Opinion: Riot Fest celebrates 10th anniversary


Neville Hardman

Neville Hardman

If you like punk rock music and haven’t heard of Riot Fest, your festival experience is about to get blown to pieces. 

Set to take place at Humboldt Park in Chicago, Sept. 12-14, along with additional locations in Denver and Toronto, Riot Fest offers a slew of musical excellence.

The lineup rivals the likes of major longstanding festivals such as Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. Bands such as Weezer, The Offspring, NOFX, The Flaming Lips and Descendants are scheduled to play during this three-day punk paradise.

This year marks Riot Fest’s 10th anniversary, and to celebrate, ten bands are kicking off the party by playing their most essential albums in full, according to the Riot Fest website.

Weezer will be playing their self-titled “blue” album, and The Offspring will be jamming “Smash” during their set (And no, “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” isn’t on it). Other bands include Jane’s Addiction, Slayer, Samhain, Naked Raygun and The Get Up Kids. The last band has yet to be revealed to the public, but based on the precedent, it’s sure to score with the audience.

Out of all the bands playing, which total more than 100, three represent Ohio.

The National, an alternative rock quintet, took form in Cincinnati before settling in Brooklyn. Composed of two sets of brothers and a vocalist, The National took off in 2001 with a self-titled album. Progressing since with five others, along with two EPs, The National will headline Saturday.

Citizen is a hardcore band from the Southeast Michigan/Northwest Ohio area. Typically found in smaller venues with high-energy crowds, their vocals are more abrasive and heavy, but rich with meaning. Their second full-length album, “Enemies,” was released mid-May. They will also preform on Saturday.

The Afghan Whigs, who come out of the early 1990s with their first album “Up In It,” serve as an underground alterative rock band from Cincinnati (for those who care to seek them out). While never cast into the mainstream scene, their festival experience is off the charts, including playing at Coachella 2014, so it’s certain they’ll know how to rock a crowd during their set Saturday.

Riot Fest is a punk and rock explosion that will ignite your inner Blink-182 listening, ‘sorry mom’ flannel wearing kid. Make a pledge to put it on the list of must-sees.

Riot Fest’s website states, “We also promise never to book Justin Beiber or make a Harlem Shake Video” and really, isn’t that enough to put this festival on your radar?

Contact Neville Hardman at [email protected].