Riot Fest | Music Sidebar | Chicago Reader

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Riot Fest

The fifth and most ambitious installment of the local punk blowout runs October 7-11, featuring Screeching Weasel, the Murder City Devils, Cock Sparrer, Dead Milkmen, NOFX, 7 Seconds, Alkaline Trio, 88 Fingers Louie, and others.


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The fifth annual Riot Fest is the most ambitious yet, with six venues hosting 16 shows—punk, ska, pop-punk, hardcore, and plain old rock 'n' roll—between Wednesday, October 7, and Sunday, October 11. The festival typically includes a handful of reunited bands, as well as a few classic acts that don't play out too often (usually due to a case of old bones); this year those categories include the Butthole Surfers, Cock Sparrer, the Dead Milkmen, 88 Fingers Louie, Youth Brigade, Naked Raygun, 7 Seconds, Screeching Weasel, the Teen Idols, and the Murder City Devils. Among the lineup's other highlights are NOFX, Alkaline Trio, Pegboy, the Aggrolites, and Strike Anywhere. Riot Fest strives to be accessible to the next generation of punks, so festival shows at the Congress Theater (2135 N. Milwaukee), Metro (3730 N. Clark), and Beat Kitchen (2100 W. Belmont) are all-ages; the two at Subterranean (2011 W. North) are 17+. Both the Cobra Lounge (235 N. Ashland) and Liar's Club (1665 W. Fullerton) remain 21+ for their Riot Fest events. Other festivities include a Drunken Bowling Tournament at the Fireside Bowl at 10:30 PM on Friday and Saturday (2648 W. Fullerton, $96 for a team of four) and screenings of Let Them Know: The Story of Youth Brigade and BYO Records at the Viaduct Theater at 3 PM on Saturday and Sunday (3111 N. Western, $7, $3 with a Riot Fest wristband). Five-day all-fest passes (still on sale in limited numbers) are $110, four-day Metro passes (Wednesday, Friday through Sunday) are $75, and three-day Congress Theater passes (Friday through Sunday) are $70. Individual Congress tickets can be bought at Riot Fest headquarters (1048 N. Ashland), Bleeding Heart Bakery (1955 W. Belmont), and the Cobra Lounge; Metro tickets are of course available at Metro. Prices and start times vary for each show; visit for more details and a complete schedule.

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