By Helen Andrejevic
Weather reports a chilly weekend of September 12th, making Riot Fest 2014 a seemingly early fall festival. Obvious headliners draw a crowd who are ready to spend the weekend in a lavish, yet soon to be trashed northern park of Chicago, Illinois. Humbolt Park, a usually quiet “suburban” styled area, will be stomped upon by thousands of different people, from post emo hipsters to hardcore extremists and everything in between.
The carnival theme is in full swing this year symbolized by the Ferris wheel and elaborated by a new design of the parks layout. Offered to festival attendees are endless games and rides, a 9 hole mini golf course, a haunted house, and even a burlesque show, in true carnival fashion. Riot Fest is being sure to do their part by adding a 20 game arcade with proceeds that go to Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. With over 50 food vendors to choose from, there is no shortage of food options to indulge in. Vegan and vegetairian options will be available along with your classic Chicago favorites. To drink, Riot Fest offers several beer stands throughout the park as well as a newly added wine bar. All this and more will aid in creating a perfect weekend for characters of all demeanors.
Friday afternoon, for us, will begin with GWAR, a band classified as “thrash metal”, who fit right in with the carnival freaks. Fully decked out in grotesque costumes, referring to themselves as aliens, and throwing blood and guts on their “human audience” is a sight not for the weary. But while GWAR may seem like an intimidating act, here is an excellent interview with them by the late Joan Rivers in 1990, which shines light on GWAR’s whit and sense of humor.
The Flaming Lips will light up the stage on Saturday evening where one can expect an extravagant performance of confetti, balloons, costumes, and props. Lead singer, Wayne Coyne, will likely be rolling a top his loving fans in his giant signature bubble, while we let their music soothe our souls. A carnival in and of itself, The Flaming Lips will awe us in the sunset hour of Saturday evening.
With many impressive bands in between, the festivities will unfortunately but inevitably come to a close. A grand choice will be ours to make between Weezer, The Cure, and Primus, as they each have overlapping sets in the final hours of Riot Fest 2014. Weezer indeed satisfies our cravings for punk, while Primus will have more funk to offer. The Cure, considers themselves a genre of their own, and will make for an emotional and deep close to the evening.
Riot Fest 2014 will be a weekend of eccentric performances and thrilling rides and games; but most importantly a place where the freaks, geeks, and cool kids can come together as one. No matter who you are and how you chose to spend your time, when given a choice to stay home or go to the carnival, always go to the carnival.