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Henry Rollins Returns To 'Riot Fest Speaks' To Talk Punk And Politics

By Justin Freeman in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 20, 2015 7:32PM

Henry Rollins returns to moderate a Riot Fest Speaks panel this year, hoto by Heidi May via his Facebook page

Riot Fest just announced their daily schedules Wednesday, and most of us are still trying to figure out who we’d rather see during some of these pesky scheduling conflicts. I mean, the rap nerd in me feels compelled to see “NWA” err...Ice Cube and Special Guests (Ice Cube’s special guests are MC Ren and DJ Yella, effectively making them 3/5 of NWA,) the metal nerd in me desperately wants to see Motörhead, while the 29-year-old former Q101-listening and Hot Topic-wearing denizen in me feels like No Doubt is probably the best choice to make for Friday night. Choices, man.

Today you’ll have another choice to make as Riot Fest just announced this year’s edition of Riot Fest Speaks, which has grown substantially since its introduction in 2014. Riot Fest Speaks aims to be a panel discussion about the intersectionality of punk, community and politics. Last year was the inaugural edition with a discussion featuring Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina of Pussy Riot and was moderated by Henry Rollins.

This year there will be several speaking events throughout the weekend. Rollins returns to moderate a discussion featuring Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin of the wrongfully imprisoned and recently freed West Memphis Three on Saturday Sept. 12.

A second panel on Sept. 13 will focus on Chicago’s punk scene, and will be moderated by Joe Shanahan, founder of both Metro and Smart Bar. Participants include Joe Principe of Rise Against, Jeff Pezatti of Naked Raygun, Brendan Kelly of the Lawrence Arms, Nan Warshaw of Bloodshot Records, Daryl Wilson of The Bollweevils, and Dem Hopkins of the defunct but influential early punk club Oz.

The final speaking event will also happen on the 13 with Dr. John Cooper Clarke performing a spoken word set of his scathing poetry. Clarke made his name touring with the Sex Pistols and Elvis Costello, as well as recoring with his band, The Invisible Girls.

Times for the Riot Fest Speaks sets have not been announced yet.

Riot Fest is Sept. 11 to 13 in Douglas Park and tickets are still available.