Punks of every variety annually take over Chicago’s Douglas Park for a weekend of oddities and alternative music. Riot Fest is a festival unlike many of it’s counterparts, giving fans a weekend of non-stop unexpected thrills. Whether you’re taking in the Hellzapoppin’ Circus Sideshow or watching punk legends take the main stage, you’re guaranteed to be entertained from the moment you walk through the gates.

The lineup is notorious for bringing the founders of punk and rock music to the stages, as well as heavy hitters in rap and pop-punk and this year is no exception. Massive names like Blink 182, Slayer, and Bikini Kill are set to headline across those three coveted nights. It’s a no-brainer that you’ll be sure to catch Violent Femmes or Rancid, but there are so many acts spread across the weekend there are sure to be hidden gems that you’ll not want to miss. Lucky for you Indie Band Guru has created a list of must-see performances for your trip to Riot Fest.

I DON’T KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME

With a name inspired by Back To The Future, how can you not be intrigued by what IDKHOW is offering their fans? A little bit of synth-y nostalgia in a disturbingly catchy package, this act has gained the attention of radios and festivals in the last year and deservedly so. Bright, fun, and outlandishly energetic, IDKHOW is dishing up something fresh and authentic and you’d be remiss for not giving their set a chance on Friday.

Elder Brother

What do you get when you take a member of The Story So Far and a member of Dayseeker and throw their passions together? Elder Brother. The coming together of Elder Brother felt natural for these guys, immediately agreeing on the vision for the music. Much more gentle and warm than either of their main project’s, Elder Brother embraces a much softer side of music. This year has been a fruitful one for Elder Brother, with an acoustic tour run with Four Year Strong and the upcoming Riot Fest and Self Help Fest sets.

Can’t Swim

Keen to maintain the integrity and honesty in music, Can’t Swim is sure to evoke emotion from listeners. Their latest release This Too Won’t Pass is riddled with unadulterated passion and emotion, connecting the band to their fans almost immediately. Following their Riot Fest performance Can’t Swim will be hitting the road with A Day To Remember, I Prevail, and Beartooth to bring riveting and raw performances to fans all across North America.

Cherry Glazerr

Using satire as their strength, Cherry Glazerr has been able to use music and comedy to approach pressing topics in this modern world. Strongly feminist in nature and much more wise than their years, Cherry Glazerr tread the perfect line of being unforgivably punk and damningly sweet. Their latest album takes a swing at constructs like gender roles and owning the lack of control you have over the world, giving fans catchy music with a meaning worth listening to.