Who’s playing at Riot Fest in 2021?

Darina Lubenov, Staff Reporter

As an effort to halt the rising Covid-19 cases in the nation, many social gatherings have been either postponed or canceled. One of these was Chicago’s annual Riot Fest, a festival spotlighting alternative bands and music.

But have no fear. Riot Fest has been postponed to September 2021, from Sept. 17 through Sept. 19 in Douglass Park near Little Village in Chicago.

Although many have canceled their plans for Riot Fest, I’ve forced myself to hold onto my weekend pass in hopes of the festival returning without any irregularities.

As a self-proclaimed emo fan myself, it hurt to see that the dates were to be changed. I personally would much rather be going at a time where times are better and we are no longer in a pandemic. 

However, next year’s lineup is already glorious. Don’t even take into account that one of my all-time favorite ride-or-die bands — My Chemical Romance — is headlining. The lineup is spectacular even with half of it blanked out as of publishing time. One of the main reasons I ended up saving all of my hostessing money to buy these tickets was for this setlist that includes so many of my favorite bands, which I thought I’d never see in person.

My Chemical Romance, The Smashing Pumpkins, Run The Jewels and Pixies are headliners this year.

A few other prominent performers featured further down on the setlist include Simple Plan, Sublime with Rome, Coheed and Cambria, New Found Glory, Vic Mensa, L7, Fever 333, Dirty Heads and many more.

Some of my favorite up-and-coming bands on this setlist include Meet Me @ The Altar and Chubby and the Gang. Both bands have amazing new music, EPs and albums that are highly underrated. 

Although the list is not completed nor released to the public, speculations rise among attendees. Rumored sets from The Offspring, Bring Me The Horizon, Machine Gun Kelly, The Used and The Psychedelic Furs are all just mere conjecture among enthusiasts.

Something that I enjoy about this year’s setlist is how diverse it is in terms of sound. Personally, my monthly playlists are all over the place, so this is something that I’ll enjoy.

However, instead of forcing readers to listen to my top-tier playlist, here is a list of bands that I am looking forward to seeing in person:

My Chemical Romance

This group is forever in my gothic heart. My Chemical Romance is headlining this year’s fest after disbanding in 2013, only to return in 2019 with a reunion tour that was also postponed and canceled. MCR is, obviously, one of my favorite bands ever. I love their whole discography, but my favorite albums have to be either “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” or their debut album, “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love.” This will be the band’s Riot Fest debut.

The Smashing Pumpkins

This year, the Pumpkins are headlining alongside MCR, Run the Jewels and Pixies. To me, the Smashing Pumpkins are just a reliable, classic band you can always count on. Their new album “CYR” was released at the end of November. “CYR” gave off an early-Killers-circa-2004-synth-pop sound. One of my favorite songs off of this album is “Black Forest, Black Hills.” Fans might especially prefer the album “Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness.” This will also be the band’s first time at Riot Fest.

Mayday Parade

Words cannot describe my love for Mayday Parade. However, I will not be having any Mayday Parade slander (looking at you, fellow Guardian staff reporter Fallon Manzella-McReady). Mayday Parade is the epitome of angsty emo music that is timeless in my eyes, and ears, I guess. I really enjoy their earlier work from the late 2000s. “A Lesson in Romantics” is such an amazing album that has zero bad tracks. My favorite song from the group at the moment is “If You Can’t Live Without Me, Why Aren’t You Dead Yet?” from the band’s sophomore album “Anywhere But Here.” This will be the band’s second time at Chicago’s Riot Fest.

Taking Back Sunday

I remember my first interaction with Taking Back Sunday was in a music store when I saw their album “Where You Want to Be” on a shelf. I was confused as to why its cover displayed a naked baby on an empty farm road, but fourth-grade me was not one to ask questions. Moving forward to 2019, I fell in love with the band’s sound. I value the band’s old and new work equally. My favorite albums from Taking Back Sunday have got to be “Tell All your Friends” and “Louder Now.” I love belting the beginning of “You’re So Last Summer” when it comes on in my car. My friends have been forced to become accustomed to it. This will be the band’s sixth appearance at Riot Fest.

The All-American Rejects

The Rejects have a pop-punk sound that is familiar. They’re the band everyone our age has probably heard while growing up (“Move Along,” “Dirty Little Secret,” “Gives You Hell”). I do enjoy the band’s earlier work, such as classics like “Move Along,” an album the band released in 2005. This is the Rejects’ first time performing at Riot Fest.

The rest of the lineup is speculated to arrive by the end of the year through the springtime.