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Riot Fest prepares for three wild weekends in North America

Get ready for the start of three weekends of Riot Fest!

The National
John Patrick Gatta

The alt rock events begin this weekend in Toronto then stop in Chicago and end up in Denver.

Taking place on Sept. 6 and 7 at Downsview Park, the opening night features concerts by The Cure, Billy Talent, The Flaming Lips, Paul Weller, The Afghan Whigs, Death From Above 1979, Manchester Orchestra, Rise Against, Rubblebucket, Brand New, Alkaline Trio, Taking Back Sunday and Bring Me the Horizon.

On Sunday Toronto's City and Colour headlines and will be joined by Death Cab for Cutie, The National, Metric, Social Distortion, Stars, The Head and the Heart, Dropkick Murphys, The New Pornographers, Bob Mould, Buzzcocks, Clutch, Lucero, Pup and The Bots.

Now, in its 10th year Riot Fest Chicago, Sept. 12-14, has moved to the northern section of Humboldt Park in order to offer more concerts and attractions.

Besides a lineup that includes The Cure, The National, Jane’s Addiction, Weezer, Flaming Lips, Slayer, Social Distortion, Mastodon, Descendents, Tegan and Sara, The Offspring, Wu-Tang Clan, City and Colour, Patti Smith, Paul Weller, Billy Bragg, Primus, Metric, Lucero, NOFX, Gogol Bordello, Clutch, Samhain and Cheap Trick, there will now be two Ferris Wheels, bumper cars and Tilt-A-Whirl, a 9-hole mini-golf course plus regular fare such as Lucha Libre wrestling.

There will also be burlesque shows, circus stunt show and chainsaw sculpting in tribute to the late Dave Brockie of GWAR and the event’s unofficial mascot John Stamos.

The fest is also working with the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless again. This time it will donate proceeds from a 20-game arcade on the site.

Thurston Moore has canceled his Riot Fest appearances in Toronto and Chicago due to visa issues.

Still taking place after a forced change of location will be Denver’s Riot Fest, Sept. 19-21 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. On these grounds, it will recreate the festival’s original site of Byers, Colorado and May Farms.

Like the prior weekends, the Denver experience will host many of the same artists including Weezer, The Cure, The National, The Flaming Lips, Primus, Social Distortion, Descendents, City and Colour, Lucero, Buzzcocks, Clutch, Rise Against, Manchester Orchestra and Dropkick Murphys.

For more information on all three events, visit

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