RIOT FEST & CARNIVAL
UNVEILS FIRST WAVE OF ANNOUCEMENTS FOR
3-DAY FESTIVAL SET FOR SEPTEMBER 14, 15, 16
AT HUMBOLDT PARK AND
CONGRESS THEATER IN CHICAGO
TICKETS START AT $18.00 PER DAY
RISE AGAINST, IGGY& THE STOOGES, ELVIS COSTELLO,
DESCENDENTS, THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN, THE OFFSPRING,
A DAY TO REMEMBER, DROPKICK MURPHYS AND MORE
WITH MORE THAN 30 ACTS ANNOUNCED,
TICKETS ON SALE TUESDAY, MAY 15 AT 12:00 PM PDT
SECOND ROUND OF ANNOUNCEMENTS COMING IN JUNE
After a landmark year in 2011, the eighth annual RIOT FEST–the music festival which celebrates rock, indie, punk and underground artists from every era–is expanding for the first-time ever into an outdoor music event and carnival in 2012. The RIOT FEST & CARNIVAL will feature a wide mix of artists ranging from Gaslight Anthem, NOFX, Alkaline Trio, Built To Spill, AWOLNATION, Gogol Bordello, Frank Turner, Coheed and Cambria, Less Than Jake and many more. It’s set for Friday, September 14, Saturday, September 15 and Sunday, September 16 in Chicago on the beautiful grounds of Humboldt Park which boasts rolling fields, pavilions, tall trees, picturesque gardens a lake and lagoons with a majestic view of the Chicago skyline.
Promoters are encouraging fans not to miss out by unveiling the majority of the diverse line-up for 2012 and offering an early-bird 2-Day pass for $36.00, plus surcharges for a limited time. 3-day passes begin at $90.00 and include all shows at Humboldt Park, Congress Theater and after-parties. VIP passes are available for $155.00 and include private stage-viewing areas, a sectioned off VIP area in the park with a private bar and drink tickets. Tickets are available at www.riotfest.org.
RIOT FEST & CARNIVAL is expanding to its new location Humboldt Park–which is flanked by a handful of hip neighborhoods including Wicker Park and the Division Street corridor–in order to accommodate a large carnival atmosphere featuring three main music stages, thrilling rides, games, vendors and gourmet food trucks thoughtfully arranged on the gorgeous park grounds with stunning views of downtown Chicago for an enjoyable experience. With temperatures averaging around a perfect 75°F/24°C, September is one of Chicago’s most popular months for travelers from all over the world.
A wide array of confirmed talent is on tap for RIOT FEST & CARNIVAL, including RISE AGAINST, IGGY & THE STOOGES, ELVIS COSTELLO, THE OFFSPRING, A DAY TO REMEMBER, COHEED AND CAMBRIA, DESCENDENTS, GOGOL BORDELLO, THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN, DROPKICK MURPHYS, NOFX, THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM, ALKALINE TRIO, AWOLNATION, THE PROMISE RING, GWAR, AUGUST BURNS RED, FRANK TURNER, BUILT TO SPILL, LESS THAN JAKE, REVEREND HORTON HEAT, FISHBONE, NOBUNNY, A WILHELM SCREAM, SCREAMING FEMALES, TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS, DEALS GONE BAD, WHITE MYSTERY, LARRY AND HIS FLASK, THE STORY SO FAR, JAPANTHER; and the first show for a reunited CHIODOS (original line-up) as well as a reunion for SLAPSTICK.
More acts and events will be announced in the coming weeks leading up to the festival.
As previously announced, RIOT FEST enjoyed a successful east coast expansion to Philadelphia in 2011 and on Thursday, July 19, the music fest will return to the Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing with REFUSED, THE PROMISE RING, AUGUST BURNS RED, OFF!, GAMEFACE, BOY SETS FIRE, HIRS and more. Although initially planned as a three-day event in Philly this year, RIOT FEST promoters have come across a exciting new opportunity for the East Coast and have decided to focus their efforts on making this a special late-summer event. Expect a full announcement soon. For all questions regarding tickets, visit http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/02004877837836DE7/21
RIOT FEST is the brainchild of promoters Michael Petryshyn and Sean McKeough who launched the first Riot Fest in fall of 2005 throughout multiple music venues in Chicago, IL. Riot Fest brings fans of all ages together to celebrate rock, indie and punk from every era. The fest has become well-known for reuniting influential underground artists and has quickly become one of the top music destination festivals in the U.S. for fans. The goal for RIOT FEST & CARNIVAL 2012 is to create the best live experience possible for everyone from 14 year olds to those over 40. Check out the Q&A below with RIOT FEST founder and promoter Michael Petryshyn.
For up to date information regarding RIOT FEST & CARNIVAL, follow online at:
How did the concept of the Riot Fest & Carnival, which is new this year, come about?
