Douglas Park was almost quiet this weekend. Riot Fest has had a tough run this year— in every manner possible. A week ago, little was still known about the festival that was to take place the weekend of September 14th, and as fans sat nervously waiting for the daily lineup to be announced, it wasn’t hard to see why rumors of cancellation had flown so far and held so tight. This weekend’s Riot Fest managed to draw a multitude of genres for its fourteenth iteration, including Weezer, Incubus, Run the Jewels, Calpurnia, and Liz Phair— but this was certainly not without its fair share of roadblocks.
The lead-up to Riot Fest 2018 was by no means smooth sailing. The first derailment came back in February when the lineup itself was delayed, prompting a outbreak of anxiety from those who’d already bought tickets, with many taking the delay as a sign that something was off. Once that had been released, more scrutiny came following a Ticketfly mishap, and Riot Fest was forced to sell tickets for almost dirt cheap to make up for the data breach that happened during their on-sale times. Then, following Blink-182‘s and Moose Blood‘s cancellations (the latter due to visa problems), the lineup was again in question, quite literally, as Blink-182’s spot on the poster had been replaced with a series of question marks, with no word on how or when that slot would be filled. At long last, Weezer stepped in, but as the weekend neared and the daily schedule was still up in the air, panic was just about in full swing as fans worried these were signs their beloved festival would not be taking place.
@RiotFest Can you please just confirm Riot Fest is happening? I'm flying in from NY. Starting to get worried and tomorrow is the last day I can cancel my trip for a full refund. Not asking for any other info, but please just a 'yes it's happening'
Tweets like this dominated the Riot Fest conversation, as ticket-holders were flying in from all over the country, understandably worried about missing out on the experience and losing money. For all the gossip and disquiet, it’s a surprise there wasn’t a nationwide riot, as grievances towards Riot Fest continued to rack up even with less than a week to go.
Fears were fueled as the very week before, St. Louis’s Loufest (a similarly formatted festival with a similar style of lineup) was cancelled just days before it was scheduled to take place, citing contract issues, mounting debt, and increment weather. Frustration with Loufest began when the lineup was announced much later than usual, and suspicion grew when the release of day schedules was delayed until the preceding week, all setbacks that Riot Fest later suffered as well. And with months of radio silence from virtually everyone at Riot Fest, it was almost impossible to envision a positive outcome.
But thankfully, fears were all but banished when, three days before, Riot Fest broke their silence and released the daily lineup, a indisputable sign that the festival would indeed be happening.