It was another blindingly bright day for Riot Fest as a more subdued crowd made their way to Douglass Park for day two of the festival. After expending all their energy at My Chemical Romance’s set the night before, the returning fans were ready for another great event.
Atlas was back on the grounds early for a double dose of girl power with Mothica and Charlotte Sands back to back. Mothica joked about understanding Chicago’s Windy City nickname, laughingly making the audience promise to upload the video if her wig flew off. Sands is also in the middle of huge upward momentum and brought plenty of fans to her midafternoon set. Both ladies gave their all, powering through suffocating heat for two sets with plenty of heart.
Saturday was for the kids- both onstage and off. The next wave of pop punk has arrived, and leading the charge is Travis Barker mentee Jxdn and wild Brit rocker Yungblud. The two are fast friends and played sets on the main stage close together on Saturday afternoon. Both acts boast young, diehard fanbases- all of whom convinced their parents to take them to the gig.
Jxdn has really come into his own and it was obvious by his command of the huge Roots Stage. Joined by his backing band, he put his whole body into “Lips”, “Comatose” and even a cover of Limp Bizkit’s iconic “Break Stuff”. Later on, Yungblud took the same stage and lit up the grounds with his wild energy. Fans sported dramatic makeup and carried signs in the hopes that he’d notice their efforts as they screamed along to “Parents”, “Fleabag” and “Loner”.
Yungblud has a knack for making everyone feel warmly welcomed into the massive community he’s built and Riot Fest was just another gathering of that community. Fans left the set feeling like a part of something bigger and that’s really what Riot Fest is all about.
The sun went down, the temperature eased up and tired but excited Rioters headed back to their stages for the final acts of day two. Ukrainian folk-punk band Gogol Bordello was a last minute addition to this year’s lineup, but always a welcome one. With seemingly no end to their band members and a catalog of raucous hits, spending time with Gogol Bordello is the most fun we’d had all day.
The main stage headliner was the behemoth that is the Misfits, but plenty of nostalgic fans trekked to the other side of the field for the highly anticipated return of Yellowcard. Brought out of hiatus to play “Ocean Avenue” in full, there wasn’t a dry eye on the barricade when the band took the stage. Singer Ryan Key acknowledged the album’s lasting impact and was rendered nearly speechless at the reaction from the fans that never left this band behind.
After the album performance was done, the band came back out for an abbreviated second set that included more fan favorites from their subsequent records. Day two ended with the best possible vibes and plenty of attendees caught their second wind to head to one of many late night aftershows following the evening’s end.
Check out all the photos from day two!
Story and photos by Olivia Khiel