Riot Fest is an annual 3-day music festival based in Chicago, Illinois at Douglas Park. Riot Fest specializes in rock, punk, alternative rock, and hip hop. The festival is known for booking reunions, guest performances, and full album performances. First started as a multi-venue festival in Chicago in 2005, Riot Fest has since become an outdoor festival starting in 2012, later expanding to Denver and Toronto.
|Genre||Punk rock, rock, alternative rock|
|Dates||September 13-15, 2019|
|Location(s)||Douglas Park, Chicago|
|Founded by||Mike Petryshyn & Sean McKeough|
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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 occasional novelty psychobilly, thrash metal, post-hardcore and indie pop bands have also appeared at Riot Fest.
Riot Fest was established in Chicago in 2005 by Sean McKeough, who also co-produced Chicago's Motoblot annual motorcycle rally. 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, The Dead Milkmen, Fun., The Lawrence Arms, Bad Religion, The Murder City Devils, Butthole Surfers, The 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, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Chiodos, Misfits, Jawbreaker 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). The festival consisted of two days of music at Humboldt park on Saturday, September 15 and Sunday, September 16 and a Friday night kickoff at the Congress Theater. The lineup for Riot Fest in 2012 included:
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, The Reverend Horton Heat, Imagine Dragons, The 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). 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. 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 for the last time. Roberto Maldonado, who had been a supporter of Riot Fest in the past, stated he would not have the fest back for 2015. This was due to damages to the park after heavy raining during the festival. The repairs cost $150,000. 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 (performing Nothing's Shocking), Rise Against, Slayer (performing Reign in Blood), The Offspring (performing Smash), NOFX (performing Punk in Drublic), 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 (performing Let It Enfold You), 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 (performing Initium), Descendents (performing Milo Goes to College), 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 (performing Something to Write Home About), 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 (performing The Blue Album), Social Distortion, Primus, Tegan and Sara, Cheap Trick (performing Heaven Tonight), Patti Smith, Bring Me the Horizon, Dropkick Murphys, Naked Raygun (performing Throb Throb), Superchunk, Billy Bragg, The Hold Steady, Blue Meanies, Lucero, New Found Glory, Mudhoney, Hot Snakes, Motion City Soundtrack, Andrew W.K. (performing I Get Wet), 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 Boricua community, including gentrification of Humboldt Park and lack of financial benefits to the residents of the area led to the festival being moved to Douglas Park. After settling on the new location, Saint Anthony Hospital filed a lawsuit against Riot Fest on September 4, arguing that the festival would be detrimental to their patients' health because of the "extreme noise” and the heavy traffic that would surround the hospital. 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."
The 2015 Chicago lineup included:
Friday, September 11: No Doubt, Faith No More, Motörhead, 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 (performing ...And Out Come the Wolves), Billy Idol, Taking Back Sunday, Drive Like Jehu, Merle Haggard, Alexisonfire, The Academy Is... (performing Almost Here), 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 (performing Blue Skies, Broken Hearts...Next 12 Exits), Modern Life Is War (performing Witness), 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 (performing Bob Marley and the Wailers' Exodus), 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, Stellar West
Saturday, September 17: Morrissey, Death Cab for Cutie, Social Distortion (performing White Light, White Heat, White Trash), Nas, Brand New, Fitz and The Tantrums, Descendents, Motion City Soundtrack, The Hives, Bob Mould, The Hold Steady (performing Boys and Girls in America), 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 (performing White Zombie's Astro-Creep 2000), 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
On March 17, 2017, Riot Fest announced that the festival would not return to Denver, citing the death of co-founder Sean Mckeough the previous November as making it impossible to focus on more than one event in 2017. Despite this, the festival has expressed interest in eventually returning to Denver.
