Last night, the internet let out a collective gasp as Riot Fest organizers released the lineups for their Chicago and Denver iterations, as well as capped off their already-announced Toronto fest with the addition of mope-rock legends the Cure. Given that all three fests take place in a three-week span this September, and all three have pretty killer lineups (and none of them are in our backyard of Cleveland, womp womp), we thought to ourselves, “Which one of these three Riot Fests should we use our personal days and cash in our piggy banks to attend?” We’re sure we’re not the only people wrestling with this decision, so we thought we’d break it down for you.

This year, Riot Fest Toronto has moved to a new, bigger location and Riot Fest Denver has added a third day. Rumor has it Riot Fest Chicago is expanding into more of their location, as well. Let’s see what each place has to offer, and keep in mind, prices will go up as more tickets are sold, so buy early!

WHEN: Sept. 6-7, 2014
LOCATION: Downsview Park, a 572-acre property best known for hosting Canadian festival Edgefest as well as being the place where Pope John Paul II made two public appearances. We’re not saying it’s holy ground, but if you have good weather that weekend, you know who to thank.
TICKETS: $179.98 (two-day pass), $289.98 (two-day VIP pass)

WHEN: Sept. 12-14, 2014
LOCATION: Humboldt Park, a 207-acre park smack-dab in the middle of the Humboldt Park neighborhood that’s been home to Riot Fest since 2012, and is officially on the National Register Of Historic Places. (That means pick up your garbage and put it in a trashcan, ya filthy animal.)
PARKING ONSITE: No. There is limited street parking surrounding Humboldt Park, but your best bet is taking public transit or a cab.
TICKETS: $179.98 (three-day pass), $259.98 (three-day VIP pass)

WHEN: Sept. 19-21, 2014
LOCATION: May Farms, a sprawling farmland located about 45 minutes east of Denver featuring acres of corn, a freshwater fish pond and, in about four months’ time, tens of thousands of smelly punks.
CAMPING ALLOWED: Yes. Prices range from $149.98 to $299.98, depending on your vehicle and desired space.
TICKETS: $129.98 (three-day pass), $229.98 (three-day VIP pass)


All three Riot Fests have a bit of overlap in their lineups—no matter which one you decide to buy tickets for, you’re guaranteed to get the following 16 bands: Bring Me The Horizon, Buzzcocks, City And Colour, Clutch, the Cure, Die Antwoord, Dropkick Murphys, the Flaming Lips, Lucero, the National, New Found Glory, Nostalghia, Rise Against, Social Distortion, Taking Back Sunday and Wounds. Here’s what makes each individual Riot Fest special, though:

EXCLUSIVE TO TORONTO: Brand New, Death From Above 1979, Billy Talent, Death Cab For Cutie, Alkaline Trio, AWOLNATION + more

EXCLUSIVE TO CHICAGO: The Offspring, Saosin with Anthony Green, Tegan And Sara, Of Mice & Men, Motion City Soundtrack, Blue Meanies, Cheap Trick, Silverstein, Andrew W.K., Rx Bandits, the Get Up Kids + more

EXCLUSIVE TO DENVER: A Day To Remember, 3OH!3, Primus, Violent Femmes, TV On The Radio, Sublime With Rome + more

More importantly, here’s who each date is getting the shaft on:

PLAYING ALL RIOT FESTS EXCEPT TORONTO: Weezer, Descendents, NOFX, Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, We Came As Romans, Failure, Hot Snakes, Slayer, La Dispute + more

PLAYING ALL RIOT FESTS EXCEPT CHICAGO: Glassjaw, Manchester Orchestra, Bob Mould (that’s currently it)

PLAYING ALL RIOT FESTS EXCEPT DENVER: Circa Survive, Title Fight, Metric, Citizen, the Hotelier, the Afghan Whigs, Somos, PUP + more

So if you’re the world’s biggest Brand New fan, it looks like you better get your passport renewed before September because you’re headed to Toronto—and if you worship the ground Daryl Palumbo and Andy Hull walk on, Chicago is not the place for you.


In a dream world, we’d say, “Go to all three!” Obviously, that isn’t feasible for those of us without John Stamos money. On paper, Chicago, seems to have the most bang for your buck, with their three-day ticket costing as much as Toronto’s two-day ticket and their lineup being stacked with one-time only reunions and big-name gets (and a handful of question marks on their lineup, indicating more surprises to come). Although Denver is also three days and is currently $50 cheaper a ticket, and you’re gonna get A Day To Remember and 3OH!3, something no other Riot Fest this year will have. However, three days can be exhausting, so while Toronto might cost a bit more per day, you won’t need to commit yourself to 72 straight hours of partying like you would if you were camping in Denver. Plus, Toronto’s lineup is a Canadian music fan’s dream, featuring such maple syrup-infused heavy-hitters like Billy Talent, Stars and the New Pornographers—and it also has the only Riot Fest appearance of Brand New, who were fucking phenomenal in Chicago last year. So, with all of that said, what’s our recommendation?

Uh, go to all three. Time to tweet at John Stamos and ask for a loan…