The constantly growing Riot Fest has just announced the newest feature to the punk-rock carnival that hits Douglas Park in September: the Riot Fest Speaks Stage, which features two days of spoken word, panels, and poetry. The highlight of the Speaks Stage happens on Saturday, September 12, when punk legend Henry Rollins
moderates a panel with Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin of the West Memphis Three; they will discuss the latter two's release from prison after 18 years and the impact of musical activism. On Sunday, September 13, a second panel called Basement Screams takes the stage. Local underground-punk stalwarts like Brendan Kelly of the Lawrence Arms
, Jeff Pezzati of Naked Raygun
, and Joe Principe of Rise Against
, among others, discuss the importance and history of Chicago's punk culture. As if Riot Fest couldn't cram any more punk into its three days, Sunday's Speaks Stage also features a performance from "punk poet" Dr. John Cooper Clarke.