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Riot Fest Recap

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Our friends Chip Tamplin from Cosmos Gaming and Kevin Hulse from Head above Heart were at Riot Fest 2014 in Chicago. Here is their recap of the festivals weekend stop in Chicago:

Riot Fest has been going on for ten years now and despite its longevity, last year was the first year I had the pleasure of covering the festival. It started in 2005 and its impressive line-ups have truly made it one of the best festivals in the United States. While last years installment also took place in Chicago’s Humboldt Park, this years was drastically expanded in terms of scope. More rides, more stages and plenty more room for patrons. While I obviously don’t have exact measurements of the size increase, I’d say it’s safe to assume that the festival at least doubled in scope. For the most part the expansion wasn’t an issue, but there were definitely some logistical issues, namely getting to and from the Rock Stage as the Rock stage is more or less off by itself. That one path that leads to it is riddled with Porta-potties and food vendors. Because of these, lines naturally formed and caused major time obstructions for those trying to get to and from the stage in a timely manner. While time crunches weren’t as big of an issue for fans, they were a major hindrance for photographers. For those who aren’t familiar with photography protocols at shows, we’re given the first three songs of every band. So, while there weren’t too many direct overlaps until each days headliners, the logistics made it a nightmare for us to cover the maximum number of bands efficiently. Because of how nightmarish it was to get from one side of the park to the other, I had to miss many of the bands I wanted to see and photograph.

The festival was unfortunately hit by a major storm. Unlike last year, the storm hit on the opening day of the festival. While last years storm was exceptionally bothersome because of the amount of rain, you only had to deal with it for a day and then you were done. This years storm caused problems for the entire weekend. Friday was rainy, muddy and freezing. Saturday was overcast, warmer but the mud got drastically worse. Sunday saw a drastic improvement in terms of sun, temperature and mud, but it still persisted. Weather Gods, can we please have no rain next year? C’mon.

There were a lot more rides and attractions at the festival this year, but sadly I wasn’t really able to partake in any of them. Obviously everyone’s there for the music, but the rides are certainly a nice distraction when you want to take a load off between bands. ~ Chip

Piggy backing on what my friend Chip was saying, Riot Fest was one of the best festivals I’ve had the pleasure in attending and photographing. The line up from the headliners to the very bottom of the list were bands I wanted to catch. As I photographed the bands, my feet was dancing, and I was singing the lyrics to the songs. The following gallery of photos is of all 3 days, and the bands photographed were The Offspring, Weezer, Wu Tang Clan, The Flaming Lips, Cheap Trick, Motion City Soundtrack, Andrew W.K, Lucero, Rise Against, Gwar, Primus, Say Anything, We Came as Romans, Clutch, Jessica Hernandez, Blue Meanies, and Silverstein.

And there were things I still missed at Riot Fest. Former WWE Wrestler CM Punk came onstage and sang for Social Distortion. Randy Blythe of Lamb of God joined Samhain on stage.

One of the things not mentioned was that 10 specific bands played their albums in it’s entirety. The 10 bands and albums were

The Offspring-Smash

Jane’s Addiction-Nothing’s shocking

Slayer-Reign in Blood

Cheap Trick-Heaven Tonight

NOFX-Punk in Drublic

The Get up Kids-Something to write home about

Samhain-Initium

Weezer-Blue Album

Descendents-Milo goes to College

Naked Raygun-Throb Throb

To see all these bands was Nostalgic and exciting. Who gets to say they saw Weezer perform the Blue Album and shortly after say they saw The Cure play for 2 hours and 15 minutes?

Thank You Riot Fest. ~Kevin

Check out some of their interviews with some of the bands and artists at the festival:

Frank Iero

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Anti-Flag

We Came as Romans

Nostalghia

Check out all the pics, courtesy of Head Above Heart photography:

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