Riot Fest releases first wave of lineup

Reanna Comiso, Features Editor

Every year, waiting for the Riot Fest lineup leaves me dying with anticipation. After what felt like forever, the first wave of bands and artists were finally released on May 30. After months of waiting, I was torn between feeling pleasantly surprised and hoping for something more.

The festival will take place Sept. 14-16 in Douglas Park, Chicago, making it the perfect transition from summer to fall. Tickets for the festival have also gone on sale along with the lineup release.

Three-day passes retail for $190 after tax and service fees. Any festival will be expensive, but compared to prices of other festivals like Lollapalooza or Coachella, $190 seems to be a fair price.

Being one of the most popular festivals in the Chicagoland area in recent years, the festival has become known for bringing big names to the stage, special full-album anniversary performances and organizing some of the most unexpected reunions.

Past lineups featured reunions by the original Misfits in 2016 and Jawbreaker in 2017, which drew in large crowds to end the weekend on a high note. Last year alone, 10 groups gave full-album performances, with groups like Wu-Tang Clan performing “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” and Dinosaur jr. performing “You’re Living All Over Me.”  

Other big names from past lineups include The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, New Order, Iggy and the Stooges, and No Doubt.

This year’s lineup includes two headliners thus far – Blink-182 and Beck, with the third yet to be announced.

Considering that Blink-182 headlined the festival in 2013, I was hoping to see something different. I hope that the final headliner will be someone big and unexpected.

Following trends over the past few years, I expect another reunion to take place. Assuming a reunion does occur, a Fugazi reunion would be a dream. But for now, I will try not to get my hopes up.

Other big acts announced thus far include: Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Blondie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Interpol and Young the Giant. Of these groups, I am mostly looking forward to seeing Elvis Costello and Interpol.

Of the supporting acts, I am most excited to see the Jesus Lizard, a noise-rock band that disbanded in 1999, but have been performing in recent years. I also plan on seeing hip-hop group Digable Planets and Johnny Marr, which I feel is an obligation as a fan of the Smiths.

With the insane popularity of the Netflix original Stranger Things,” fans would be excited to know Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike Wheeler in the show, will be at the festival performing with his band Calpurnia. I expect many “Stranger Things” fans to attend the festival for this reason alone.

After attending this festival for about six years, I feel this year’s lineup is weaker than previous years. Some of my favorite performances in my time attending the festival include seeing The Cure in 2014, Death Grips in 2016 and New Order in 2017.  These performances were my favorite due to the energy and stage presence of each group. I am not afraid to admit that I was dancing for the entirety of each performance.

I am hoping the next wave of bands to be released will fill the areas that are lacking. Based on the teaser video released by the festival, I am hoping Bjork or Sufjan Stevens will be added to the lineup.

Despite the lineup thus far, I still look forward to attending Riot Fest every September. Even if the lineup does not improve in the way I anticipate, I am still looking forward to three long, but exciting, days of attending the festival.