My partner in Riot Fest Sean McKeough and I have been tossing around the carnival aspect for quite a while. It first originated in 2009 with the idea of starting a new festival or taking Riot Fest outside. That’s when we first started talking about adding some carnival aspects to it—ultimately to make it a better overall experience. When the decision was made, we wanted to differentiate ourselves from every other festival that’s going on right now, whether it’s something as massive as Lollapalooza or something smaller like Pitchfork. The carnival aspect is more fun and lighthearted. There’s a certain romanticism we have with state fairs and carnivals here in the office, so we got this notion stuck in our heads a few years back that it would be great to see The Descendents play on a Ferris Wheel with corn dog in hand. I’m sure there will be some detractors, but we’ve always tried to make the fest more about having a good time the trying to obtain any kind of scene points. What it comes down to is that we’re all about good music and people having a good time. It’s really that simple: Good bands of every generation, carnival rides, throwing darts at balloons in hopes of winning a knock-off Stewie while devouring a funnel cake. Also, Humboldt Park is one of Chicago’s largest and most beautiful parks. It’s so scenic with the lake and tree lines which provide shady areas and from the stages you can see the Chicago skyline. Humboldt and Logan Square are great places in Chicago right now–a lot of life exists in this area. We think we hit the nail on the head with picking Humboldt Park as the home for Riot Fest for years to come. We’re not moving. We love Humboldt Park–walking through it is just exciting. I did walk-throughs at other parks but when you enter Humboldt Park the beauty of the setting sinks in and it plays just as much of an instrumental role in the festival as some of the artists do. Humboldt is its own little being. With us taking Riot Fest outside this year, people will finally see our vision for the first time. It took a few years to develop.
How do you approach booking the festival and giving it a life of its own?
I think there are two ways people approach booking a festival. Obviously, no matter which way you do it, you have to count on numbers. You can’t just book all your “favorite bands” and hope that everybody will show up. Granted, we still handpick all of the bands from openers to headliners, so in fact, we are in essence booking bands we’re really into, but you do need anchors that make sense. With that said, bands like Iggy and The Stooges, Elvis Costello, Rise Against, Descendents and the entire bill represent who we are better than any branded logo or long-winded explanation of why we book the way we do. The proof is right there in the lineup. Every band on here from Dropkick Murphys to A Day to Remember, all the way to The Jesus and Mary Chain and Gogol Bordello, represents unique aspects of what Riot Fest was, is and will continue to be. We will never be pigeon-holed into something that doesn’t attract fans of every generation. That’s not fair to fans of music and especially the bands–and the consequence is that you become predictable and stagnant.
For the layout itself, there will be three main stages and one side stage. When we drew up the site, we took into consideration how sound was going to project to avoid any bleeding. We’re pretty safe on that. Also, if you want to you can check out every band on the line-up you can. There is some minimal overlap of 5-10 minutes, but there won’t be the same kind of conflicts as when we did it during club days. Also, we’re not using the entire park–only a quarter. But that one quarter is still pretty massive. To put it into perspective, you can fit three Union Parks into one the section of Humboldt we’re using. With the extra space, we’ve created the carnival aspect, side show attractions and a few more surprises. Humboldt is set up so there is a lot of leisurely space. You can sit by a tree, hang out and have a beer. You can go on the Ferris Wheel. You can eat food at tons of cool food vendors. You can go shopping with the artists we have onsite. There will be tattoo vendors, everything. Another big thing for us, is that people want to sit down every now and then. The one part of festivals I don’t like is that that there is nowhere sit where you’re being taken over by foot traffic and music. We set up Humboldt so there is plenty of space to just hang out. If people need to escape from the sun or whatever, it’s all there.
Talk about the evolution of Riot Fest from multiple clubs to going outside at Humboldt Park.
Riot Fest traditionally has been a venue-based festival. We started off pretty small the first couple of years. We had one big show and a couple of side shows. During 2009, we incorporated a lot more venues such as Congress, The Metro, Double Door, SubT, Beat Kitchen, AAA; so at any given time there would be two or three shows going on. Which provided a cool hub and spoke feel; especially for the out-of-towners who came and got to explore Chicago through the clubs. However, it came to the point where we were cannibalizing our own market a little bit, i.e. a Congress, Metro and Double Door show at the same time. Ultimately, it put people in a bad position to pick shows. We decided to avoid that altogether and put everything into one or two days. With that, at least in our eyes, we’d have a great fest. And doing the trial run in Philadelphia last year was a validating factor that taking this outside is the right move. We never saw so many smiling faces at a show before.
How did Riot Fest start?
I was working on my PHD and working at a law firm and it hit me one day, it would be cool to get all of my favorite bands together to play at one show. I remember jotting down on a piece of paper what would be a funny, quirky name for a festival and I jotted 50 down before Riot Fest–which was tongue in cheek–slipped from my pen. In May of 2005, I started reaching out to bands and about five months later the first Riot Fest was born. Basically, I was running everything, all the day-to-day. The first time I walked into the Congress Theatre to rent it I tried to play off like I knew what I was doing, but I was completely green. I hadn’t done anything on a large scale at all before I started doing Riot Fest. I had no intention of doing it again. I had enough of the stress of it and everything on my shoulders. A couple months passed and I missed it. The next year in 2006, the Naked Raygun reunion happened at Riot Fest, which was a big deal for Chicago–the most legendary punk band ever to come out of here and that’s when it kind of took a life of its own. Up until 2008, it was a year-to-year thing for me. And it wasn’t until a good three-and-a-half years in that we decided to see it through.