We may have reached the unofficial end to summer this past weekend, but that certainly doesn't mean music festival season is over. This weekend Riot Fest returns to Chicago in its new home in Douglas Park. Whether you're a first-timer at the fest, a seasoned regular (or still thinking about picking up a ticket - there are still a few left!), here's what we're looking forward to this weekend.
No Doubt (Friday 8:30 p.m., Riot Stage)
It's been six years since No Doubt has gone on tour, and I wouldn't be surprised if this is one of the last times you'll be able to see the '90s punk/ska/rock legends in Chicago (at least with Gwen Stefani at the helm).
Closing the night Friday, they're one of the biggest reasons to attend the fest, worth the price of admission alone. It's been 20 years since their breakthrough album "Tragic Kingdom" was released, and it holds up miraculously well. Missing their set would be a mistake.
Ice Cube and "Special Guests" (Friday 9 p.m., Roots Stage)
Of course, the greatest argument against missing No Doubt is the worst scheduling conflict of the weekend: Ice Cube.
Perhaps if "Straight Outta Compton" hadn't been released this summer, crowds may have forgotten what an impressive and important performer Ice Cube. The "special guests" addition tacked onto the performance has me hoping for a Dr. Dre appearance, and the closest thing to an N.W.A. performance you can see in 2015. With it being a performance of the legendary "Straight Outta Compton" album, the special guests should be pretty special.
It's two '90s legends pitted against each other, and there's no right answer of who to choose - you'll see an unforgettable performance either way. If you miss out on the performance, you have another chance for classic California rap Sunday with Snoop Dogg (7:45, Rock Stage) performing his classic 1993 album "Doggystyle."
The Academy Is... (Saturday 7:15 p.m., Roots Stage)
The Chicago-area band hasn't released a full-length album since 2008, but that doesn't matter: Your mid-2000s emo/pop-punk nostalgia should bring you to their Saturday set to see them perform their still awesome 2005 debut "Almost Here."
You may not have listened to The Academy Is... since last decade, but your 2005-self will thank you for the nostalgia trip.
Taking Back Sunday (Saturday 8:45 p.m., Roots Stage)
If you were a fan of The Academy Is... back in the day, you were almost certainly also a fan of Taking Back Sunday, one of the best products of the emo scene. The Riot Fest scheduling worked out conveniently this time, putting TBS directly after The Academy Is... on the same stage. Unlike The Academy Is..., Taking Back Sunday has been consistently touring and putting out new music, even if you haven't noticed since 2006's "Louder Now."
Their sound has changed and matured in their newer releases, like 2014's "Happiness Is," but expect some favorites from a decade ago as well. Trust me, you're not too old to stomp around to "Cute Without the 'E,'" and you know you still know all the words.
Not only is the Riot Fest lineup unique, the entire atmosphere of the festival has an entirely different feel from other music fest in Chicago and beyond. Even if you don't love every artist on the lineup, Douglas Park will be filled with carnival rides, tons of local Chicago eats, Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow and more. One-day tickets are still available for $75, and three-day passes are limited, but available for $190, a steal for the weekend.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit riotfest.org.
Photos: Riot Fest by Jeff Callen; No Doubt courtesy of flickr, Creative Commons; Ice Cube courtesy of Wikimedia Commons