Riot Fest 2021 got underway on Thursday with a “preview party” in the park.
It has been 732 days since Riot Fest packed the stages and carnival attractions following the 2019 event in Douglas Park. It would have been difficult to arrange a better day for an outdoor event to return, with clear blue skies and temperatures dipping into the upper 70s by early evening.
Crowds for Thursday’s earlybird lineup we’re not heavy as concerts began, likely due to ticketholders’ day job responsibilities as much as agoraphobia in the age of COVID. Stagehands were masked, but not many in the crowd were taking such precautions.
Patti Smith, Morrissey, WDRL, Alkaline Trio, Joyce Manor and Kristeen Young are on the bill for the Douglass Park fest’s opener. The festival was canceled last year due to the pandemic.
Looking ahead to the rest of the fest, the lineup boasts Slipknot, Gwar, the Smashing Pumpkins, Living Colour and Run the Jewels among others.
There are plenty of COVID-19 safety protocols in place for the festival including hand sanitizing and handwashing stations throughout the park, and an onsite COVID vaccination station (courtesy of St. Anthony Hospital; Pfizer and J&J vaccines only). In addition, all attendees must show proof of a full vax or negative COVID test results (the latter within 48 hours of entry date) accompanied by a valid, government-issued photo ID to gain entry each day.
Here’s a look at the sights and sounds of Day 1:
Music fans arrive at Douglass Park for Day 1 of Riot Fest, Thursday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2021. Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
Fans head to the carnival at Riot Fest on Day 1 of the event in Douglass Park.Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
Security checks for proof of COVID-19 vaccination at the entrance of Riot fest on Thursday afternoon in Douglass Park.Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
Fans enjoy carnival games in Douglass Park during Day 1 of Riot Fest, Thursday afternoon, Sept. 16, 2021.Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
Festival-goers walk past signs at the entrance to Riot Fest on Day 1 in Douglass Park on Thursday afternoon.Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
Anyone for some Riot Fest Pale Ale? Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
Contributing: Jeff Elbel