BY JOSH RAY
Riot Fest, the annual three-day music festival held in the Douglas Park district of Chicago, wrapped up last week and brought the punks, goths and emos to celebrate the bands of years past that established the alternative subculture of music, as well as the bands currently paving their own path within it. A multitude of artists from hip-hop, pop-punk, ska-punk, straight-up punk, hyper-pop, post-punk, indie rock and everything in between gave the tens-of-thousands of crowd members something to enjoy. Every hot, sunny, and loud day was one to be remembered!
While the lineup this year was massive, one huge comeback has been anticipated for years: My Chemical Romance. The emo legends that provided anthems for the outcasts and ignored had been planned to play Riot Fest since 2020, but, you know, the whole world stopped for awhile and their headlining set was put on hold until this year. But what a comeback it was. The festival grounds were PACKED with fans anticipating the band’s arrival since the front gates opened at 11 AM. Some dedicated fans even stood the entire night at the front of the barricade to embrace the songs they etched into their memories years ago. I can not put into words how many bodies there were in Douglas Park on that Friday night, but it may have single-handedly been the largest crowd that Riot Fest has ever seen.
While My Chemical Romance was the big draw of the weekend, there were plenty of other great artists including the headliners for Saturday and Sunday: The Misfits and Nine Inch Nails; who both have their own large following and proved to be the perfect pair to close out each night. Some may think the headliners are the only ones to receive a large and rowdy crowd, but the entire weekend was filled with circle pits, crowd surfers and mayhem. Artists such as Mannequin Pussy, Boston Manor, Pale Waves, Bad Religion, The Descendants, Skating Polly, Taking Back Sunday, Alice Glass and Less Than Jake (who had an awesome set filled with non-stop excitement and a toilet paper launcher) had festival-goers off their feet and moving all weekend long! Yellowcard also reunited for the first time in six years to play their entire Ocean Avenue album in full which was well received by the crowd and you could see the excitement and emotion on the band member’s faces after fans erupted after each song ended. It also seems as if that was just the beginning of Yellowcard’s comeback as they have been teasing fans on social media about possible future shows…
Whether you wanted to relive your old high-school anthems or discover new and exciting artists, this year’s Riot Fest had a little of something for everyone and we can only wait to see what next year brings!
Check out our full photo gallery below!