Who To See At Riot Fest 2023

Set to take place for it’s 17th year of punk rock music in Douglass Park is Riot Fest. That’s right, Riot Fest is THIS weekend, September 15th through the 17th, And WLUW is ready to take on another year of the fest. Headliners such as Turnstile, The Cure, Foo Fighters, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Postal Service will be rocking the stage all weekend long. Whether you’re looking for some pop-punk acts, OG riot grrls, or up and coming artists, Riot Fest has got it covered.  

Check out some of our staff’s favorite Riot Fest 2023 artist’s below!

Turnstile –

Riot Fest, a music festival of the punk persuasion is the perfect place for this band to put on a killer show. Turnstile, a youth hardcore punk band will be performing at the Root Stage from 6:55-7:55 on Friday, September 15th. The band just debuted their new, almost nostalgic EP singles, “New Heart Designs” in August of 2023. The EP added three songs to their discography including “Mystery,” “Alien Love Call,” “and Underwater Boi.” These three songs listened to in consecutive order, bleed into each other in a coherent and alluring way. Even though Turnstile is a hardcore punk band, in which they ensure a lively and experimental show, they have this graceful and even delicate sound to them. They are a must-see performer at the 2023 Riot Fest.

– Olivia Sigunick

070 Shake –

With her mesmerizing vocals complimenting the works of artists such as Kanye West, Pusha T, and RAYE bringing her to center stage, the genre-defying 070 Shake is set to hit Riot Fest on Saturday. Emotional verses regarding complex relationships, vulnerability, and queer love complement her dreamy beats and gritty vocals. Experience the vibe of hip-hop if you hopped inside an alien spaceship and took off into the galaxy with 070 Shakes’ most recent album, You Can’t Kill Me. While a little less punk than the typical Riot Fest performer, 070 Shake’s captivating sound is worth the subtle change in pace. If you’re ready to feel the bass, connect with an artist, and become immersed in true emotion, tap in and experience 070 Shake. 

– Ava Parr


PUP is a punk band from Toronto, Canada, consisting of guitarist, Steve Sladkowski, bassist, Nestor Chumak, drummer, Zack Mykula, and lead singer/guitarist Stefan Babcock. You may know their 2019 album, Morbid Stuff with its single “Kids”.Their latest release “How To Live With Yourself / Smoke Screen” is a perfect example of their duality. The songs transition from high energy to highly distorted, all while delivering great guitar riffs like on “Kill Something”. PUP is sure to put on a great show and is definitely not one to miss.

– Ciara Belfiore

Viagra Boys –

The Viagra Boys are a must-see at Riot Fest this Saturday. All the way from Stockholm, Sweden, the Viagra Boys have put their own unique flair on the post-punk sound. With funky lyrics and a memorable name, the Viagra Boys are sure to put on a fun, high-energy show. If you’re a fan of Parquet Courts, Fontaines D.C., or Dry Cleaning I would highly encourage you to add them to your Saturday lineup. I for one am certainly pumped to hear “Sports” live from Douglass Park!

– Jane Nordstrom

The Postal Service –

The Postal Service is taking the stage at Riot Fest Saturday and we couldn’t be more excited! Formed by lead vocalist of Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Gibbard and DJ, Jimmy Tamborello in 2001, the duo created the long lasting indie classic that is their 2003 album, Give Up. With additional backup vocals from singer Jenny Lewis, The Postal Service is an amazing project that blends indie pop with Jimmy Tamborello’s electronic influence. Catch The Postal Service at Pitchfork this weekend and celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Give Up”.

– Ciara Belfiore

Godspeed You! Black Emperor-

The illustrious Montreal-based post rock group is returning to Chicago to perform at Riot Fest this weekend! Since their debut album in 1997, the group has consistently been making their mark in the rock, post rock, and avant-garde spaces with songs that are as monumental as they are dense. Using a mix of field recordings, samples, and original composition, Godspeed crafts a story in each and every song, which are only made more substantial when combined with the video projections that play during their live shows.  Their setlists span a period of over twenty years, from their critically acclaimed turn of the century record ‘Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven,’ through their latest release ‘G_d’s Pee at States End!’ Godspeed You! Black Emperor is one act you’ll need to see this weekend.

– Ian Keller

Death Cab for Cutie –

This Seattle-based group will be joining the main stage at 2023s Riot Fest. Death Cab for Cutie, one of the early 2000s most prominent indie rock bands, has given us somber and buoyant music for almost 30 years. Members include Ben Gibbard, with his melancholic vocals as well as Nick Harmer on bass, Dave Deeper on keyboard, guitar and background vocals, Zac Rae on keyboard and guitar, and last but certainly not least, Jason McGerr on drums. Their moody yet wistful sound can be attributed to their heavy use of the bass and their drum beats. They have created the perfect hook in each of their songs, making their music desperately satisfying. They will be performing their fourth studio album, Transatlantaism on stage. Get ready to go back to the year 2003 when they recorded this concept album that explores the topic of long-distance relationships. They will be performing on the Riot Stage from 6:50-7:50 on Saturday, September 16th.

– Olivia Sigunick

Microwave –

The post-hardcore grunge rock band Microwave is hitting the Pitchfork stage on Sunday and we, for one, will be in the front row! Since their formation in Atlanta in 2012, vocalist/guitarist Nathan Hardy, bassist Tyler Hill, and drummer Timothy Pittard have taken the punk scene by storm, with their latest album “Death Is A Warm Blanket” described as an “amalgam of everything exhilarating about loud guitars.” Perfect for fans of Brand New,  Hot Mulligan, and The Hotelier., we can’t wait to rock out to tracks such as “Lighterless,” “Something Right,” and “Circling the Drain” with you this Sunday!

– Taylor Holzman

Check out all the artists performing at Riot Fest here:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.