Riot Fest, the 12 year old punk, rock, and hip-hop festival has made waves with the announcement of their first set of performers for 2017.
The 3-day festival will take place in Chicago’s Douglas Park from September 15-17. The lineup is packed with over 70 acts and more to be announced. The big surprise was that Jawbreaker, the well-loved 90s California punk band, will reunite to headline the Sunday show. Jawbreaker have been broken up for 21 years, and word is that it’s a one-off reunion, with no other shows planned.
Jawbreaker released their last album Dear You in 1995, and there’s been talk of a reunion for a long time now, fueled by fans’ fervent interest. There’s even a band named Jawbreaker Reunion. Since Jawbreaker’s split, lead vocalist / guitarist Blake Schwarzenbach formed Jets to Brazil, as well as Thorns of Life and Forgetters. Drummer Adam Pfahler played in J Church, Whysall Lane and went on to form the band California, and bassist Chris Bauermeister played with Horace Pinker.
There reportedly hasn’t been much contact between Bauermeister and Schwarzenbach over the years, although in 2011 the band played a few songs together for a documentary that has not been released. Fans were surprised to hear about the reunion, and it’s been well-received, with message boards and social media buzzing with the news.
A ton of other great bands will join Riot Fest this year – headliners for the 3 nights are: Nine Inch Nails (Friday), Queens of the Stone Age (Saturday), Jawbreaker (Sunday). The rest of the bill is a roll call of well-known punk, hip-hop, industrial and new wave bands, including: New Order, Prophets of Rage (members of Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy and Cypress Hill), M.I.A., Wu-Tang Clan, Mike D (DJ Set), Gogol Bordello, Taking Back Sunday, TV on the Radio, Ministry, Dinosaur Jr., New Found Glory, Death From Above 1979, Bad Brains, Pennywise, Built to Spill, X, Peaches, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Streetlight Manifesto, Minus the Bear, GWAR, Buzzcocks, GBH, Hot Water Music, Andrew W.K., Fishbone
Riot Fest started out in 2005 and spent the first 7 years as a more low key event, with bands playing different venues around Chicago. In 2012 it moved to Humboldt Park, and then to Douglas Park in 2015. It has grown into a huge festival with a carnival, food trucks and over 100 bands on different stages. In the last few years Riot Fest was held in both Chicago and Denver, but for 2017 it will just be held in Chicago. The Denver festival was cancelled after the death of Sean McKeough, a musician and entrepreneur who was a founding partner of Riot Fest.
Riot Fest has also been home to other big reunions – in 2013 punk legends The Replacements reunited for the first time since their break-up in 1991, and in 2016, Riot Fest hosted the first show by the original Misfits lineup in 33 years. The Misfits played both the Denver and Chicago Riot Fests.