The Chicago lineup included:
Friday, September 15th: Nine Inch Nails, New Order, A Day to Remember, Dirty Heads, Vic Mensa, Ministry, Death from Above, Action Bronson, X, Mayday Parade (performing A Lesson in Romantics), The Cribs, Liars, Buzzcocks, The Story So Far, State Champs, Four Year Strong, INVSN, Chon, The Hotelier, Saul Williams, Nothing More, Radar State, Tobacco, Seaway, Like Pacific, Sleep On It, Grayscale, Skating Polly, Warm Brew, and Hdbeendope
Saturday, September 16th: Queens of the Stone Age, Wu-Tang Clan (performing Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)), Mike D (DJ Set), At the Drive-In, Danzig (performing Danzig III), Gogol Bordello, Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, FIDLAR, Bad Brains, Peaches, The Lawrence Arms (performing Oh! Calcutta!), Bayside (performing The Walking Wounded), Dead Cross, Streetlight Manifesto, GBH, Shabazz Palaces, Fishbone (performing Truth and Soul), Knuckle Puck, Black Pistol Fire, Slaves, Versus, RVIVR, The Smith Street Band, Potty Mouth, The Regrettes, Cold Beat, Turnspit, and Gin Rummy
Sunday, September 17th: Jawbreaker, Paramore, Prophets of Rage, M.I.A., TV on the Radio, Dinosaur Jr. (performing You're Living All Over Me), Pennywise, Built to Spill (performing Keep It Like a Secret), The Mighty Mighty Bosstones (performing Let's Face It), The Orwells, Best Coast, Cap'n Jazz, Minus the Bear, Say Anything, The Menzingers, , GWAR, Hot Water Music, Real Friends, Andrew W.K., Beach Slang, that dog. (performing Retreat from the Sun), Mad Caddies, The Flatliners, Dessa, The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Engine 88, Downtown Boys, Culture Abuse, Gazebos, Kitten Forever, and Upset
Riot Fest was again held in Douglas Park in Chicago, September 14-16. Behind the scenes issues led to the finalized lineup and schedule not being released until the week before the fest, leading many to assume the 2018 version would be the third iteration to be cancelled. 
The lineup included
Friday, September 14th: Weezer, Taking Back Sunday, Young the Giant, Dropkick Murphys, Bleachers, Atmosphere, Flogging Molly, Cypress Hill (performing Black Sunday), Matt and Kim, Sum 41, The Front Bottoms, K.Flay, Digable Planets (performing Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)), Liz Phair, Lagwagon (performing Let's Talk About Feelings), Pussy Riot, The Aquabats, Hobo Johnson & the Lovemakers, Face to Face, Arkells, Flor, Speedy Ortiz, Fever 333, Direct Hit!, The Bombpops, Archie Powell & the Exports, Typesetter, Blood People
Saturday, September 15th: Beck, Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Interpol, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Jesus Lizard, The Voidz, Twin Peaks, Cat Power, Gary Numan, Killing Joke, Wolfmother, Reignwolf, Andrew W.K., GWAR, Conflict, Piebald, Adolescents, Cobra Skulls, HEALTH, The Frights, The Districts, Bully, Street Dogs, Lower Class Brats, Total Chaos, Mannequin Pussy, Badflower, Beach Bunny
Sunday, September 16th: Run the Jewels, Incubus, Blondie, Alkaline Trio, Father John Misty, Bad Religion (performing Suffer), UnderØath, Suicidal Tendencies (performing Suicidal Tendencies), Bullet for My Valentine, Clutch, The Wonder Years, SWMRS, Johnny Marr, Superchunk, JD McPherson, Fear (performing The Record), The Bouncing Souls, Dillinger Four, Avengers, Calpurnia, Kevin Devine, The Audition, Spitalfield (performing Remember Right Now), The Dangerous Summer, Mom Jeans., Beach Rats, pronoun, Beach Goons, Just Friends, Save Face, Super Whatevr, No Small Children
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.
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.
Though not an outright cancellation, Riot Fest Brooklyn in 2012 was shut down early due to weather concerns.
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