The Return of Riotfest Showcases Bands That Are Back and Better Than Ever

The Return of Riotfest Showcases Bands That Are Back and Better Than Ever

Anita Duncan

This weekend, the festival Riotfest made a comeback with the energy only a punk rock event called “Riot Fest” could bring. This year had an all star lineup of Slipknot, Mother Mother, Machine Gun Kelly, Morrisey, and Simple Plan, plus many more. Despite its many hardships before the event, it turned out to be one to remember.

The festival wasn’t one that people expected to succeed at first. With the spike in COVID-19 cases, several of the major headliners pulled out for safety. Without the huge names of Nine Inch Nails, Pixies and Dinosaur Jr., fans were turning the festival’s ironic tagline ”Riot Fest Sucks” into an actual insult. 

The event has spent a while building good relationships with performers though, which turned out to be it’s saving grace. Artists like Morrisey, Slipknot, and Patti Smith stepped easily into the empty performance slots, and the festival was put back on track. 

Once the show was in full swing, they proved why the tagline “Riot Fest Sucks” was ironic because the fans loved it! The set list blended nostalgic and retro styles effortlessly to showcase that the bands are just as good as they were before their unceremonious breaks due to COVID. After that, they eased the crowds into their new sounds. The music was new, but it stayed true to punk rock’s political roots and brought out serious themes. Singer Eugene Hutz  explored the topics of borders, immigration, and xenophobia. Vic Mensa showed how hip hop has its stake in the riot culture too by performing “16 shots,” alluding to the murder of Laquan McDonald. 

The return of riot fest showed off some of the best punk rock has to offer, and that the pause in performing has done nothing to slow down the momentum of the art. If this kind of music sounds interesting to you but you’re sad about the festival ending, don’t worry! There are several recordings of the performances online already for those who missed out or just want to revisit.