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Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

Winners Of Riot Fest Local Band Contest Will Appear At The Festival This Weekend

Seventy local acts applied to the "Beyond the Fest" contest to get a coveted festival slot, and three will appear this weekend on a Riot Fest stage.

Local hardcore band Through N Through will appear at Riot Fest on Sunday.
Through N Through
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NORTH LAWNDALE — In advance of what looks to be three days of excellent weather, large crowds and some neighborhood controversy, Riot Fest hits Douglass Park again this weekend.

And while the end-of-summer festival always features solid headliners on its main Riot Stage to close out each day — this year: Foo Fighters on Friday, Death Cab for Cutie/Postal Service on Saturday and The Cure on Sunday — the now Chicago-only fest (although it was founded here in 2005, it used to also hold events in cities like Brooklyn, Toronto, Dallas, and Denver) tries to promote local acts as well.

For just a few examples: This weekend, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its “Frame & Canvas,” legendary Champaign emo band Braid will perform the album in its entirety at 6 p.m. Friday on the Rebel Stage. Seminal local punk band Smoking Popes return for their fifth Riot at 12:40 p.m. Sunday on the Roots Stagey. Pop-punkers Spitalfield have reunited for a tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of their album “Remember Right Now,” including a Riot Fest stop at 4:20 p.m. Saturday on the Rebel Stage.  

But a number of local acts appearing this weekend arrived at Riot through a different, unusual channel. In June, the festival announced “Beyond the Fest,” a community initiative that included a local talent contest in which the winners would be able to appear on a Riot Fest stage. In a statement, fest organizers said Riot was “committed to showcasing the phenomenal talent in the community,” putting the emphasis on artists from the Little Village and North Lawndale neighborhoods.

Credit: Riot Fest

Out of 70 community applicants, three were chosen: Hip-hop artist 1300cadoe will kick off the Rebel Stage at 1:15 p.m. Saturday. Hardcore group Through n Through will do the same at 12:40 p.m. Sunday, followed by indie rock brother/sister duo Future Nobodies at 2:05 p.m.

For artists that submitted but didn’t make the fest, Riot Fest created an 80-track “Community Band Submissions” playlist on Spotify “so the bands who didn’t win can also be heard.” 

The “Beyond the Fest” community outreach effort also featured a White Sox Youth Camp and two vendor workshops free to neighborhood residents, which included “a 67 page comprehensive and customized presentation on finance, equipment, food safety, sanitation and much more for aspiring entrepreneurs.” Of the 29 local businesses that participated, ten received a fee-free booth at the festival.

Riot Fest officially opens its doors at 11 a.m. Friday; as of this writing some tickets are still available. For more information, visit

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