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Mosh Pits and Foo Fighters Start Day 1


Music fans flocked to Douglass Park in North Lawndale as Riot Fest kicked off Friday with Turnstile and Foo Fighters.

The alternative rock music festival, which has a daily capacity of 50,000 attendees and features more than 90 artists on five stages, features titles such as Death Cab for Cutie and The Cure on Saturdays and Sundays.

Riot Fest’s return to Douglass Park in 2023 wasn’t always a given. The unusual festival has faced criticism from some Little Village and North Lawndale residents for seeking permission to use the park this year. Critics complained that the event eliminated green space and introduced traffic, noise and rowdy crowds. Because it is allowedThe festival highlighted efforts to engage the community with job opportunities, free tickets and even a showcase for the youth boxing program. Organizers also adjusted stage locations to minimize noise problems affecting nearby hospitals.

On Friday afternoon, the punk festival substituted the letter “f” for “p” as funk legend George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic played their bass-heavy hits on the Rise Stage. The band’s set came with a stage overflowing with musicians. Five played guitar or bass. One was wearing chunky white platform heels and a shiny, dark blue Afro.

Clinton, 82, sat through most of the demonstration. But when “Give Up on the Funk” started, he stood up and started howling.

“We’re gonna take this mother out,” the band sang.

Clinton wore a red rhinestone hat. The rhinestones on fan Lucas Grant’s almost-matching hat were silver. The 20-year-old Spring Grove resident said he only came to see Clinton on the stylish icon’s last tour.

“It was incredible, man! That was George Clinton there. That was so cool!” he said after watching from the front.

He was grateful that the festival made room for non-rock acts. “It’s not that stage-appropriate,” he said.

But the festival’s regular fare – headbanging punk music – was front and center a short walk from the Roots Stage.

Code Orange frontman Jami Morgan appeared on the alternative metal band’s set wearing a shirt that read “I am a barbarian.”

The band released its shredding, heavy sound as the band’s guitarists and bassist walked across the stage in front of a banner depicting the logo of a sharp-toothed panther. Morgan’s slicked-back hair flowed as she threw her body around the stage.

The singer punched the air angrily while yelling at the crowd. At one point she kicked the microphone stand hard. Then he picked it up and shook it in circles like a disc, threw it to the side stage and shook the wired microphone like a chain.

At one point he started bleeding from his knee. He didn’t seem to notice.

Near the end of the show, Morgan provoked the mosh pit, which circled in front of the stage.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s the basement or the arena, we’re still Code Orange and we’re out for blood,” he said. “I need crowd surfers. I need moshers.

And he got what he wanted.

The singer walked around the stage menacingly as the band played “Forever”. Fans launched themselves into the air to crowd surf before being caught by security. The somewhat orderly mosh pits suddenly stopped moving in a circle, instead descending into irregular, stiffly waving limbs.

And sure enough, Morgan walked off the stage and into the arms of the crowd.

Fan Tom Spinelli said he was getting pounded between his flailing limbs and he liked it.

The 26-year-old artist acknowledged that many people may not understand the appeal of the metal show’s sometimes violent sounds and chaotic crowds.

“You need to loosen up a little bit,” said the tourist from Fort Myers, Fla., who had his shirt off when the show ended. “Fun.”

Morgan later told the Tribune that the group tried to inject “poison” into their show; He believes that this poison does not exist in alternative rock music.

“It used to be there, now it isn’t,” he said.

The band’s distinct edge is at the core of its sound, he said. “There’s a reason you listen to this type of music as an outlet,” Morgan added. “What binds it together is the intensity, live or die there.”

Independently run and born in Chicago, Riot Fest offers events beyond music. There are carnival rides, games with stuffed animal prizes, and a free arcade. Local merchants selling jewelry, artwork, records and other goods are scattered around the park. You can even get free tarot card readings.

At the youth boxing showcase, a group of gloved boys sparred with coaches and teammates in a red, white and blue boxing ring set up near the food tents. Elsewhere, some attendees stopped to watch skaters tackle the halfpipe.

The festival also planned to offer legal marriages in the Wedding Chapel on Saturday and Sunday.

Unlike the colorful festival attire that can replace other events like Lollapalooza, the vibe at Riot Fest is much more low-key, where the crowd looks like a sea of ​​black banded t-shirts at times. More creative looks were sprinkled around, though, like a pair of friends wearing white fairy wings or a woman in an orange skirt covered in fake autumn leaves.

A decidedly younger group filled the lawn in front of the stage of ultra-aggressive hardcore band Turnstile. And that crowd, full of mohawks, mullets, dyed hair, and piercings, rose up for a pretty vicious display.

Instead of one large pothole, the grass was scattered with countless anarchy nests. The band’s high-speed, heavy punk rock sound thrilled fans who sang every word as they tried to catch their breath through the torrent of scuffling and crashing that are key features of Turnstile’s signature live chaos.

Fans threw themselves indiscriminately at each other, being careful to pick up those who fell. In the middle of the fight, people threw up their lost phones, shoes, watches and hats. As the music continued, they became more and more sweaty and encouraged.

As the band played its final song in a set dominated by their latest album, “Glow On,” frontman Brendan Yates insisted they keep getting closer.

“The stage needs you. Come here. Come here,” he said.

Stronger security guards came to line the gunwale. Reinforcements were needed. Dozens of fans were lifted and carried to the stage.

“This is a very unique experience. “These guys are coming at you pretty fast,” said a security guard who shared his name only as Darrell after the demonstration. “Some people see the danger. “I see that I have to help someone.”

He said crowd surfing was a “lost art”. The guard estimated that he personally caught 50 crowd surfers during the show. To catch the crowd of surfers, security guards had to pick them up and pull them over the metal railing, he said.

“You hold them like babies,” he said.

Jake Michalek, who led Frontline Security forces during the chaotic demonstration, said his guards would catch thousands of flying fans during Riot Fest. After he was caught, he said, fans walked to the edge of the stage and returned to the grass.

“We just make sure they don’t hit their heads, they land safely and they can get back into the crowd,” Michalek said. Crowding overcrowding (when the pressure of overcrowding and pushing fans forward, especially in front of the stage, can be dangerous) is a concern that major music festivals have had to take seriously in recent years, especially since the deaths at a concert in Houston in 2021. .

A huge crowd packed the Douglass Park corner of the festival to watch headlining band Foo Fighters close out the night with a massive two-hour set on the Riot Stage.

Dave Grohl leads the Foo Fighters at Riot Fest on September 15, 2023.

Music icon Dave Grohl, a two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, walked in front of the elaborately lit stage as he sang and played his dark blue guitar in a show filled with emotional highs and lows. The charismatic multi-instrumentalist frontman recalled playing at the Cubby Bear bar in Wrigleyville decades ago.

As they sang the band’s hit “My Hero,” the expanding crowd’s hands shot up as fans belted out the chorus.

“Here goes my hero,” they sang. “He’s an ordinary guy.”

Riot Fest will be held September 15-17 from noon (doors open at 11 a.m.) until 10 p.m. at Douglass Park, 1401 S. Sacramento Drive. The main entrance is at the corner of W. Ogden Boulevard and Sacramento. Tickets and more information at: riotfest.org


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