It's Friday. The temperature here in Chicago is finally back to 'tolerable' instead of 'instantly feel damp upon leaving the house'. The Cubs are fighting for a playoff spot. There's a lot to be thankful for this weekend in the Windy City.
Also: RIOT FEST STARTS THREE WEEKS FROM TODAY.
This is not a drill. We are 21 days from the start of the Official Best Festival in the United States as Voted On by Congress (citation needed). And while other websites may have super useful tips for first timers, I'm taking a slightly different approach. As someone who is a long time veteran of Riot Fest (and by that I mean I've been to a whopping THREE!), my memory isn't what it used to be, especially after taking a boot to the head during Gogol Bordello's set last year. I've got a list of things that you absolutely do not want to forget between now and September 15 so that none of us (especially me) forget to do these things over the next couple of weeks.
- Buy tickets to the Viagra Boys aftershow at the Metro
They are on sale right now at this link. If you click there and they're sold out, hey man...I tried to help you out. But you really shouldn't rely on my to keep you up to date on what may be THE PERFORMANCE of the weekend (although I am flattered). The conditions are perfect. It's a Friday night aftershow so you've still got your strength. The Metro should be a bucket list venue for any out of town visitors. And when Viagra Boys take the stage and destroy Riot Fest during their scheduled set on Saturday, you can brag to everyone that you already saw them with 1,100 of your fellow troglodytes. Cash in as much shrimpcoin as you can and get your tickets now.
- Rent a locker
Here's the link. Just do it. The number of people who have rented a locker at Riot Fest and regretted it is 0 people total in history. You're gonna buy a tshirt or two that you don't want to carry all day in the sun. You're gonna get a drink that has a reusable cup that you'll want, but don't want to carry all the time. You'll have your survival prep pack. The lockers are always located right by the main merch tent and the water stations, so it's a place you'll be frequenting a lot already. If I haven't sold you yet, then come meet me on Sunday and tell me how much you regret your decision.
- Prep for everything
Also inside the locker you've so smartly rented for the weekend? Some kind of backpack that you've smartly brought with you because you are enlightened and you read this website. Inside, at a minimum, should be:
- Spare tshirt (unless you plan on buying one or twelve)
The number one thing that could ruin a Riot Fest for you is not being prepared for the elements. Bringing just these four things will almost completely immunize you to all that Mother Nature has to throw at you. All of them are cheap. All of them are small. All of them fit in the locker you've rented. You will be invincible and the envy of all the wet/sunburned/cold people around you. Look at you, smartie-pants. Want to take things next level?
- Portable phone battery/charger
- Cord to connect it to your phone
I know from experience. Don't bring the former without the latter.
- Plan around food
Even being immune to the elements, there's still one last factor that can bring down even the most seasoned festival goer - not eating. If you're going to be inside Douglass Park for the better part of any single day, you're looking at a minimum of one meal, potentially two. And with some food vendors taking 20-30 minutes to serve you depending on the time of day, by the time you get your food, find a place to sit, and actually eat, you could miss an entire set of music. The best thing to do once the daily schedules come out is to find some times where you might not feel strongly about any of the bands onstage. Use that as a dedicated time to eat a meal and build the rest of your day around that. Your stomach and brain will thank you.