A wave of serendipity hit me when I discovered my favorite music artist, Meg Myers, was going to perform at this year's Riot Fest. I was already flying into Chicago for my cousin's wedding the same weekend. As fate would have it, I could do both back-to-back!
I never before heard of Riot Fest in Douglass Park just west of downtown Chicago. Cue my emergence from living under a rock. Perhaps Lollapalooza in Grant Park overshadows it, but if you like alternative, rock, punk, or hip hop music be sure to give this festival a chance.
VIP, three-day, and single-day passes are available. Brad and I bought the Friday single-day passes ($125 each). Gates opened at 11:00am, but we arrived around 1:00pm.
With temperatures in the high 80s, my first thought was to get a drink to combat the hot sun. Several bar stations served canned cocktails ($12), beer ($8), and water ($4).
Since Meg Myers was scheduled for 2:00pm, we enjoyed listening to The Sounds beforehand. The Swedish indie rock band had me dancing to their fast-paced tracks. I knew the lead singer, Maja Ivarsson, was having a good time when she put her mic down her leather shorts!
The anticipation was driving me crazy as I waited in the fourth row for Meg Myers at the next stage. Whoever makes an entrance wearing an iridescent jumpsuit is destined to kill a set. She even played a few new songs! Her unique voice and raw lyrics take music to a whole other level.
The spacious festival grounds were easy to navigate despite the crowds. Merch booths, carnival rides, and food stands surrounded the five music stages. In between sets we grabbed a few bites to eat and took breaks in the shade.
Wondering what to wear? Mohawks, chains, and fishnets are abundant, but not required. Casual attire is just fine, but don't be afraid to bring your personality. I saw an inflatable dinosaur t-rex costume, several sombreros, and a clown mask. Pretty much anything goes!
I opted for high-waisted black skinny jeans, leather boots, and a cropped shirt with colorful tigers. I had even more fun with my makeup look consisting of black winged eyeliner and bold pink lips.
The food options were on point! Ultimately we decided to share a massive slice of pizza that was bigger than my face. No regrets.
To cool off, I grabbed a lemon Italian ice. At the end of the night, we split an order of Jamaican jerk chicken tacos and a spicy fried chicken sandwich with fries. Let's just say we didn't leave hungry.
Coheed and Cambria closed out our night in the most epic way possible (I'm not referring to the mosh pits). About halfway through their set, rain started to pour with a few lightening strikes. The combination of refreshing weather, electric guitar, and stage smoke made for one unforgettable experience!
Overall Riot Fest was a blast. The bands really delivered what most of us have been craving for quite some time amidst this pandemic. The show must go on!