Hello Reddit!

We’re the team behind Riot Fest, a three city music festival that’s in its eleventh year in Chicago, third year in Denver and fourth year in Toronto. This is our first time doing an AMA so be gentle—we’re extremely sensitive despite our edgy online persona. Feel free to ask us any question about music, the festival, or anything else you guys can think of—specifically, horse-sized ducks vs. duck-sized horses. Besides following us on Twitter or Facebook, you can also check out /r/riotfest, the guys over there do a great job keeping all the most up to date festival information for you. We just announced single day lineups and our panel speakers for Riot Fest Speaks, if you’re into that kind of thing.

You can still buy a few different tiers of tickets for each cities’ fest, and if you’ve got ‘fuck you’ money, you can buy into our newest ticket tier, the ringmaster ultimate VIP package.

We promise not to make fun of you too much for your choice in music, and we’re sorry we didn’t book the bands you wanted.

On top of our three city music festival, we also have shows throughout the year in each of our three major cities that you can find out about on our club shows page, and finally we have to plug our newest venture Riot Fest Foundation, our charitable foundation dedicated to better equipping our communities to sustain the presence of music, art and education, and to supporting charitable causes and civic endeavors that effect positive change in our neighborhoods.

Ask us anything!

Proof: https://twitter.com/RiotFest/status/634458891359653888

EDIT: [Riot Mike] Thanks for chatting with us everybody! We all hope to see you in a couple of weeks. Be safe. If somebody falls pick them up. Drink plenty of water, but above all else, be nice to one another.

Comments: 235 • Responses: 71  • Date: 

Mayogurt17 karma

Why did you schedule all my favorite bands at the same time?

RiotFestOfficial22 karma

Cause I hate you.

Mayogurt13 karma


RiotFestOfficial12 karma

We upvote you.

rxchicago13 karma

how do you feel about the move to douglas park? the politics targeting your festival have been disgusting this year.

RiotFestOfficial9 karma

Wait, we moved to Douglas Park?

RiotFestOfficial19 karma

We agree, politics are disgusting.

dirtysocknugget10 karma

Will Malort ever become available at the fest? This only seems logical.

RiotFestOfficial9 karma

Riot Twitter Guy: This question leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

callmeDeaconBooze9 karma

On a scale of one to John Stamos, how awesome do you predict RF 2015 in Chicago is going to be? Also, you used a picture of me in a recent Instagram post and that was awesome. See you in September!

RiotFestOfficial13 karma

Riot Mike: I give it a good six and a half.

Riot Twitter Guy: We'll fuck it up somehow.

abear1828 karma


Whats your guys opinion on The Fest (http://thefestfl.com/) in Gainesville and do you guys ever attended it?

RiotFestOfficial8 karma

Riot Mike: The fest is awesome. Tony does an excellent job. We've had Naked Raygun play the fest a couple of times. It's an important festival and he outdoes himself every year.

edasto427 karma

Seeing the map of Chicago's fest this year, along with driving through the park regularly, it is going to be significantly smaller than last year, how are you going to deal with sound bleeding from one stage to another, especially with the increase in hip hop acts and the louder bass frequencies that hip hop uses? Like I'm seriously convinced that no matter what headliner I see on Friday I'll be hearing Ice Cube.

RiotFestOfficial8 karma

Riot Mike: The footprint in Douglas Park has actually more useable square feet than Humboldt did. When it comes to sound bleed, we've been doing our testing for weeks now, and we're pretty certain we have it covered.

SomeGuyInIllinois7 karma

Aside from John Stamos, what act would you most like to get for RiotFest in the future?

RiotFestOfficial11 karma

Riot Mike: Jawbreaker.

rebelbaserec7 karma

When are we going to get a Riot Fest Cruise?

RiotFestOfficial14 karma

Riot Mike: Umm...

Riot Twitter Guy: Do you have a boat we can borrow?

[deleted]7 karma


RiotFestOfficial2 karma

Riot Mike: Two dicks per beer

Mayogurt6 karma

I'm not here to get greedy and ask you for the 2016 lineup, but could you leak one band?

