Featured photo via RiotFest.org
Riot Fest might just be the coolest musical gathering on Planet Earth.
Grown from punk rock grassroots, but now incorporating an incredible spectrum of the best of rock (Weezer, Bleachers), alt. (Killing Joke, Gary Numan), metal (Suicidal Tendencies, Bullet For My Valentine), indie (Beck, Father John Misty) and hip-hop (Run The Jewels, Cypress Hill) alongside safety-pinned legends like Bad Religion, Alkaline Trio and Dropkick Murphys, it’s become an unmissable fixture on the international festival calendar.
Yes, there was a touch of enforced uncertainty this year with delays in finalising the line-up only being resolved eight days out and the eleventh hour withdrawal of headliners blink-182, but the standard of line-up that eventually descends on Chicago’s beautiful Douglas Park is testament to how deep those roots still run.
Even better than the smorgasbord of musical talent, is the cross-section of fans the festival draws in. From punk and emo kids to preening indie lovers and black-eyed metallers to ageing alt. aficionados here to catch legendary proto-punks Elvis Costello and Blondie before rock’n’roll progenitor Jerry Lee Lewis gets one of the biggest circle-pits of the weekend, there’s a unique sense of diversity, unity and simple undiluted fun.
Grabbing our sunglasses, brightest Hawaiian shirt and a couple of ice cool Pina Coladas, we dove in to find out what’s got everyone so excited…