13 Things to Remember from Riot Fest ‘15

September 23, 2015

Riot Fest 2015 in Toronto was definitely one to remember this year, why? Let’s take a look…

Aerial crowd shot of Riot Fest 2015, Toronto - photo Alyna Paddon, Music ViceThousands braved a stormy weekend in Toronto for Riot Fest at Downsview Park

Mud/Sand/Weather CRISIS

I hope whoever is reading this can sense the sarcasm in the title.  Between the pouring rain and the mud on the ground, Downsview Park basically turned into one big slip and slide. After it rained the day was pretty miserable and I basically was frozen for the rest of the day/night, however music was able to take my mind off it.

Alexisonfire at Riot Fest 2015, Toronto - photo Alyna Paddon, Music Vice832

Alexisonfire Reunites

“Thank you for sticking with us, we promise to never leave you again. No more sentimental shit; Alexisonfire is officially back” said Goerge Pettit who does vocals alongside Dallas Green in the band. The set was absolutely breathtaking playing favourites such as “Young Cardinals”,  “Old Crows”, “Happiness by the Kilowatt”, and many more. Aside from the crowd being ridiculously rowdy with the result of a girl even breaking her leg, it was a great time. The band was so united as one and you could just feel how happy they all were to be back together. Goerge Pettit had great energy and enthusiasm, which made for an even better show. I look forward to seeing more shows.

Cancer Bats

Cancer Bats basically went up there and had fun. The sun came out just in time for their set, so it made it much more enjoyable. When a band is up on stage having fun, the crowd feeds off of that and does the same. They weren’t up there just because they were simply “doing there job”, but because they loved it and that was easy to see. The pit was pretty intense the entire set, which made for a great time.

Bleachers at Riot Fest 2015, Toronto - photo Alyna Paddon, Music Vice832


This was my favourite set out of the entire festival, and it’s one I will never forget. Jack Antonoff could not have played a better show. He continuously focused on pumping up the crowd between each song, which shows that he really cares about everyone having a good time, which I find very admirable in an artist. The whole band had a great connection and stage presence, and you could just feel such a good vibe the moment they entered the stage until the moment they exited. They were so happy to be in Toronto playing the Festival, and their sound was on point. I don’t think I saw any other band with a Saxophone at the festival, which was something really different and enjoyable to see. My only negative comment about the show would be about his new song “Shadow of the City”. Don’t get me wrong it was a great song and very catchy however, background instrumentals reminded me exactly of  “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis. Otherwise, it was an amazing set and whoever didn’t see it most definitely missed out!

The Overpriced Ferris Wheel

$5.00 to go on a rushed Ferris Wheel ride and get motion sick, hmm.


Fidlar put on an amazing set. They played favourites such as “No Waves”, “Cheap Beer”, and more. However, I would have liked to hear some songs from their most recent album.


Stubhub sponsored a tent that held more intimate performances including from Fidlar, Cancer Bats, Bleachers, The OBGMS, and more. It gave those who attended the chance to get closer to performers and see a more personal set from each band.

Die Mannequin

Die Mannequin opened the set with “Do it or Die”, which brought nostalgia to me. They had a fun filled set and Care Failure stole the show with her spontaneous energy.

Tyler, The Creator at Riot Fest 2015, Toronto - photo Alyna Paddon, Music Vice

Tyler The Creator

Well Tyler’s set was disappointing. The entire time he complained that the crowd was “lame”, but maybe that was because he was lame. If you’re gonna half ass your show then don’t expect the crowd to give you 100% either. I had high expectations for “Yonkers”, but those weren’t met. He later apologized on Twitter saying, “toronto im srry for that, it was 😐. But if u had a good time then fuck yeah”.

Rock Stage’s Bass

Rock Stage had great performers such as Wu Tang Clan, Drive Like Jehu, Tyler The Creator, etc however, the bass was always ridiculous. Vocals and other instrumentals were often unclear due to this.

GWAR disappoints

Well, GWAR was stupid.  They set up the stage to play while eager fans awaited for their set to begin only to be disappointed – they were the only band that canceled due to weather. I do understand that show’s do get cancelled at times however, they hyped the crowd. They brought out numerous people dressed in ridiculous costumes and sprayed paint all over the crowd only to hype them up for no reason. If they weren’t going to play, there was absolutely no point to do that. Even when they were covering the equipment up they were still hyping up the crowd, which I think is immature of them. Well, all I can say is that I hope they’re satisfied with themselves.

Weezer (Blue Album)

The first night Weezer performed, I along with many others were extremely underwhelmed. I wasn’t planning on watching their set on the second night, but I’m glad I did. The crowd was much more responsive and the band had much more energy than the night prior.

The Lineups

If I had to describe every line I waited in for food, merchandise, etc, I’d have to say dreadful. I can’t say that I enjoyed standing in the beaming sun/heavy rain behind sweaty people with b.o or someone standing right up on my ass eager to get their merch, but I mean I guess its over now.

Hellzapoppin Circus at Riot Fest 2015, Toronto - photo Alyna Paddon, Music Vice


I must say, watching a man shove a condom up his nose with a screwdriver and seeing it come out of his mouth was definitely a highlight of my weekend. This was such a great aspect to the festival, and it was a good place to go to hide from the rain on the Saturday afternoon. I went in with no great expectations and walked out with those thoughts exceeded. It was definitely creepy and it boggled with my head, but I really enjoyed it and it really added to the carnival theme.

© Gemma Mastroianni, Music Vice

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