RiotFestOfficial24 karma

Riot Mike: Gwar.

Lolo12036 karma

Any survival tips for attending Riot Fest while 9 months pregnant?

RiotFestOfficial22 karma

Riot Fest Twitter: Any babies born at the festival will become property of Riot Fest.

Mayogurt5 karma

Does that mean I have free admission?

RiotFestOfficial7 karma

Riot Mike: Ask me if I'm an orange.

Battlescarred986 karma

I'm going to the Denver iteration for the first time this year! Are there any indoor stages or are they all outside? I'm nervous about the rain chances. I was at Chicago last year and will never forget the mud 😐.

RiotFestOfficial3 karma

Riot Twitter Guy: The Denver map is coming out this week--stay tuned!

jsphjar6 karma

Hey hey, first time in five years my wife and I aren't making it to RF Chicago...(My pull out game is weak). Two questions: past years, there was a Chicago based band as headliner. What happened with that this year? Also, where do I send my resume?

RiotFestOfficial5 karma

Riot Mike: We tried. We did. We tried to get one Chicago band to close a night for us, but it didn't pan out. We still have plenty of local talent out there. As for not coming, you do understand we have medic tents, and we're right by two hospitals.

Riot Twitter Guy: #1 wear a condom

Mayogurt6 karma

I noticed the 2005 lineup included Agent Orange, The Lawrence Arms, The Misfits, The Bouncing Souls, Dead Kennedys and more really impressive acts for a first year festival. How did you hit the ground running with Riot Fest?

RiotFestOfficial11 karma

I had actually never put on a show before, I just started contacting bands through there agents, you know--and that was all it was.Selling them on playing a new fest was the big thing, but there aren't that many festivals back then. Funny enough, when Lolla became a one weekend event, rather than a tour, Pitchfork, Lolla, and us, all started the same year.

I had actually never put on a show before, I just started contacting bands through there agents, you know--and that was all it was.Selling them on playing a new fest was the big thing, but there aren't that many festivals back then. Funny enough, when Lolla became a one weekend event, rather than a tour, Pitchfork, Lolla, and us, all started the same year.

34587906 karma

About how much money do the artists get on any given day of the event in any of these cities? And what is the upper and lower end of the range of guarantees that artists receive?

RiotFestOfficial5 karma

Riot Mike: What are you talking about?! They pay us.

juniperesque6 karma

How did the political pushback out of Humboldt Park affect your civic pride, since you live there? Did it affect the charitable giving that the RFF focuses on in Humboldt Park, and are you refocusing?

RiotFestOfficial13 karma

Riot Mike: #1 Fuck Maldonado. He's destroying that neighborhood. #2 It has. It actually has effected it because we're in a new home, and we have to give our good will there. It's sad.

junkmanserenade6 karma

What do you have against CM Punk and cantaloupes?

RiotFestOfficial14 karma

Riot Twitter Guy: Cantaloupes ruin fruit salads. Honeydoo is the money melon.

Riot Fest: (CM Punk) We are buddies with Vince McMahon. He knows what he did.

MoDo-6 karma

Hi Riot Fest! My question? WHO IS THE FACE BEHIND @RIOTFEST? We all want to know.

Hopefully one day I'll be able to afford the cross-country trip to attend, instead of just dreaming about it.

RiotFestOfficial14 karma

Riot Mike: You'll be disaapopinted in the face. Go to /r/gonewild instead

Lolnvmjustrt5 karma

Last years chi riot fest was my first show ever, and I have to say thanks for the great first experience. I'm curious, what was your first show growing up?

RiotFestOfficial5 karma

Riot Mike: It was Ramones in, I don't even remember what the fuck year that was... 88... it was the Brain Drain Tour

Riot Twitter Guy: Tom Petty.


What is it that makes it so difficult to book the same amount/caliber of bands for the Toronto festival?

RiotFestOfficial3 karma

Riot Mike: You know you have to remember that Chicago, this is our 11th year here, so it has built up to what it is. Toronto is still a new market for us and Downsview only allowed us 2 days, even though we wanted 3.

TheyNeverDied5 karma

Have you ever thought about expanding to another cities and what makes Riot Fest different from anothe festivals in the world? Huge fan of your festival.

