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Riot Fest Is Gonna Happen and Everything Will Be OK, Organizers Tell Weary Public

Fear not Chicago music fans. Despite a chorus of online chatter expressing serious trepidation about this year's Riot Fest in Chicago, organizers tell Billboard the event is on track and is…

Fear not Chicago music fans.   

Despite a chorus of online chatter expressing serious trepidation about this year’s Riot Fest in Chicago, organizers tell Billboard the event is on track and definitely happening and are asking fans and the public for a little patience.   

“It’s 100% going on,” said organizer Michael Petryshyn of the Sept. 14-16 event being headlined by Blink 182, Beck, Elvis Costello, Blondie and more. 

“New announcements are coming shortly,” Petryshyn told Billboard, adding that crews are already in Chicago’s Douglas Park making preparations for this year’s festival. “It’s doing awesome, we’ve never had a down year in Chicago. I think everyone is going to be alleviated shortly.”    

At least three other sources close to the festival tell Billboard that the punk heavy event with Dropkick Murphys, Floggy Molly, Bad Religion and Underoath performing is not in trouble and that much of the online chatter about the event is simply noise.

“Please ignore social media rumors,” said one Riot Fest organizer who emphatically tells Billboard the “festival is not canceling.” Another source told Billboard “I know for a fact that it’s solid,” while a third assured us the rumors about the event were merely rumors.

“ZERO truth to that,” our source said, “Literally zero.”


Petryshyn said there are announcements coming soon that should clarify what is going on with Riot Fest, including news about a potentially new artist or band being added to the lineup and information about single-day tickets.

Last week, fans took to Twitter to express trepidations about Riot Fest, with some pointing out the event’s blog has not been updated since May and daily schedules have not been released for the event. 

The worries come after another event in the Midwest, St Louis’ Loufest, was canceled just days before it was scheduled to take place.

Riot Fest organizers say they’ve already weathered one of the biggest challenges to hit the festival — a hack attack that took Ticketfly offline in the middle of Riot Fest’s initial ticket sale — and managed to survive.

In July, Riot Fest and Ticketfly — which is owned by Eventbrite — reached a financial settlement to compensate Riot Fest for the losses incurred from attack. Petryshyn told Billboard the fest used the funds from the settlement to hook up fans with cheap tickets for 2019 and companion passes for this year’s festival. Fans who have already purchased GA tickets for $160 tickets plus nearly $30 in fees and taxes this year will receive an option to buy a $99.98 three-day GA pass for the festival in 2019, Sept 13-15. They will also receive a free single-day GA ticket companion pass for the day of their choosing for this year’s event. Riot Fest will also be offering a limited number of GA three-day passes for this year’s Riot Fest 2018 for $99.98.  


“This is not about me or Riot Fest, it’s about the fans,” Petryshyn told Billboard in a July interview. “They are Riot Fest. I can’t explain that enough. And people who’ve gone to the festival understand that.”

Stay tuned to riotfest.org for updates on this year’s event.