No Riot Fest for us this year :(

We’re supposed to be pulling into Chicago right about now. On the Skyway, driving into the city.

We’ve gone to each Riot Fest since 2016, the year we finally gave up on the bloated Lollapalooza. Compared to what Lolla had become, Riot Fest was a breath of fresh air. An independent music festival that featured lots of guitar bands (“punk-adjacent” is how I describe it to my normie dad friends), and they seem to care about its attendees (plenty of port-a-potties, relatively cheap food options, lots of room, chill security). It was cancelled in 2020 because of covid but came back last year after it was proven that you could safely do that if you required proof of vaccination or a negative test.

Remember those hopeful months before omicron? Back when we still believed that immunity would last at least a year and possibly a lifetime, including from mild cases. Shouldn’t even need boosters. Remember that? Oops.

But that’s science for you, always learning, always updating. New variants change the rules. So it goes.

My wife and I got our updated boosters a week ago, pretty much as soon as they were available. She felt worse afterwards than I do, but that’s been the case with each dose of vaccine, so whatever. But then she kept feeling worse and worse…and got a fever. Took a covid test. Negative. I was busting her chops, mansplaining that it was just a bad reaction to the booster. Took another test the next day after her fever spiked to 103 and that little pink line popped up so fast I thought it was a mistake. It was not. It detected SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Shit.

She must have been exposed shortly before we got our boosters. Lousy timing.

My son and I have tested negative every morning and neither of us have any symptoms, so for now the two of us are good. My wife has been taking isolation very strictly so hopefully that will last. And she’s feeling much better since the Paxlovid kicked in. But instead of shooting bands in the photo pit all weekend, running across the park from stage to stage with all the other photographers, she’s alone in our bedroom, bored and sad. Very, very sad.

I realize that a lot of people would say fuck it and go anyway. There are a ton of bands playing that I’d love to see. And it’s always fun to stumble upon something unexpectedly great. Who cares if you’re still (possibly) contagious? What’s the worse that could happen? Glen Danzig gets covid and dies? He’s old and grumpy anyway. This is probably the last Misfits show ever — would anybody miss him?

But of course we’re not doing that. I’m sure there will be assholes walking around breathing on everybody, shedding virus like a motherfucker. But it won’t be us.

Hopefully, we’ll be back next year. And hopefully we can all manage to stay healthy until then.

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