RiotFestOfficial13 karma

Riot Mike: No. Three is too many already.

What makes us different... Lolla or Coachella book every one already so all we're left with is shitty punk bands.

electronicdud4 karma

Where will the keys be to the Riot Fest Camaro on Sept 11?

RiotFestOfficial3 karma

Riot Mike: Ask me if I'm an orange.

thekmac84 karma

I know you guys get "why did you schedule 'x' and 'y' at the same time?" but seriously, how do you folks pick the orders?

RiotFestOfficial5 karma

Riot Mike: It's based on a million factors. Some bands can only do certain days, some need to close stages, it's routing, managers--bigger bands have to go later in the day... but we try to be as mindful of conflicts and things along those lines even though it's nearly impossible.

Riot Twitter Guy: I don't want Mike's job.

GiraffevsRaptor3 karma

What's your advice for an aspiring artist hoping to play riot fest one day ?

RiotFestOfficial4 karma

Riot Mike: Get in a van, start touring, because the only way you become a good band is by playing live shows and experiencing the road.

timmyblob3 karma

Here's a couple of the questions we got in the /r/riotfest thread about the AMA:

/u/keep_going_on : I have always been curious how many bands on average say no to booking Riot Fest... and without calling specific bands out, any ridiculous reasons they've said no?

/u/dirtysocknugget: What made you start Riot Fest?

What was the tipping point that made you decide to take Riot Fest outside, and make it a bigger event?

Are there any dream reunions you would love to book?

/u/mayogurt : I noticed the 2005 lineup included Agent Orange, The Lawrence Arms, The Misfits, The Bouncing Souls, Dead Kennedys and more really impressive acts for a first year festival. How did you hit the ground running with Riot Fest?

RiotFestOfficial4 karma

Riot_Mike: I would say about 20% of the bands that we go after don't confirm. Never really had anything ridiculous... well, reunion bands, well I guess nothing really ridiculous about them, they just don't like each other.

  1. Riot_Mike: I didn't want to take it outside, I liked it when it was in the clubs because I don't like festivals, but we were cannibalizing our audience and it was really hard for people to navigate to see someone at Metro and then also at Congress because we'd have 7-8 shows going on simultaneously and because of that we've made a decision to take it outside and it took us 3 years until we finally did it.

  2. Riot Mike: (Dream reunions) Abba.

  3. Riot Mike: I had actually never put on a show before, I just started contacting bands through there agents, you know--and that was all it was.Selling them on playing a new fest was the big thing, but there aren't that many festivals back then. Funny enough, when Lolla became a one weekend event, rather than a tour, Pitchfork, Lolla, and us, all started the same year.

rebelbaserec3 karma

Have you thought about making Riot Fest a Camping fest?

RiotFestOfficial9 karma

Riot Mike: 100% Yes.

Riot Twitter Guy: It almost feels like we've done that before.

hexasun3 karma

Hi guys, thanks for doing this AMA. My question is, which artists are the nicest to interact with, or overall are just kind, genuine people? Thanks again, and see you in September!

RiotFestOfficial8 karma

Riot Mike: Descendents are fucking awesome--the nicest human beings, and Rise Against.

Mayogurt3 karma

Is NWA going to be at Riot Fest this year?

RiotFestOfficial15 karma

Riot Mike: Yes. Rick Flair and other members are coming. Wooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!

Mayogurt3 karma

What has been your favorite Riot Fest lineup so far (other than this year)?

RiotFestOfficial4 karma

Riot Mike: 2009.

satirerecords3 karma

Hi, long time riot fest attendee here! Could you please explain what goes into determining set times, who plays when? It seems like all the big bands are all scheduled around the same time. Why are they not spread out through the whole day so everyone can see them?

RiotFestOfficial6 karma

Riot Twitter Guy: We put all the names into the hat and then pull them out.

Riot Mike: A lot of the time it's agents and managers negotiating for set times so that dictates a lot of it.

Litmusdragon3 karma

I have a different beer question. Will Riot Fest Denver be getting microbrews this year?

