Festivals, like Warped Tour and Lolla, have been around the block, while Riot Fest is a relatively new festival. What makes it different from the others? Well, for starters, this year's event featured a carnival with games & rides, as well as a wrestling ring. There's something about the relative absence of corporate sponsorship (no barrage of Toyota giveaways here) that puts the emphasis on the carnies, punks, and weathered former pro-wrestlers where it belongs!
If you're an out-of-towner thinking about attending next year, you will probably be using public transport to get you there. The nice thing about Lolla is the proximity of the event to the rail line. Held in Grant Park, it's not more than a couple blocks from the nearest train station. Unless you can snag a bus, Humboldt Park is about a two mile walk from Division Station. But where public transportation leaves voids, free enterprise steps in; snagging a pedi-cab ride is a great way to see Chicago and meet some interesting people.
At a festival this large, the varied spectrum of music lends itself to some games of "Who did They Come to See?" Dreadlocks and Puca Shells over there are probably here for Gogol Bordello. Art Students in All Black are here to freak out to Screaming Females. The GWAR Fans are easy to spot after the afternoon sun has cooked the pink stain of fake blood into their faces and t-shirts. And if you're Grey Haired, you're probably here for Iggy Pop or Elvis Costello.
Riot Fest continues to Dallas, Texas, on September 22nd.
Slapstick at Riot Fest, Chicago (09/15/12)