It’s now been a number of years since Riot Fest was strictly a Chicago festival and is entering its’ Denver iteration for the fourth year, plus this will be its’ second year at the seemingly now-permanent site of the National Western Complex. I’ve attended every Riot Fest in Denver thus far and had a blast each time. But, now that Riot Fest has become a Mile High staple, how can you keep your experience fresh as a repeat attendee? Here’s a few tips that might help it feel like the first time.
See Bands You’ve Never Seen…
…or have never even heard of. Sure, you have to see your favorite bands, but if you’ve got a gap in your schedule and the choices are a band you’ve seen/listened to versus something new, go have a fresh experience and give an unknown band a chance. Maybe they’ll become that “can’t miss” band the next time they come to Denver.
Don’t Leave With Regrets
If there was something that you wanted to do last year, DO IT NOW! Every year, I’ve wanted to ride the Ferris Wheel but the lines are always too long and there’s bands I have to see and people to meet up with and blah blah blah. This year, me and that fucking Ferris Wheel have a date with destiny.
Check Out the Booths
And we’re not just saying that because we happen to have had one. We swear there’s more than just coupons for packs of cigarettes and free Red Bull; there are a ton of local businesses to support and groups like Love Hope Strength (who sign people up to become bone marrow donors) can help you find a new way to get involved with organizations in your community.
Plan Your Transportation
If you’re a “go with the flow” kind of person, this tip isn’t for you, but if you have places to be, make sure to figure it out in advance. The public transportation options at the National Western Complex aren’t great (the main thing I miss from the Mile High site was the light rail stop) and car traffic can be a nightmare toward the end of the night. If you have After Shows to attend (and they’re definitely worth attending), you’re probably gonna want to make your way downtown a little early if you want to catch those full lineups. Make friends with an Uber driver that weekend and plan accordingly!
Help Your Friends
If you’ve rocked your way through Riot Fest before, share your survival tips with your newb friends. Did your back hurt after last year? Pass the word to wear good shoes. Did the dust bother you? Bring an extra bandana for your buddy. Beer was too expensive? Throw back a few really quick in the parking lot first like a party professional. (JK, Riot Fest!) Basically, if you can keep your friend from making rookie mistakes, you’ll all have a better time.
Denver’s Riot Fest & Rodeo is scheduled for Sept. 2-4 at the National Western Complex. Chicago’s Riot Fest & Carnival is set for Sept. 16-18 at Douglas Park. Three-day passes are already on sale here and here, respectively.
onTheWeb: Riot Fest Website