, The Gaslight Anthem, Minus the Bear, Andrew W.K., Hot Water Music, August Burns Red, Gwar, Frank Turner, The Adicts, Cursive, Nobunny, Of Mice & Men, Deals Gone Bad, A Wilhelm Scream, Teenage Bottlerocket, Larry and His Flask, Off With Their Heads, The Story So Far, Fireworks, Droids Attack, Environmental Encroachment

Sunday, September 16 Iggy And The Stooges, Gogol Bordello, Alkaline Trio, A Day to Remember, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, The Jesus and Mary Chain, NOFX, Awolnation, Built To Spill, Chiodos, The Promise Ring, Less Than Jake, Fishbone, Reverend Horton Heat, Imagine Dragons, Henry Clay People, Blackbox, Screaming Females, White Mystery, Sister Crayon, Japanther, The Infected, Battle Royal Winner, Environmental Encroachment


Riot Fest & Carnival returned to Humboldt Park in Chicago in 2013 and included satellite festivals in Toronto (August 24–25) and Denver (September 21–22).[3] The 2013 festival was noted for being the first performance by reunited punk legends The Replacements and notably the first performance by the band in Chicago since their very public breakup onstage at the Taste of Chicago in 1991.[4] The 2013 Chicago lineup included:

Friday, September 13: Fall Out Boy, Sublime with Rome, Danzig with Doyle, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Bad Religion, Atmosphere, Yellowcard, Screeching Weasel, Andrew W.K., Gwar, Hatebreed, Smoking Popes, Dessa, Saul Williams, The Flatliners, Masked Intruder, Flatfoot 56, Environmental Encroachment

Saturday, September 14: Blink-182, Violent Femmes, Rancid, Blondie, Public Enemy, FLAG, Guided by Voices, Taking Back Sunday, Dinosaur Jr., X, DeVotchKa, Pennywise, Best Coast, The Lawrence Arms, Glassjaw, The Devil Wears Prada, The Selecter, T.S.O.L., Stars, The Dear Hunter, Surfer Blood, The Interrupters, Empires, New Beat Fund, Radkey, Mephiskapheles, Kitten, Environmental Encroachment

Sunday, September 15: The Replacements, Pixies, AFI, Brand New, All Time Low, Pierce the Veil, Rocket from the Crypt, The Dismemberment Plan, The Broadways, Against Me!, Bob Mould, The Lillingtons, Suicidal Tendencies, Quicksand, Bad Books, Mission of Burma, Saves the Day, Bayside, Peter Hook and The Light, Reggie and the Full Effect, The Wonder Years, Maps & Atlases, Chuck Ragan, Memphis May Fire, Peelander-Z, Touché Amoré, Off with Their Heads, Deal's Gone Bad, Twin Peaks, White Mystery, Direct Hit!, Pet Symmetry, Hostage Calm, Environmental Encroachment


In September 2014 Riot Festival & Carnival returned to Humboldt Park however this was the last year Riotfest was held in Humboldt park. Roberto Maldonado who had been a supporter of Riot fest in the past stated he would not have riot fest back for 2015. This was due to damages to the park which was a result of heavy raining during the festival. the repairs cost 150,000 dollars.[5] Riot Fest 2014 included the inaugural "Riot Fest Speaks" panel, moderated by Henry Rollins and featuring Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina, Bad Religion vocalist and UCLA professor Greg Graffin, Rise Against vocalist Tim McIlrath, writer/activist Marcelle Karp, and Riot Fest founder Michael Petryshyn. In addition, 2014 saw the return of Riot Fest in Denver and Toronto. The 2014 Chicago lineup included

Friday, September 12: Jane's Addiction, Rise Against, Slayer, The Offspring, NOFX, Gogol Bordello, Of Mice & Men, Mastodon, The Murder City Devils, Failure, Circa Survive, Clutch, GWAR, Stiff Little Fingers, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, We Came as Romans, Senses Fail, All, Title Fight, Emarosa, Pity Sex, From Indian Lakes, The Hotelier, Radkey, Pianos Become the Teeth, Red City Radio, Baby Baby, Wounds, Plague Vendor, Somos, ¡Vamos!

