Riot Fest is nothing new for Chicago. The festival has been one of the most looked forward to events for local punk and alternative rock fans since its inception in 2005. So, why is it such a big deal this year? Spoiler alert: no more trekking around for shows on the CTA!
This weekend (Sept. 14-16) marks a new era for the city's biggest homage to punk rock. In the past, Riot Fest has been a week-long even in which several venues took part in hosting. This year, the festival has condensed itself in time frame and locations--but not in talent.
Friday night, the fest's kickoff show with be at the Congress Theater and Humbolt Park will host the weekend festivities complete with a carnival. Things have changed, sure, but, at the core of Riot Fest 2012, there still exists a dedication to music fans of all kinds.
If you're any sort of music fan names like The Stooges and Elivis Costello aren't new to you. Given Riot Fest's long history, the festival was able to secure headlining names for this year's lineup. Both will be performing at Humbolt Park this weekend (both on Sunday). The Offspring (remember "Pretty Fly for a White Guy"?) headline the Congress on Friday.
The Crowd Pleasers
Punk classics like ska-influenced Less Than Jake; bold, brash and (sometimes) crash politico-rockers NOFX and recently reunited emo stars The Promise Ring will be at Humbolt this weekend. "Space invader" spectacles GWAR are scheduled to perform. New school screamo/hardcore acts like Chiodos and A Day to Remember have prominent set times. If nothing else, the lineup is definitely diverse.
If it's local love you're after, the folks behind Riot Fest did well to represent Chicago this year. Saturday's headliner Rise Against has been the one of the leading political and activist Chicago musical acts for the last decade. Sunday performers Alkaline Trio are--in this blogger's opinion--one of the best things to ever come out of Chicago. And Deals Gone Bad, as always, will be holding it down for the local ska and reggae fans on the last day of this festival as well.
We're sure to see a whole new breed of Riot Fest goers this weekend again I truly believe it's going to be for the best. Here's my best advice for enjoying the weekend to its fullest: take in the classics, sample some new tunes and enjoy a late summer's eve on the ferris wheel.