Ah, the ever-growing pile of festival cancellations. With each cancellation we are dragged further away from our ideal summer: being covered in mud, downing warm cider in wonky camping chairs. However, there is a silver lining – with an entire year to hype ourselves up for each line-up, 2021 festivals are going to be WILD. Chicago’s Riot Fest has been pushed forward to 16-19th September 2021, so we’ve got more than a year to allow our excitement to mature… and, considering the first wave is this great, we’ll be fit to burst with excitement come next September. With the addition of the new ‘Preview Party’ on the Thurday, Riot is set to be an unforgettable FOUR days of non-stop musical mayhem!!
We’ll open with the act that should sell it to you immediately – My Chemical Romance. The emo legends’ massive comeback has been greatly disturbed by the recent pandemic, so their headline set is sure to be all-the-more sweet after an added year of anticipation. Other headline acts include the absolutely iconic Smashing Pumpkins, as well as the charismatic, gloriously fun hip hop supergroup Run the Jewels.
If you’re looking for an emo, nostalgia-heavy sing-along-athon, then Riot Fest 2021 has got your back. There’s tons of Bittersweet-faves on offer – we’ve got festival staples Taking Back Sunday, who’ve only missed one Riot Fest since 2013, emotional kings Mayday Parade and the post-hardcore class of Thursday. Pop punk lovers are also in for a treat, what with the fabulous New Found Glory, classic All-American Rejects and timeless Simple Plan on offer. With this many formative bands on the line-up, it’s fair to say that the crowds will be stupidly fun. Voices young and old will be screaming out the words to My Friends Over You, and we cannot wait to experience that wholesome community feeling.
There’s also great punk rock on offer, for those of you wanting something a bit heavier. There’s the charmingly cool surf punks SWMRS, emo-pop-punkers Boston Manor, as well as hardcore punks PUP. And for those wanting more hardcore punk crowds? There’s the brilliant Circle Jerks, as well as Canadian hardcore punks Fucked Up. The raucous rapcore trio Fever 333 will also be making an appearance, and their energetic performances are always worth catching.
What about ska? Well, Sublime with Rome, the combined forces of Sublime’s Eric Wilson and Rome Ramirez , are truly unmissable. Hip hop? K. Flay will be making an appearance, with her gloriously atmospheric sound, as well as the likes of fiercely catchy rapper Vic Mensa, and Lupe Fiasco will also be performing his iconic album, The Cool, in its entirety. Hell, what about indie rock? Well, there’s Alex G, with his bedroom-poppy goodness, the glowing Joywave, the indie-meets-emo sound of Beach Bunny…
WOAH. Okay. We need to calm down – this line-up is already overwhelming, and there’s still more to be announced? As well as the promise that some announcements will be more full-album performances and ‘special surprises’…. AND the Thursday preview day will be ‘jam-packed with secret sets’? Honestly, I don’t know if our hearts can take this… Riot Fest, you cheeky bugger.