What's this again about a Riot Fest carnival in Humboldt Park? | Bleader

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What's this again about a Riot Fest carnival in Humboldt Park?

Posted By on 05.16.12 at 01:19 PM

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Sorry, I needed a day to digest the whole thing.

Rapidly growing punk-rock superfestival Riot Fest was spread over five days and five venues last year, and yesterday it announced that for 2012 it's gonna move the whole damn thing to Humboldt Park (the actual park) for two of its three days—and throw in a Ferris wheel and Scrambler for good measure.

Now in its eighth year, Riot Fest will still occupy the Congress Theater for its opening night—which falls much earlier this time, on Friday, September 14—but the following Saturday and Sunday it will move to Humboldt, with four stages of music and a load of extracurriculars. The Chicago carnival experiment is a result of last year's outdoor success in Philly.

I'm cautiously optimistic. Of course it's another summer outdoor festival in Chicago, which I doubt anybody was clamoring for—and believe it or not, I thought the spread-out, multiple-venue maze of previous years made the fest unique, in a cumbersome sort of way. But I can't help but applaud the ambition of Riot Fest. I actually got to see—from three feet away—Bill Stevenson and Milo Aukerman debate doing a second encore at the Descendents show during last year's fest. I mean, that was pretty incredible.

Plus, the fest is moving to Humboldt Park. I'm biased—I live west of Western on the north side—but I think the 200-plus-acre park (lake included) is one of the city's best. It should prove a good host, if the fest and its attendees deal sensibly with the transportation limitations—it's bus, bike, or drive, because there's no train stop nearby.

The fest's lineup so far features Iggy & the Stooges, Rise Against, the Offspring, Elvis Costello, the Descendents, Coheed & Cambria, Gogol Bordello, NOFX, the Jesus & Mary Chain, Gaslight Anthem, Alkaline Trio, Slapstick (reunion alert), the Promise Ring, Gwar, Fishbone, Nobunny, and Japanther. And there's lots more still to be announced.

Three-day passes that include entry to all Riot Fest shows are on sale for 90 bucks, and two-day passes to the Humboldt Park festivities are running 50 bucks at the moment. For tickets and more info, visit riotfest.org.

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