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Don’t Miss These Acts at Riot Fest Denver 2015

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

The team was stoked when Riot Fest asked us to help them get the word out about their music festival in Denver, this year! Most of us are major music fans and we’re always introducing bands and artists to each other during status meetings.

Whether it’s for the lyrics, the nostalgia, or for the sake of discovering new music, a lineup like this is a dream come true for us!

Riot Fest is celebrating its third year with three days of bands and entertainment, starting this Friday, August 28. This time, they’re posting up at the National Western Complex, home of the National Western Stock Show. With four stages, carnival rides, and a ton of local food trucks, the event will be a huge draw for the city.

Because we’re working with the festival, we have a pair of three-day passes to give away. So read our picks, then add a comment with your own best bets for a chance to win!

Eric’s picks:

This will be the third year in a row that I take my daughter to Riot Fest, and we’re both counting down the days. By the time Violent Femmes played at Riot Fest Denver 2014, she had seen 55 bands, with a big increase in that tally coming from our itinerant explorations at the festival over the years.

This year, I’m most-excited to see Tenacious D. Although I’m a bit concerned about my 15-year-old being corrupted by the awesome Jack Black and Kyle Gass, I love watching these two play live, and will sing along to “Wonderboy.”. I’m also thrilled that Flogging Molly will be there — I’ve been a fan for more than a decade, and Simone got to see them play (backstage) when she was five years old (her second concert, ever, after The Go-Go’s). The Pixies and The Dead Milkmen (Bitchin' Camaro!) will be brag-worthy additions to Simone’s list (and hearken back to my own wonder years), and I’ve never seen Rancid live, but they rock my punk heart.

Erin’s picks:

Since discovering Flogging Molly in high school, I’ve loved the energy of their faster songs and the soulful melodies of their slower material. This will be the first time I get to see them live. And then there is System of a Down! My favorite SOAD material is equal parts fun and drama. I listened to their music almost exclusively for parts of high school, but never got to see them in concert—until now! Other than those two, I am excited to see Coheed and Cambria. I’m not terribly familiar with most of their music, but I’ll have to try not to hurt myself jamming along if they play “Welcome Home.”

This will be my first Riot Fest, and my husband’s, as well. We’re both looking forward to it! Malcolm can’t wait to see Explosions in the Sky.

Rachel’s pick:

This is the first year that Riot Fest has been on my radar, thanks to the rest of the team. Raised on a steady diet of modern country music, I haven’t discovered many of the bands that are performing. I have heard Kongos on the radio and have enjoyed the few songs of theirs that I know. Otherwise, my excitement around Riot Fest comes from using the rest of my team’s recommendations to explore genres of music and talented artists that I had not previously considered. Thanks for the tips, team!

Sara’s picks:

I have been obsessed with Less Than Jake since I was about 14. I thought I was the only person still listening to ska in this city until I started going to their shows. I would tweet (jokingly) that, if only I wanted a boyfriend, I’d be able to find one at their concerts. I think the ratio of men to women at a Less Than Jake show is about 10:1. The band began playing along with me on Twitter, agreeing that their shows are “total sausage fests.” I’ve met them a couple of times, including once when I had broken my foot and still went to one of their gigs in college. They signed my crutches after the show and I think I still have them somewhere in storage!

Less Than Jake are an absolute blast and I can’t wait to see them again for the 10th or 11th time. I may not still have my Converse with their lyrics written on them (and Thrice’s and The Get Up Kids’ and Coheed and Cambria’s!), but my teenaged emo-and-ska-loving heart is ready to rock! And, quite frankly, I am interested to see which bands will be paired up with a bucking bronco display.

Leah’s picks:

Where to even start! How about with the man himself: Iggy Pop. He likely needs no explanation. If you need convincing, the man has released 20 studio albums in almost twice as many years, so there are more than a few options to listen to in advance of his taking the Riot Fest Denver stage.

And then we have Modest Mouse, Pixies, Run DMC, The Dead Milkmen (!!!!), and The Vandals! High-school-and college-me is all about the Saturday Riot Fest Denver lineup! I can remember driving around in my friend Sarah's car screaming "I have a daaaaaaaaate!" at the top of our lungs. We were wearing studded belts at the time, obviously. I still listen to many of these bands today, including some through the lens of nostalgia. (Modest Mouse has a new record out and if you’re into The Pixies, listen to some of Frank Black’s many many many many albums and side projects.)

Also, "Punk Rock Girl" is one of my favorite songs of all time. I know people love "Bitchin' Camaro," but quotes from "Punk Rock Girl" seem to be lobbed around more often. Specifically, I'm fond of saying, "If you don't know Mojo Nixon then your store could use some fixin'," and then listening to some Mojo Nixon, like you do. Just me? Oh. Ok.

Finally, I have Snoop Dogg listed as a must-see (because he's performing all of Doggystyle), Babes in Toyland (because college me is so so excited to hear Bruise Violet and Sweet*69 and try to determine if I was ever even remotely punk rock by association.)


There you have it! Our office is pumped for the variety of acts spread across three awesome days and nights. Need to catch up on who's on the Riot Fest schedule? Eric & Sara have compiled a Spotify playlist for you.

Who are you most excited to see? Leave a comment below on this page (or on this Facebook post), and we will pick the winner of a pair of three-day passes no later than Friday morning!


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