Riot Fest headliners Bikini Kill in the early 90s: Kathi Wilcox, Kathleen Hanna, and Tobi Vail Credit: Tammy Rae Carland

This morning Riot Fest announced the lineup for its 15th year (its eighth outdoors), and the most eye-catching headliner is Bikini Kill. When the iconic riot grrrls announced in January that they were playing a handful of reunion shows, a Chicago date was conspicuously missing—and as other big local festivals announced Bikini Kill-free lineups, it became clear that the band were coming to Riot Fest or not at all. Alas, Bikini Kill are the only top-tier Riot Fest act that includes women. The four others include three returning groups: Rise Against, Blink-182 (making up for last year’s cancellation), and Slayer (who’ve been on a farewell tour since May 2018 and will finally say good-bye to Chicagoland here). The fourth big headliner, the Raconteurs, should satiate Jack White fans.

You could wish for a more consistently spectacular list of headliners, but the rest of the festival’s 89 bookings make up for that. Jawbreaker, who filled the trophy headliner slot at Riot Fest two years ago, show up as high on the bill as the Flaming Lips performing all of 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots. Nine other acts will play “classic” albums in their entirety, including 2000s UK indie-rock greats Bloc Party (playing Silent Alarm), recently reunited Virginia hardcore group Avail (1998’s Over the James), and Against Me! (both Reinventing Axl Rose and Transgender Dysphoria Blues).

A few of those nine bands playing records in full are also Riot Fest veterans—Taking Back Sunday appear to be obligated to play at least every other year. And while Riot Fest has a reputation for booking many of the same bands year after year (not that it’s disappointing to see Hot Snakes again, of course!), it does also bring aboard new acts too. “New” is relative, of course, though I’m delighted to see Baltimore hardcore band Turnstile debuting at Riot Fest the same year as new wave weirdos the B-52s. The most surprising booking of the festival is probably nostalgia-powered disco group the Village People. Local acts are thin on the ground, unfortunately, and aside from Rise Against and emo daddies American Football, they’re mostly on the lower half of the bill—though it’s great to see postpunks Ganser holding it down for the city.

Riot Fest returns to Douglas Park from Friday, September 13, through Sunday, September 15. Here’s a list of all the acts, with links to previous Reader coverage where relevant. Tickets are on sale now.

Bikini Kill
Rise Against
The Flaming Lips performing Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Ween performing The Mollusk
Bloc Party performing Silent Alarm
Die Antwoord
Patti Smith and her band
Taking Back Sunday performing Tell All Your Friends and Louder Now
Violent Femmes
Manchester Orchestra
The B-52s
Dashboard Confessional performing The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
The Story So Far
Avail performing Over the James
The Struts
Against Me! performing Reinventing Axl Rose and Transgender Dysphoria Blues
The Starting Line
Cock Sparrer
Streetlight Manifesto
Neck Deep
Bob Mould
Hot Snakes
American Football
Guided by Voices
Andrew W.K.
Senses Fail performing Let It Enfold You and From the Depths of Dreams
The Get Up Kids
The Village People
Less Than Jake
Hot Water Music
Glassjaw performing Worship & Tribute
The Selecter performing Too Much Pressure
Nick Lowe with Los Straitjackets
The Damned Things
Surfer Blood
The Ergs!
Save Ferris
Frank Iero & the Future Violents
White Reaper
I Don’t Know How but They Found Me
Hot Mulligan
The Hu
Teenage Bottlerocket
Cherry Glazerr
Dave Hause & the Mermaid
The Wild Life
The Garden
Dead Swords
Can’t Swim
Caroline Rose
The Beaches
Mat Kerekes
Angel Dust
Pkew Pkew Pkew
Sincere Engineer
Skating Polly
No Parents
Ultra Q
Lando Chill
Elder Brother
Thin Lips
Chaos Chaos
Kali Masi
Yours Truly