Riot Fest and Exposition rolled through Toronto for the final stop of the three city tour at Downsview Park over the weekend. Other dates included Riot Fest and Rodeo in Denver, CO, on August 28 – 30 and Riot Fest and Carnival in Chicago, IL, on September 11 – 13.
Despite day one’s torrential downpour, the weekend was filled with good music, elated crowd surfers, and thousands of music fans. Find our highlights from Riot Fest below:
1. Alexisonfire’s official reunion
The St. Catharines band announced their official reunion as a band when guitarist Wade MacNeil stated, “Thank you for believing in this band when we couldn’t even believe in this band. Thank you for sticking with us. We promise to never leave you again… No more sentimental shit, Alexisonfire is officially back.”
“Be prepared to be baptized in blood,” said GWAR on Facebook in excitement two days prior to their Toronto show. Note that there is no photo here – because their equipment blew up from the rain. Maybe next time, GWAR.
3. The Mud
R.I.P. to thousands of shoes. Day one saw a downpour of rain that left Riot Fest looking more like a punk rock Woodstock. Most of the festival goers embraced the dirt with some wearing a full suit of mud by night’s end, tracking a steady stream of mud even into the nearest subway station two kilometres away. Day two blessed Downsview Park with some gorgeous fall weather to remind us all: never trust the weatherman.
Golden hour sunshine washed over Rancid as they took to the Riot Stage. Fans kicked up the dust with a giant circle pit. The legendary punk band played the seminal punk record …And Out Come the Wolves front to back and then some!
5. The fans
Where would Riot Fest be without the fans? What would music be without people to listen? The gathering of music fans from across genres at Riot Fest proved that subculture is still alive and well (and thank goodness for that!). Check out this little rockstar and her dad front stage at The Dead Milkmen.
6. Tyler, the Creator
“You guys ready to jump up and down like a bunch of idiots?” Tyler announced to the crowd alongside Jasper and Taco. Other notable moments during his set included naked crowd surfing drunk girl who Tyler proceeded to make fun of on stage.
The LA skate punk outfit tore up the Roots Stage flanked by life-sized mannequins of R. Kelly. With creepy papier-mâché heads that occasionally blew smoke, they take the prize for the best stage design, no doubt.
8. Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue
Defending themselves against the rain storm, many ran into a nearby circus tent only to discover… The Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue?! The circus featured acts of death-defying stunts, fire-breathing, contortion, acrobatics, beds of nails, and more!
9. Jazz Cartier
Jazz Cartier signed a waiver saying he wouldn’t incite any riots – but in his words, “fuck that.” He climbed the stage structure and dove into the crowd, because what’s a Cuzzi show without getting a little bucky? He also made sure he had plenty of water bottles on hand to spray the crowd.
10. The “Free” Hill
Festivals can get pretty expensive, agreed? Well, we got you covered. There’s a hill located beside the park grounds that allows you to watch the Rock Stage for free! We can’t promise that you won’t get hit by Jazz Cartier’s water though… or security on golf carts.
With all that being said, we can’t wait for next year’s Riot Fest. See you in the pit!
(Photography by Ashley Emma Ng)