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Riot Fest Wrap-up: Still Our Favorite Music Festival

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 16, 2014 9:00PM

Riot Fest has wrapped and while organizers determine just how much money it's going to take to leave Humboldt Park even better than they left it, we figured it was worth sharing some final thoughts about the weekend. I can speak for the Chicagoist writers who covered the event and attest to the fact that, despite Mother Nature's best attempts, nothing could water down our enjoyment of the weekend.

Yes, with the move to a festival footprint almost twice the size of previous years there were a few growing pains, in addition to the muddy conditions that everyone just ended up embracing. Well, aside from the small contingent that seemed upset Riot Fest couldn't control the weather. There were fences everywhere to help protect the more delicate parts of Humboldt Park's ecosystem. While this was for the betterment of the grounds at large it caused much confusion, especially Friday night as people got their bearings. I used to live across the street from the park for a number of years and even I got hopelessly lost at one time. But in the light of day, these issues abated as everyone got the lay of the land.

Once we were settled, though, the weekend was just so much damn fun. We've outlined all the music that helped make our weekend so unforgettable, and this is where Riot Fest's true advantage lies: it still books a bill that is shaped by the enthusiasm of the organizers, not the bottom line of a band's popularity or ability to sell tickets. This resulted, again, in a three-day line-up that had us making some tough choices but not regretting seeing a single act. I simply did not see a bad set throughout the weekend, and despite another writer's review noting that if you don't have a guitar you needn't bother showing up on stage, I think that the sets delivered by Wu-Tang Clan and Die Antwoord proved Riot Fest's definition of punk rock or rock and roll or whatever it is you want to try and pigeonhole them into booking blasts those boundaries apart.

Yet again, the heart behind Riot Fest continued to set them apart and once you gave yourself over to the music, it was impossible not to fall in love with the passion built into this ambitious no-longer-little festival that could in Humboldt Park.

How are they going to top this next year? We can't wait to find out.