Saturday, September 13: The National, The Flaming Lips, Wu-Tang Clan, Samhain, Descendents, Metric, Taking Back Sunday, Die Antwoord, City and Colour, Paul Weller, The Used, The Afghan Whigs, Cock Sparrer, Dashboard Confessional, Television, Saosin, Say Anything, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Tokyo Police Club, The Dandy Warhols, The Get Up Kids, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Streetlight Manifesto, Buzzcocks, Face to Face, Wavves, The Orwells, Rx Bandits, Samiam, 7 Seconds, Anti-Flag, FrnkIero And The Cellabration, Citizen, The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, Lemuria, The Pizza Underground, Nostalghia, Skaters, The Unlikely Candidates, Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas, The Bots, Broncho, The American Scene, Restorations, The Picturebooks, Rose's Pawn Shop, The Crombies, Ex Friends, Daniel Wade, Buffalo Rodeo

Sunday, September 14: The Cure, Weezer, Social Distortion, Primus, Tegan and Sara, Cheap Trick, Patti Smith, Bring Me the Horizon, Dropkick Murphys, Naked Raygun, Superchunk, Billy Bragg, The Hold Steady, Blue Meanies, Lucero, New Found Glory, Mudhoney, Hot Snakes, Motion City Soundtrack, Andrew W.K., The Bouncing Souls, Kurt Vile & the Violators, Mineral, La Dispute, Only Crime, The Menzingers, The Front Bottoms, Silverstein, The Whigs, In The Valley Below, Modern Baseball, I Am the Avalanche, Laura Stevenson, Cerebral Ballzy, Pup, Dads, ShowYouSuck, Lucki Eck$, My Gold Mask, Tiny Moving Parts, Team Spirit, Survay Says!, Chumped, Archie Powell & the Exports, Netherfriends, Mutts, The Grizzled Mighty


Conflicts over the condition of grass and negative effects on the community, including gentrification and lack of financial benefits to the residents of the area led to the festival being moved To Douglas park.[6] After settling on a new Location, Saint Anthony hospital filed a lawsuit against Riot fest on September 4th. in the lawsuit, Saint Anthony argued that the festival would be detrimental to their patients health because of the "extreme noise” and that because of the heavy traffic traffic that surround the hospital.[7]

But the two sides reached an agreement which included "...restoring parking on 19th Street in front of Saint Anthony Hospital, building pedestrian barricades on the west side of California Avenue and sound monitoring within the hospital to protect patients." [8]

The 2015 Chicago lineup included

Friday, September 11: No Doubt, Faith No More, Motorhead, Ice Cube with DJ Yella and MC Ren, Alkaline Trio, Coheed and Cambria, Flogging Molly, Slightly Stoopid, Thrice, Dirty Heads, Anthrax, Eagles of Death Metal, Against Me!, Bayside, Mest, Atreyu, Lee Scratch Perry, The Expendables, Living Colour, Fishbone, Death, Mariachi El Bronx, CIV, Every Time I Die, Real Friends, 88 Fingers Louie, Mustard Plug, Into It. Over It., Post Malone With FKi, Chef'Special, Barb Wire Dolls, The Coathangers, Prayers, Speedy Ortiz, White Mystery, Ground Up, Skinny Lister, Alex Wiley, Heems, Psalm One, Dreamers, Faulkner