RiotFestOfficial6 karma

Riot Twitter Guy: Yes, it'll be in littler cups this year. Miniature tea cups.

Toby_Kief3 karma

I went to the very first Riot Fest in 2005 when I was 16. It is crazy to see how much this festival has evolved over the years.

As a person who works festivals and tours full time throughout the year, working is just as much fun, if not more fun than attending the festival as a patron.

What is your favorite aspect of throwing such an event?

What are your thoughts about making festivals 18+ or 21+? Thanks! I'll see you on site.

RiotFestOfficial5 karma

Riot Mike: I'd never make Riot 18+. It has to be all ages.

The most exciting part about Riot Fest is when it's over with.

proudofwhat3 karma

Why are tickets so difficult to transfer? I purchased the early bird 3 day VIP, and now can't attend. According to TicketFly, in order to give away or sell them I have to provide the person attending with a copy of my ID and credit card info. Because of this, I cannot resell my tickets on StubHub. I have loved Riot Fest since the beginning, haven;t missed a year, and wish I could just go. Help

RiotFestOfficial4 karma

Riot Mike: We try to prevent scalping as much as we can. It's a Ticketfly thing more than anything.

Mayogurt3 karma

Do you have any questions you would like to ask us?

RiotFestOfficial4 karma

Riot Mike: Ask me if I'm an orange.

Mayogurt3 karma

Are you an orange?

RiotFestOfficial7 karma

Riot Mike: No.

TheyNeverDied3 karma

Most of the people knows about the headliners and middle section of the bill, but what new or small bands we defenitely don't want to miss?

RiotFestOfficial3 karma

Riot Mike: Depends--which city?

Mayogurt2 karma


RiotFestOfficial8 karma

Riot Mike: The Coathangers. Post Malone... Direct Hit! Souvenirs. Beach Slang. Jazz Cartier. Psalm One. Knucklepuck.

Riot Twitter Guy: The Municipal Drainage Project

maschine013 karma

How can I get on stage and be an artist on this next year?

RiotFestOfficial3 karma

Riot Mike: I'm guessing you're in a band? Put in a submission.

Riot Twitter Guy: Lots of practice. How do you get to Carnegie Hall...

Dear_Ambellina033 karma

I'm late to the party, but some drunk guy at rise against at the fillmore last weekend said this would be the last year for riot fest denver. Is this true??

RiotFestOfficial7 karma

Riot Mike: Gotta tell my mom to stop letting my dad go out at night...

Riot Twitter Guy: Sounds like a credible source...

brian0013 karma

Hi Riot Fest-

We did an after show last year at Brew & View with the Descendents documentary, who can I contact to set something up for this year?

RiotFestOfficial4 karma

Riot Mike: Why would you want to show the Descendents documentary again?

Riot Twitter Guy: I'll email you tomorrow.

brian0012 karma

Wouldn't be Descendents again, it would be the new Damned doc and/or the Dicks doc.

RiotFestOfficial4 karma

Riot Mike: Those damned dicks!

parkerreal3 karma

How can we keep CM Punk out of Douglass Park? I am sick and tired of his antics.

RiotFestOfficial4 karma

Riot Twitter Guy: We'll have security going 24/7

dirtysocknugget3 karma

What was the tipping point that made you decide to take Riot Fest outside, and make it a bigger event?

RiotFestOfficial3 karma

I didn't want to take it outside, I liked it when it was in the clubs because I don't like festivals, but we were cannibalizing our audience and it was really hard for people to navigate to see someone at Metro and then also at Congress because we'd have 7-8 shows going on simultaneously and because of that we've made a decision to take it outside and it took us 3 years until we finally did it.

Mayogurt3 karma

Who, in your opinion, has been the greatest act to play at Riot Fest?

RiotFestOfficial3 karma

Riot Mike: That's a tough one...

Give us some context, my personal opinion, or overall best performance?

Mayogurt3 karma

How about an answer for both?

RiotFestOfficial10 karma

Riot Mike: Overall best performance: Iggy & The Stooges, Toronto, 2013.

