(n) Riot Fest: A three day endurance test of basically all five senses. A slew of punk, metal, hard rock and ska bands pummel your eardrums throughout the festival. You drink till your liver is the size of texas. Bump into the right person or have a taut sphincter, and you can get some drugs to fuck with your sensory perceptors. People fucking stink. The sun beats you down. The whole thing is a *rimshot* riot.
The Short History in Colorado
What started as a DIY festival spread across several Chicago venues in 2005 has spread to several somewhat regular festival locations, including Colorado in 2013. The first year was essentially on a farm in Byers, about an hour outside of Denver. The festival intended to do repeat this trend into 2014, but unfortunately the city of Byers decided they’d rather endure shame and failure than hold an amazing concert experience and complained to the county, who allegedly denied the necessary permits for the festival to take place.
Found this pic from Riotfest. Didn’t obey the sign. Got a ticket. pic.twitter.com/sNzQBp5Cm3
— sam (@BeernLoathing) September 24, 2014
There’s a lot of back and forth on this topic, but I choose to not give a fuck and just know that I bought tickets to be sweaty, stanky and get my camping game on for my first experience. Instead, I had to shuttle myself, along with the some 17,000 anticipated festival go-ers to the Mile High Stadium parking lot. This event was going to bring the entire crew into the fold. Both Matt Dogg and Pete bought tickets, and we quickly formulated several plans for making someone’s apartment a base of operations. Basically we were hedging our bets on which side of town we had the best chance of passing out.
The Plan: Well Planned, Poorly Executed
That heading is in reference to our planning, not the festival’s. Given the sudden change of venue only several weeks prior, I’d say they did a pretty spectacular fucking job moving an entire festival to a completely different spot, and to top it off, making the new locale feel (albeit shittily) like a farm.
Our plans were to utilize as much public transportation as we could to get ourselves the three-and-some-change miles from my apartment to Mile High. The Denver B-Cycle ended up being our mode of choice since they are all over town and had a rack only a quarter mile from Mile High. The first poor execution moment came Thursday night before the festival even started. We got annihilated drunk. Or at least I did. I couldn’t even tell you where we went, I just know I woke up on Matt’s couch in severe distress.
Fast forward to about two in the afternoon, and we’re getting ourselves ready for the five o’clock opening bands. We were rolling really shitty joints, buying tiny bottles of vodka to dickpack (a charming term Pete coined for tucking stuff between the shaft of your penis and scrotum) and taking a few leftover pain pills from my knee surgery. You know, standard concert prep. We had to last for at least five to seven hours. I’m not even going to try to describe our strategy to see the bands we wanted to see because I’m pretty sure we developed the plan the night before while we were hammered. AKA, it was fuct.
The vodka smuggling was a fluke victory on Friday night. We tried again Saturday with slightly bigger bottles, but due to some security changes, Matt and I bailed on the idea and stuffed our bottles into a random bush. So instead of getting nice and vodka drunk, I spent $47 on like six beers to keep a moderate buzz throughout the day.
Saturday was fucking brutal too. We got there around two and the last shows ended at midnight. Walking around on asphalt for 10 hours is fucking murder on your feet and if you don’t think so you’re either not human or a giant goddamn liar. The main headliner that night was The Cure. Pete and I didn’t really have any allegiance to see them play, but Matt was having a religious experience during their show.
Pete and I stuck around for as long as we could (literally) stand before getting the fuck outta dodge and started combing the bushes out front in search for two narrow pints of vodka. Apparently Pete noticed a young kid with a skateboard start watching me as I plunged arms deep into several bushes, trying to find my boozy treasure and reportedly had his eyes “bulge out of his fucking head” when he finally saw me pull out two bottles of vodka on my last attempt. He rightfully asked if there were just random bottles of vodka placed around town to which I replied, “Yep.” So if you see a kid rummaging through your shrubbery in Denver, you’re welcome.
Sunday. Dear god, Sunday was the worst. I peeled my face off the bed, crawled into the bathroom and either peed or slept for another 35 minutes. I’m not really sure which. Either way, I end up back in bed, and I hear a grumble and a rustle on the futon nearby. Pete was alive. A positive sign so far. We get up, not saying much and just respecting each other’s hangover, and do the only thing we know to do at this point: drink some beers, pop a pill and pull our lives together for one more day of grueling punishment.
— sam (@BeernLoathing) September 21, 2014
I don’t even remember if we bought vodka Sunday. We definitely had some joints, but the bigger problem on our hands was Matt was MIA. Like, totally off the grid. No text responses, no answering of the phone, no Google Chat responses. The last place we saw him was the Beauty Bar the night before, so just about any combination of possibilities were floating around in our minds.
We went into the festival with intermittent texts to our missing friend hoping for the best. We were noticeably worn down from the previous two days of punishment. The crowd, however, didn’t seem to be lacking any energy. Finally, around four in the afternoon, we heard back from Matt. We laughed in relief that he simply crashed so hard at home he didn’t hear a single goddamn text or call from us and simply slept for about 15 hours straight. In hindsight, he had the best plan of us all.
Sadly, we ended up bailing on the last handful of bands because of rain. We tried to tough it out, but none of us cared enough to stand around slowly getting saturated. We decided our best option was to split, get some beer and piss off my neighbor by stopping at Williams Tavern for several cans of beer and then watching “Zombieland” late into the morning.