Saturday, September 12: System of a Down, Iggy Pop, Rancid, Billy Idol, Taking Back Sunday, Drive Like Jehu, Merle Haggard, Alexisonfire, The Academy Is..., The Lawrence Arms, Echo & The Bunnymen, Bootsy Collins' Rubber Band, The Damned, Pennywise, The Devil Wears Prada, Mayday Parade, Babes in Toyland, Desaparecidos, The Joy Formidable, The Dead Milkmen, Fidlar, Millencolin, American Nightmare, Swervedriver, Gwar, Lifetime, Joyce Manor, The Movielife, Steve Ignorant and Paranoid Visions, The Dear Hunter, The Ataris, Modern Life is War, Fit for Rivals, Flatfoot 56, Teenage Bottlerocket, Chon, Counterpunch, Direct Hit!, Dirty Fences, Sleep On It, The Brokedowns, Meat Wave, Elway, Indian Handcrafts, Pears, Clowns

Saturday also saw the return of the "Riot Fest Speaks" panel series, once again moderated by Henry Rollins. The panel featured Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin of the West Memphis Three, discussing their history and the contribution of music activism to their release from prison. They were joined for the panel by Thurston Moore and former Crass vocalist Steve Ignorant.

Sunday, September 13: Modest Mouse, The Prodigy, Snoop Dogg, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, Tenacious D, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, L7, Stephen "Ragga" Marley, Kongos, Cypress Hill, Yelawolf, The Airborne Toxic Event, Manchester Orchestra, De La Soul, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, New Politics, Jimmy Cliff, Andrew W.K., Less Than Jake, The Thurston Moore Band, Morgan Heritage, Doomtree, Hum, Tarrus Riley, The Dwarves, Tommy Stinson, Kevin Devine, Jo Mersa, Alvvays, The White Buffalo, Black-Am-I, Skip Marley, Knuckle Puck, Jazz Cartier, Have Mercy, Superheaven, Foxing, Beach Slang, Cayetana, Blis, Northern Faces, Souvenirs, Skating Polly, Signals Midwest, Modern Chemistry, Tashsa the Amazon, Foxtrott, Twin River, Indian School

Sunday also featured an additional "Riot Fest Speaks" panel, entitled Basement Screams, on Chicago's independent and punk scenes. The panel was moderated by Metro Chicago owner/founder Joe Shanahan and included Rise Against bassist Joe Principe, Naked Raygun lead vocalist Jeff Pezzati, The Lawrence Arms bassist/vocalist Brendan Kelly, Bloodshot Records founder Nan Warshaw, The Bollweevils vocalist Daryl Wilson, and Oz owner Dem Hopkins. Sunday also included a performance by "punk poet" John Cooper Clarke and a surprise side stage performance from Taking Back Sunday


On May 12, 2016 it was announced that after 33 years, the Misfits lineup of Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only and Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein would reunite and headline the Riot Fest in Chicago and Denver in September 2016.

The Chicago lineup includes:

Friday, September 16: The Flaming Lips, Ween, Julian Marley, The Specials, Jimmy Eat World, NOFX, Refused, Pierce the Veil, All Time Low, Glassjaw, Pepper, Meat Puppets, Dan Deacon, Gwar, The Anniversary, Set Your Goals, Neck Deep, Highly Suspect, Fu Manchu, Girls Against Boys, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Tigers Jaw, Basement, Touché Amoré, Diarrhea Planet, Big D and the Kids Table, Citizen, Turnover, Violent Soho, Off with Their Heads, Holy White Hounds, Laura Stevenson, Somos, 3Teeth, The Wans, Jule Vera, Worriers, Eskimeaux, The Far East, Bad Cop/Bad Cop

Saturday, September 17: Morrissey, Death Cab for Cutie, Social Distortion, Nas, Brand New, Fitz and The Tantrums, Descendents, Motion City Soundtrack, The Hives, Bob Mould, The Hold Steady, Method Man & Redman, GZA, Smoking Popes, The Vandals, Fucked Up, I the Mighty, The Toasters, Hippo Campus, Balance and Composure, People Under the Stairs, White Lung, Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas, Dee-1, Brick + Mortar, Night Riots, Plague Vendor, Microwave, Death Spells, Deal's Gone Bad, Black Foxxes, The Walters, Nots, Donna Missal, Tasha the Amazon, Blackbox, High Waisted, Summer Cannibals, Partner, Kitten Forever, Sleepy Kitty, School of Rock

