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Riot Fest 2021: Be Safe Out There

So this is what it’s like attending a big music festival during a global pandemic, huh? Cool.

Big thanks to the 385,000 guinea pigs who attended Lollapalooza this year and proved that you can go to a huge, multi-day outdoor party without becoming part of a superspreader event…as long as you are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result.

I’ll admit that I had been dubious that Riot Fest was going to happen this year, especially after seeing those photos of the tightly packed, maskless hordes in Grant Park. But health officials only found 203 cases connected to Lollapa. Nothing unexpected. So yay!

That good news did not prevent several bands on the original lineup from pulling out of Riot Fest including My Chemical Romance, Nine Inch Nails, Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, PUP, Holy Fawn, White Lung, Skating Polly, Faith No More, and Mr. Bungle. You might think that losing several big-name headliners and support groups would tank a music festival.

But Riot Fest is scrappy. And agile!

They were able to add a bunch of replacements at the last minute. It’s hard to imagine a corporately owned event being this quick on its feet, but independent Riot Fest can get shit done. They added Skipknot, Flaming Lips, Rise Against, Anthrax, Body Count, Pinegrove, Envy on the Coast, Action/Adventure, and Clockworks. Not only that but they tacked on a bonus Thursday with Morrissey, Patti Smith, Alkaline Trio, Joyce Manor, WDRL, and Kristeen Young.

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