Riot Festival: Chicago

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Riot Fest is a spectacle, for all of those involved. Festival attendees line the streets of south Chicago, migrating to and from the event. Local residents set up shop on the sidewalks selling water bottles, pop, food, and more. Groups of police officers in bullet proof vests and armored vehicles patrol the area. Taxis and other ride services spend their days bustling to and from the festival area. Even phone service stalled, most likely due to the volume of people attempting to access their networks. Despite the chaos, an authentic communal experience took place.

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I experienced this sense of community during Danzig, when we all raised our fists to mirror him. Or during Taking Back Sunday, when the sound of the crowd around me screaming the lyrics matched the band’s volume and energy. Even the sheer crowd size for DC punk legends Bad Brains was a communal act of reverence, despite the band’s low-energy performance that day. 

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The Storyteller captured not only photos of the bands, but the community around the festival as well. We also spent a significant amount of time in Irving Park, eating copious amounts of food from the local Bodega and recharging from the festival. 

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