My personal favorite: Descendents. Riot Fest Philly. 2011.

wastedyouth892 karma

West Memphis three and Rollins? Awesome. Anyway, do you ever worry about the backlash for having such diverse lineups? Considering this started more as a punk show, do you ever fear losing the audience with so many genres on the current lineups? How far do you think you can push it before people actually get mad, not just whining that you didn't get this or that band

RiotFestOfficial6 karma

Riot Mike: No. I learned long ago that I'm going to book what I like, and if people don't like it, go to Lollapalooza.

That's been going on since 2005. I'm used to it.

Superkarateman2 karma

Why did Riot Fest Philadelphia get cancelled a few years back?

(Not complaining. The Promise Ring played anyway, but at like a totally small venue.)

RiotFestOfficial3 karma

Riot Mike: Refer all questions to Live Nation.

danam5242 karma

Where are the best tacos in Chicago?

RiotFestOfficial5 karma

Riot Mike: Oooo. I just smoke cigarettes and drink coffee. I get my nutrients from half and half and sugar in the raw.

Riot Twitter Guy: My favorite, right now, El Milagro Tortilleria in little village. Or Big Star. That's about polar opposite of tacos as you can get.

Mayogurt2 karma

How many shows did you see at the festival last year?

RiotFestOfficial3 karma

Riot Mike: Last year was actually the first year that I ever actually caught full sets. So I caught The Bosstones, Samhain, Cocksparrer, and Naked Raygun.

Riot Twitter Guy: I saw 30 bands, but only the first 1 or 2 songs.

Phunkatron90002 karma

Californian here and I went to my first Riot Fest in Chicago last year. In 8 days, I'll be in the pit for System of a Down in Denver. First, thank you for gathering a lot of my favorite music for a weekend of pure awesome.

Do you guys have any plans to make a West Coast appearance? The EDM festival scene out here is shit and we really need a new change of pace. Riot would be greatly welcomed to the Golden State.

RiotFestOfficial7 karma

Riot Mike: You know there's no real plans to go to California, you guys pretty much have everything to begin with, with Fuck Yeah Fest, Kevin Lyman's punk rock fest this year... you guys are never short on great shows, so it really wouldn't make fest for Riot Fest to come out to California.

Thanks for coming to Chicago and Denver--isn't it better to go to a different city and explore it.

bilbosmaggins2 karma

So 2 of my friends woke up in the middle of the night last puking from the Corn dogs they ate at riot fest Chicago. Any chance we could send a health inspector into one of those deep fried hell hole snack stands?

RiotFestOfficial5 karma

Riot Mike: Dogs Corn 2 night past puking? Okay. Sure health inspector.

Launchpad_Mcquack882 karma

Can we PLEASE have a Riot Fest in NYC? PLEASE!

RiotFestOfficial6 karma

Riot Mike: Yes, but only if the Mets win the world series, the Jets win the super bowl, and the Knicks win the NBA title all in one year.

Launchpad_Mcquack883 karma


RiotFestOfficial5 karma

Riot Mike: Turn that frown upside down!

andymfjAZ2 karma

Did this start out as self-funded, or were there sponsors with deep investment from the start? I ask because I have been trying to do some thing similar in the Phoenix area on my own (with local bands and a few touring bands), and it has proven to be an arduous task.

RiotFestOfficial6 karma

Riot Mike: It started with the $1,400 dollars I borrowed from my sister. She's a big corporation.

dreamover2 karma

Hey Riot Fest! I've been enjoying the fest these last few years. I was wondering if there are any new vegan friendly vendors this year. While it's great that a few vendors have options, it's still lacking as I can only handle so much fried veggies and tamales. And I didn't care for the one slide of pizza Dimo's brought. Pitchfork does a great job with vegan options. Any chance we'll see some of chicago's best vegan food in Douglas park this year? Chicago Diner, Kitchen 17, Ground Control, Handlebar and even Native Foods come to mind. If not, is there a specific reason? Worries about demand?

RiotFestOfficial3 karma

Riot Mike: You'll find out next week! We announce the vendors then.

