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Riot Fest?  What’s Riot Fest, you ask?  Riot Fest is a three-day festival in Humboldt Park near Chicago, Illinois.   With over a hundred bands playing, it’s like an extended Warped Tour!  I had the pleasure of attending the festival last year and was very unprepared for it so I thought, why not make a guide to help you survive the best three-day fest in the world!

First, you’re going to want to make sure of the obvious. Make sure you have your ticket, confirmation e-mail, ID, credit card you used to purchase the ticket or whatever you need to be sure you are able to get in.  There is nothing worse than making your way to the gates and not being able to get in because you don’t have a ticket.  You also want to make sure you have a set ride there, and if you’re coming from out of town, make sure you have a place to stay.  If you’re driving, be sure to have cash on you because there are multiple lots around the park that will let you park there all day for a small price.

Since Riot Fest is in the middle of September in the MidWest, be sure to be ready for any weather that is thrown your way.  Last year, the first day was cold, second day was hot and the third day was pouring rain. A poncho or a windbreaker is a great thing to bring.  You are also allowed to bring in a backpack so you won’t have to carry your poncho or jacket around all day.  That would suck.

The times and stages that each band will play on it posted on the internet prior to the festival.  The best thing to do it print out the schedule or write it down on paper or in your phone so you don’t forget about all the amazing bands you want to see.  There are also signs posted around the park with set times but they’re not everywhere so keeping the times on you comes in handy.  Last year, there were so many people there that there was hardly any cell phone signal at all.  Make sure you and your friends have a place to meet if you decide to split up or get lost.

Be sure to check out all the companies and non-profits set up around the park.  Chances are, your favorite clothing company has a “Riot Fest Exclusive” or is selling the crew neck you wanted for way cheaper than it is online.  They also might be doing a signing or meet and greet with your favorite band and I know you wouldn’t want to miss that.  You can also check online before you go because said companies will post when these signings are and if you need a wristband to attend.  Last year, I saw that All Time Low was doing a signing at the AP tent and I may have gotten to the gate four hours and sprinted to the tent as soon as it opened for the wristband… It’s worth it to check out these tents.

A lot of the same rules as Warped Tour applies.  Don’t push your limits, bring sunscreen (just in case), make sure you have your money, make sure your phone is charged, wear comfortable shoes…  Most important, make sure to have fun.  Riot Fest is a giant carnival with your favorite bands!  Ride some fun rides and check out a freak show or two!  I can guarantee that Riot Fest will be the best weekend of your life!