The punk rock festival Riot Fest & Sideshow rolls through Denver this weekend Sept. 19-21. Heavy hitting headliners include Weezer, Social Distortion, Dropkick Murphys, Rise Against and Slayer. The Chicago-founded festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary with expanded options to help you rage hard through the end of summer.
Social media is a good way to get amped up for the big fest, for festivals tips and info you could turn to the Riot Fest website or Facebook for updated details. It is especially advised to check out the humorus Riot Fest Twitter Guy.
He posted Wednesday Sept. 17 (in true punk spirit), “Just remember, if you don’t like our lineup or how we do things you are more than welcome to book your own f***ing festival.”
Get ready to learn how to Riot Fest responsibly. It helps that this year the festival is more accessible setting it’s base right in the heart of Downtown Denver at Sports Authority Field. While you’re planning out your schedule and getting your mohawk ready it would be advisable to also figure out the logistics (a bit more than how you’re going to sneak that flask in).
This list will provide you transportation options, food offerings, festival advice, a map and more. If you still need tickets they are available here. You can download the festival app for on-the-go info (if your phone gets service).
Gates open at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and noon on Saturday and Sunday. See if you can drag yourself back to work on Monday morning, these tips might increase your chances.
#1. A safe ride
With the festival so central this year you won’t be required to drive hours back from Byers, Colorado, one positive thing about the move. If you still wish to drive, on-site parking will be available for $10.
The festival grounds are conveniently located near the C, E and W light rail lines. For light rail times and fares please visit www.rtd-denver.com. You can plug in your starting address into point A here and click the light rail option if you want to see your different public transportation choices.
This year Uber is partnering with Riot Fest to offer new users free rides up to $25. Uber believes, “Getting there shouldn’t be a circus.” Find more information and Uber-easy instructions here. Promo code for the free ride is RiotFestDen.
Want food and a ride? Illegal Pete’s is offering a bus from it’s South Broadway, LoDo and Boulder locations. The bus is $10 from Denver and $25 from Boulder the higher cost ride includes a burrito and beer (that seems like a win-win).
#2. Some sense of direction
After making your way safely to Sports Authority Field your going to want to get your bearings on the layout of the land. You’ll need to know your route when you’re jumping between stages to catch both Gogol Bordello and NOFX.
The main stage, “May Farm Stage” sits adjacent to the front gate if you can find your way through all the carnival rides and attractions. The parking lot of Sports Authority Field will be transformed into a mini version of May Farms.
According to a press release Riot Fest is recreating May Farms by “bringing all the things people love about May Farms (tractors, hay bales, etc) together with all the things to love about a country fair (rides, a pie-eating contest, apple bobbing and more). Even the stages and vendor rows have been renamed to indicate Riot Fest’s support of Byers, Colorado.”
Check out the Riot Fest map and maybe even print it out and put it in your back pocket. It’s handy to have a meeting place for your posse, you might want to set that location before the chaos begins.
#3. Time to fuel up
With all the mosh pits, apple bobbing, mini golfing and general craziness you will need to take a moment to have a “Riot Feast.” Temperatures have a chance to get pretty high, at least for Friday, make sure you stay hydrated and give your body the fuel it needs to keep dancing (or bobbing your head).
Riot Fest will provide dozens of food vendors, including the popular festival favorite – Spicy Pie. Along with Donut Angel, El Toro the Tot, Farmhouse Foods, Hawaiian Living, Monster Grill, Stueben’s Food Truck, Strawberry Fields and more.
A free water refill station isn’t listed on the map, but as reported on Twitter there will be a “Quench Buggy” next to the sideshow tent. You are allowed to bring in an empty plastic water bottle, so do it.
The vendors will also be selling all sorts of liquids, just make sure you have at least a little water between your libations. Take a look at the FAQ section for more specifics.
#4. A variety of sounds
The final tip to rage responsibility is all about variety. Make sure you move around and soak up all the action. That could mean taking a break from the punk rock scene to check out Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips in his psychedelic regalia singing “She Don’t Use Jelly” or “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.”
Or it could mean, spending the night on the ferris wheel and checking out the city lights and festival sights. It is a sideshow after all…experience what it has to offer.
Being a punk rock festival it’s the ideal spot for the punk-lover, but this year there is so much more. Catch hip-hop with Wu-Tang Clan, indie with The National, gypsy theatrics with Gogol Bordello and even witness one of rock’s great bassists Les Claypool, the frontman of Primus (not to mention Tool drummer Danny Carey). Live it up and enjoy Riot Fest for all it has to offer.