Stevedave882 karma

Have you ever considered maybe doing something earlier in the year a little south of Chicago with camping? I'm from around Springfield and I'd love to have the camping experience with the only festival that I enjoy

RiotFestOfficial7 karma

Riot Mike: Call it KOA fest, and bring a fucking boombox.

vinuash2 karma

Give Riot Twitter guy a raise, he makes me like the festival 1000x more, and I absolutely loved Riot 2k13, I'd love to hit it up again but due to living in Pennsylvania, travel is a bit of an issue.

If you could have any band that hasn't played yet play Riot, well, play Riot Fest who would it be, and what album?

RiotFestOfficial7 karma

Riot Mike: Guns N Roses. Appetite For Destruction. Hit me with your punches now people.

Riot Twitter Guy: I get 6 cents a tweet now, maybe I'll get 7 cents a tweet if I'm lucky next year.

bilbosmaggins2 karma

I see you guys booked the Prodigy this year. Dope! Can you now get Underworld for next year?

RiotFestOfficial4 karma

Riot Mike: They're actually a really fucking cool band... we haven't even started on next year yet.

Riot Twitter Guy: Let us get through this year first.

bilbosmaggins1 karma

So, can I get free tickets next year for that great idea?

RiotFestOfficial5 karma

Riot Mike: Ask me if I'm an orange.

Petro11801 karma

Hey Riot Mike...Is this the year the Bills make the playoffs? And are you an orange? Hard hitting questions everyone is dying to know

RiotFestOfficial3 karma

Riot Mike: The strive for five is still alive. For the orange question, sometimes.

RiotFestOfficial3 karma

Riot Mike: How good was the sucking at Paul McCartney at Lollapalooza this year?

pennNteller1 karma

The RF at May Farms was the best festival I've ever been to but honestly the one in Denver kind of sucked. Everyone at the farm was super amazingly cool but there were far too many drunk troublemakers getting to the Denver one via mass transit. Way too many assholes shoving their way up front past people that had waited 2 hours and causing fights. Why not find another farm?

RiotFestOfficial3 karma

Riot Mike: Easier said than done. I wish I could... I love May Farms and I wanted it there as long as we were in Colorado, but sometimes you don't get what you want. With that said, it's a lot easier said than done. There's a lot of politics involved, zoning, and so fourth.

Riot Twitter Guy: Farms don't grow on trees you know

scorpiondeathlock1 karma

First time going to Riot Fest and I'm curious at the After Shows. Are they designed to give people an alternative to the headliner with a more intimate crowd or are they truly meant for people to head over to after the festival night is over?

RiotFestOfficial2 karma

Riot Twitter Guy: They're fun shows at smaller venues--just as an extra really.

SkaagiThor1 karma

In Denver, is it going to be indoors or in the parking lot?

RiotFestOfficial2 karma

Riot Twitter Guy: Mostly outside, map coming soon.

alex87581 karma

Always love what you do lineup wise even though I'm halfway across the world and haven't managed to make the trip yet! (someday!)

Was wondering if you had any (broad of course) expenses breakdown you could share? Or at least what percentage goes on talent fees? Just trying to figure out if a small thing locally here is at all feasible but don't wanna undercut acts when offering! It's understandable if you don't want to share that info, thanks either way!

RiotFestOfficial1 karma

Riot Mike: It depends on venue. That's not a simple question to answer because it depends on where you're doing it, what bands you have, what type of production you need. For us it changes year to year.

1q2q3q2w3w1 karma

how do you think about ozzyfest?

RiotFestOfficial4 karma

Riot Mike: Do you mean Ozzfest?

rydk1 karma

No love for the Maple Leafs?

RiotFestOfficial3 karma

Riot Mike: Oh so you're talking hockey... if you're Wendel Clark, maybe.

Tucana661 karma

Seeing the year-after-year geographic locations, are the performers more popular in these areas? Easier to obtain permits? How do you select location?

RiotFestOfficial5 karma

Riot Mike: Chicago is easy because I lived here... Toronto was chosen because I actually grew up in Buffalo, and Buffalo couldn't have its own festival so part of the reason why I chose Toronto was partially because of Buffalo, but I also spent my summers as a kid in Ontario. For Denver, I've always wanted to be on the cover of Hog Times.