RiotFest Chicago Photo Highlights – Day 2

Photos and article by Empress K for Reggae Reflection & Island Stage Magazine
Riot Fest Chicago

Welcome to Riot Fest (2nd in a 3 part series) 
Originating in Chicago as a Punk Rock Festival in 2005 at multiple venues located throughout the city, the festival took root in an outdoor location only four years ago in Humboldt Park and this year it moved to its new location at Douglas Park.  Riot Fest has now evolved into the 2nd largest Festival held in Chicago, second only to the infamous Lollapalooza festival – with its own broad variety of music for a slightly more mature crowd than Lollapalooza.

Where else could you expect to see Punk, Heavy Metal, Rock, Pop-rock, Country, Hip Hop and of course our favorite genre of Reggae all at the same three day festival. Genres of music only separated by the seven stages scattered throughout Douglas Park.  And let’s not forget the full scale Carnival smack in the middle of the park, complete with a giant ferris wheel, amusement rides, cotton candy, funnel cakes and much more carnival fanfare!   The multi-day festival has since expanded its footprint to include stops in Denver and Toronto. 

One of the main attractions in Chicago this year for us, was the wide variety of Reggae acts featured at Riot Fest including Lee Scratch Perry, Dirty Heads, Slightly Stoopid, and Jimmy Cliff as well as the Catch A Fire  artists in the middle of their month-long tour:  Skip Marley, Black-Am-I, Jo Mersa Marley, Tarrus Riley, Morgan Heritage, Stephen Marley and Damian Marley.  The Reggae artists paired with the legendary acts of No Doubt, Billy Idol, Fishbone, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and much more made this a not to miss festival.   

Check our Day 1 Coverage – featuring Fishbone, Lee Scratch Perry,  Chef’Special & No Doubt  

No Doubt Riot Fest

Check  our Day 3 Coverage featuring Tarrus Riley, Morgan Heritage, Black Am I , Jo Mersa, Stephen Marley and Damian Marley
Stephen Marley

Full Riot Fest coverage in the latest edition of Island Stage Magazine

Saturday’s Highlights – September 12, 2015

With rain in the forecast again for day 2 of Riot Fest,  I timed my arrival to late afternoon to miss out on the downpour that occurred earlier in the day.  This did not deter the fans from coming out  to the day 2 event, which for the most part was geared to the rock and punk rock crowd.   Many fans were well prepared for the aftermath of mud at the park sporting rubber boots  – something I will certainly add to my list of festival gear! 

Merle Haggard – Okie from Muskogee

Merle HaggardMerle Haggard

Country Legend Merle Haggard 78 years of age and celebrating over 40 years in the music industry was only the 2nd oldest entertainer that we are aware of at Riot Fest.  Just one year younger and in a completely different in style than Lee Scratch Perry who we had seen the day before.  A large and overflowing audience diverse in age were present at the Riot Stage and certainly excited to watch Merle Haggard and The Strangers  perform his catchy sing along country songs including his number one hits and ageless tried and true classics,  Mama Tried, and Okie from Muskogee .

Scenes from Riot Fest

Riot Fest

It’s like a memory that will last  ~ Like a postcard from the past  ~ Yesterday is history ~ It’s there for all the world to see.”          BILLY IDOL


Billy Idol has been one of my favorite rock artists from the eighties, however I’ve only managed to see him once at small outdoor setting outside of Montreal some years ago, so I was looking forward to see him once again and check how his performance measured up after all these years.   

While not looking quite as youthful, Billy Idol still knows how to command the stage while looking as fierce as ever clad in a black leather jacket, pants and boots.  

The rock infused set started out with a new song, Postcards From The Past from Billy Idol’s seventh and most recent studio album, Kings and Queens of the Underground (2014) before launching into many of his classic hits, that are now unbelievably more than 30 years old including Flesh For Fantasy, Eyes Without a Face, Rebel Yell,  and White Wedding including a wonderful acoustic version of it  before capping off  the evening with the ever popular, crowd singing and dancing along version of the Tommy James song, Mony Mony.  It feels like just yesterday that I was watching his videos on MTV.  These are great memories from Riot Fest that will certainly last. 

Billy Idol Riot Fest Chicago

Billy Idol Riot Fest Chicago

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