Sunday, September 18: Misfits, Rob Zombie, Sleater-Kinney, Deftones, Bad Religion, Underoath, Thursday, Jake Bugg, Death Grips, The Julie Ruin, Joey Badass, Chevy Metal, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Tiger Army, The Wonder Years, Dee Snider, Andrew W.K., Leftöver Crack, Billy Talent, The Falcon, Juliette and the Licks, frnkiero andthe patience, The Bronx, Pouya, Swingin' Utters, Denzel Curry, Bleached, Creeper, Tancred, Marina City, Syd Arthur, The Dirty Nil, The So So Glos, Big Ups, All Dogs, War on Women, Hard Girls, A Will Away, Can't Swim, With Our Arms to the Sun, The Gallow Walkers, School of Rock

2015 Safety Issues[edit]

Saturday night's System of a Down set had to be halted for nearly 15 minutes[9] due to safety concerns. Multiple attendees took to Reddit in the immediate aftermath to relate their experiences. Initial descriptions include:

″I had fallen several times along with multiple other people, dogpiling on top of each other. I also don't remember any of the music played because I was in survival mode. I couldn't even be crowdsurfed out because everybody was so sardined and fighting for themselves.″ [10] ″I nearly got trampled and had to be crowd surfed to the front where they took us to the side where it was still crowded. The EMS couldn't get to the front and the security was screaming for people to stop trying to get over the barrier to the medic station.″[11] ″I saw what looked two dead guys in the back of a four wheeler during System and helped pull a guy out with blood all over his face. Has anyone heard anything?″[12]

On Tuesday September 15th posted an account of the issues from Steve Schneider.

“I fell over during System of a Down, then someone fell on top of me so I couldn’t breathe…Then once they got up, someone else fell on top of me. It was never ending. At one point I had someone on top of my back, and someone either sitting or standing on my head, pushing my face down into mud. I couldn’t breathe the entire time, but then any breath I could take I was close to inhaling muddy water. It was the scariest thing in my entire life cause I had no idea how long I’d be trapped for. Apparently System of a Down had to stop playing so paramedics could get me out, I was unconscious at that point so I have no memory of it. Both of my eyes are blood red from passing out due to lack of air + someone crushing my head + screaming for my life.”[13]


Two instances of Riot Fest have been canceled over the course of the festival's run.

The first came in 2009 in the form of Riot Fest West, originally set to happen in November 2009 and postponed in September. The fest initially vowed to make up the dates in Spring 2010 but the replacement fest did not materialize.[14]

The second cancellation came three years later in 2012 when Riot Fest East in Philadelphia was again postponed, this time one week before the show's planned July 19 start date. Though a reschedule was initially promised a follow up never emerged.[15]

Though not an outright cancellation, Riot Fest Brooklyn in 2012 was shut down early due to weather concerns.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Regan, Helen (May 28, 2015). "Riot Fest Announces Lineups Featuring Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and No Doubt". Time (magazine). Retrieved 12 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "Riot Fest expands into Dallas, Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Toronto". 12 June 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "Riot Fest Announces Two More Locations; Launch VIP Contest Prize Package". 22 May 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "Review: Sunday at Riot Fest". chicagoist. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "A Complete History of Riot Fest 2015's Troubles". Chicago magazine. Retrieved 2016-04-24. 
  6. ^ "Boricua Community against Riot Fest". DNA Info. 
  7. ^ Tribune, Chicago. "Riot Fest still on for the weekend after hospital drops lawsuit". Retrieved 2016-04-24. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ White, Lisa (September 3, 2009). "Riot Fest West Postponed Until Spring 2010". Gapers Block. Retrieved January 9, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Riot Fest East (Philly) postponed". Brooklyn Vegan. July 12, 2012. Retrieved January 9, 2015. 
  16. ^

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Riot Fest at Wikimedia Commons