By Zev Citron. Senior Editor. Photos by Daniel Hadfield. Day 1 of Riot Fest started with rumours that it was going to rain buckets later in the afternoon. However, the forecast did not stop anyone from taking their lives a little less seriously for a weekend and listening to some old fashioned, screamo punk rock. Downsview Park was filled with people of all ages and hairstyles of every colour, raging to bands like Against Me!, Die Mannequin, and Cancer Bats to start the afternoon off. Wearing a button down shirt with slacks to Riot Fest was my first mistake; I had “journalist” written all over me. But if there’s any festival that would judge someone for what they were wearing, Riot Fest is not that festival. It was so surprising to see the kinds of people that showed up. Look one way and see bald girls with safety pins in their ears; look the other way and there’s a cute old couple holding hands with their baby grandchild in a stroller.
Music knows no boundaries.
Riot Fest’s four stages around Downsview Park hosted dozens of bands throughout the day, Coheed and Cambria, Dead Milkmen, and The OGBMs, each delivering sets to diehard fans and newcomers alike. Some of the most anticipated shows of the day were cancelled due to rain including GWAR, the costumed heavy metal band from Richmond, VA. Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age fame came to the festival with his project, Eagles of Death Metal, but unfortunately had to shorten his set to a mere four songs due to the downpour.
Besides the vast amount of artists performing, festival goers were treated with carnival rides, popup shops, and loads of food stands. *Avoid festival poutine at all costs.* It will bite you in the ass. Instead, get a burger, some onion rings, or even a chicken on a stick. Just some friendly advice. Never buy half-assed poutine.
The later hours of Riot Fest boasted their impressive lineup, with rock legends Weezer and Motörhead performing their hits. A poor scheduling decision forced people to decide between the two bands, but luckily Weezer was cool enough to play both nights of the festival, performing Pinkerton in its entirety on Saturday and The Blue Album on Sunday.
The main attraction of the day was Alexisonfire, who have been touring together on and off since their official breakup in 2012. Dallas Green and the gang stirred up a setlist of crowd favourites which spanned throughout their 10 year career. The band shocked everyone when they announced onstage that they were back together for good, resulting in immense cheering in the crowd. Their encore also graced everyone with a cover of Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home,” as a sacrifice to the almighty 6God. However, it was later announced by the band that we shouldn’t hold our breath for an “official” reunion.
Riot Fest’s lineup exposed up and coming bands to the spotlight while staying true to their word and bringing some big names to the Toronto edition.