Why Riot Fest will be the best festival of 2014

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I'm feeling very smug at the moment, for one simple reason - in a couple of days I'm heading to the Chicago Riot Fest.

It’s not, as one poorly-informed recent opinion piece in The Guardian (about how bands shouldn’t play full albums at festivals) put it, an “entire festival in Chicago and Denver dedicated to artists too lazy to write a proper setlist”, but an event, though mostly artists on the heavier, punkier side of music, that has one of the most stunning and diverse line-ups of any festival anywhere in the world in 2014. Or any time. Yes, there are ten bands who will play one of their albums in full (and presumably much more, as that’s how those things tend to go), to celebrate the festival’s tenth anniversary - nine have been announced and they’re listed right at the end of this piece - but there’s so much more going on that every time I look at the list, my fingers actually get a little tingly. The Cure are playing! The National are playing! Weezer! Jane’s Addiction! Slayer! La Dispute! The Menzingers! I Am The Avalanche! The Murder City Devils! Red City Radio! NOFX! Slayer! Descendents! Television! Patti Smith! Samiam! The Front Bottoms! The Get Up Kids! Lucero! Taking Back Sunday! The Flaming Lips! PUP! Superchunk! Bring Me The Horizon! To be honest, I could probably just list every single band playing and that would suffice as enough of a preview on its own. It would would be lazy, but effective.

I honestly haven’t been so excited about a festival for a long time. There are so many of my favourite bands, new and old, playing that I’m just going to be rushing from stage to stage (there are seven in total, I believe) seeing as many of them as possible. Since I moved to America just over two years ago, I’ve really missed going to Download and Reading and Sonisphere. I’ve had to suffer through my friends posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram of their fun festival times while I’m ‘stuck’ in New York a few thousand miles away from all the action. The weekend of September 12-14, however, the tables will be turned. I’m going to be the one revelling at a festival with an insanely awesome line-up while they’re the ones who have to live vicariously through me and my terribly taken, blurry Instagram shots. Take that, United Kingdom. Oh wait. What’s that? Weezer, a band I’ve never seen live, clash with The Cure, who I’ve also never seen, and Bring Me The Horizon? Rise Against, Slayer and Jane’s Addiction are all on at the same time on the same day? I’ve never seen Red City Radio or The Murder City Devils either and they clash too?! As do The National and Taking Back Sunday, Bouncing Souls and The Front Bottoms, Superchunk and Tiny Moving Parts, Patti Smith and Mudhoney. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so quick to gloat. Still, it’s not a bad problem to have really, is it?!

And those full album sets in full. There’s one more to be announced, but if something like the below is ruining festivals, then I’d quite like them ruined, thank you very much…

Jane’s Addiction Nothing’s Shocking

The Offspring Smash

Weezer “The Blue Album”

Slayer Reign in Blood

Samhain Initium

NOFX Punk In Drublic

Descendents _Milo Goes To College _

Naked Raygun Throb Throb

The Get Up Kids Something To Write Home About

For more info on Riot Fest, which is also being hosted in Denver from September 19-21, check out the official festival website.