Riot Fest Brought the Good Vibes and a Love of Cannabis to Chicago

High Times

On day-one of Riot Fest, there was paranoia. Before music-lovers, which the Chicago-based festival attracts alone, entered the festival grounds, many were asking, “What about my legally acquired cannabis?!” I overheard that concern more than once, but those fears were soon laid to rest as festival goers bypassed the lovely security members and enjoyed their vices in a peaceful, three-day celebration of music and community.  It was truly a celebration, too, with an endearing sense of community. People cared. Not only about quality music and good times, but about each other. Petty arguing and fighting, which are unfortunately common at festivals, were a rare sight, at least for my eyes. When someone was hurt or had a few too many, people helped. Photo courtesy of Jack Giroux During a booming set from cannabis enthusiasts Run the Jewels, when a man hit the ground, there was only concern, no laughter. People giving a crap about one another made the music and overall experience of Riot Fest all the more enjoyable.  A few bands dropped out before the event, including Nine Inch Nails and the Pixies, but the lineup remained stacked. This year, a few of the headliners included Lupe Fiasco, Devo, Slipknot, The Flaming Lips and The Smashing Pumpkins.  Sometimes must-see acts conflicted in the schedule, but more often than not, all the stages presented variety. Depending on one’s mood on the day, there was a band that would cater to it. After a long day, for example, Lupe Fiasco got the energy raised sky-high. The Chicago native performed “The Cool,” and it ruled. The artist’s voice was as beautiful as it sounds on a record.  Artists were delighted to be back on stage. Several acts admitted to the crowd they hadn’t performed since the pandemic started. Many, such as Run…

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