The Travelling Punk Rock Festival: Riot Fest!

Riot Fest 2013 has been known as  possibly the most anticipated punk rock festival to hit the United States in recent years.  The three-day weekend of loud, fast music took place in Humboldt Park, IL with a total of five stages hosting legendary punk rock bands like Flag, Screeching Weasel, Pennywise, Suicidal Tendencies, and Rocket From The Crypt.

Pennywise playing for fans at the Riot Stage during the festival.

Fans gathered from all over the world to be at this iconic show. This year’s lineup was stacked with something for everyone to enjoy.

Steven Girgen, 29, took a thirty-hour road trip with his girlfriend, Stephanie Beasly, 26, from Fresno, CA.  “This was a show that we couldn’t miss!” said the avid Screeching Weasel fans.

The weekend was perfect hoodie weather floating around 55-65 degrees.  It gets real cold at night in Chicago though, living up to its nickname as the “Windy City.”

Being surrounded by ten thousand something Pennywise fans ranging from 17 to 40 years old was surreal.

It’s common courtesy to help up fallen moshers in the crowd and the Riot Fest crowd displayed such a mutual respect which made the festival that much sweeter.

Pennywise played all their hits like “Society”, “Same Old Story”, and “Bro-Hymn” as did every other band on the bill. The loud echoing crowd singing back the chorus to “Bro-Hymn” was an experience every punk needs to see live. There was no end to the sea of people crowded around for one purpose: Real punk rock.

Designated areas for food vendors were set up along the sides of the baseball fields where thousands of hungry moshers and drinkers lined up for beer and all kinds of ethnic food.

Rain ponchos were a necessity for fans of the band Rocket From The Crypt

 Joey Lawler, was a vendor serving New York Style Pizza and being a native New Yorker, I had to try it for myself and tell him it was bad.

 “When I saw Flag on the bill, I knew I was going to be here, volunteering or not” said Lawler who is 32 year-old and covered in tattoos.

“Punk rock is dead,”  he said, with a great sense of pride in his demeanor, “but the fact that we’re all here today really says something.”

It rained all day with brief periods of sunshine, which was not favorable on the bittersweet last day on Sunday.

The rain did not stop anyone at the festival on Sunday.  People were covered in mud from head to toe from the wet baseball fields.  Almost like a modern day Woodstock despite the crazy mud fights.

Despite how uncomfortably soaking wet it was on Sunday, for fans it was worth trekking through the bad weather to see their favorite bands in these conditions.

About Justin Camos

Justin Camos is a lover of Breaking Bad and pop punk music. Follow him on Twitter @JustinCamos.

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