While I’m trying to sort through my cluttered, unsophisticated 15-year-old’s diary full of thoughts on all the bands I saw this past weekend, let’s talk instead about the VENDORS.
Music festivals are RUDE. You’ve already spent Heaven’s rent on a ticket (and if it’s more than a one-day festival, plan on eating lots of pb&j for the next month since you just sacrificed your grocery money) and now there’s all these food vendors and merch tents lining up to take your car payment too.
I mean, unless you do a better job at planning for these things than I do. Which, thankfully, Henry does. He had been saving for months! What a novel idea that I didn’t even consider.
The downside to this is that he had been hoarding actual cash money so that we wouldn’t have to use our debit cards at all that weekend. I say “downside” because that money was in HIS wallet so I had to constantly ask him if I could buy things and I felt like Chooch, begging for every shiny thing.
What a strong, independent woman I am!
I’m so used to going to Warped Tour, where we’re at the mercy of the venue-provided food options. And it’s overpriced bullshit food too, like chicken tenders and nachos that cost $10. A vegetarian’s nightmare. But Riot Fest is a foodtruck Valhalla, and almost every food vendor has vegetarian fare for all of us plant gourmands. I was really sad last year because I felt like I didn’t have time to take advantage of this bevy of meatless options lining the perimeter of Humboldt Park. This year, I vowed to eat a shit ton of foods!
Aaaaand….I failed to eat a shit ton of foods. I’m sorry, but food < music. All three days, we grabbed something quickly for lunch before hitting the stages, and if there was enough downtime in between bands at some point, I would declare that a second feeding was allowed.
Henry didn’t like this rigid feeding schedule that I put us on, but shit gets real out there in the field, OK? Those food lines get so long after a certain point in the day and that’s time that I just don’t have to waste.
As soon as I saw the Dark Matter tent, I was ON IT. I have been smitten with this coffee ever since last year’s Riot Fest, and I occasionally order bags of their coffee online—they’re the reason I drop-kicked my Keurig to the curb and bought a French press. God love them.
Henry handed me some cash and took off for a porta-potty, leaving me to approach the Dark Matter tent with way too much enthusiasm. There is something about Henry’s presence that keeps my exuberance dialed back (I think this is also known as STIFLING), so anytime he leaves me alone, I can get kind of over-the-top.
Like a dog off its leash.
“I LOVE YOUR COFFEE,” I yelled at the guy in lieu of saying of hello. I don’t even know if he is the Dark Matter guy. I don’t think he was expecting to be yelled at in such a positive matter that soon after the gates opened. “I’M FROM PITTSBURGH AND SOMETIMES I FIND MYSELF SITTING AT WORK, DREAMING OF DARK MATTER.”
“Oh wow, that’s really cool!” he said after I finally shut the fuck up. “Here, take some stickers and a pin,” he insisted, pointing to the free shit along the counter. And then, after filling up a cup for me, he said, “Wait right here,” before walking to the back of the tent.
Henry had returned by then and asked me why I was still standing there.
“I don’t know, he told me to wait here,” I shrugged, dreamily sipping my cup of wet happy. And then the Dark Matter guy came back and handed me a free t-shirt!
God, I love Dark Matter.
And I love Riot Fest.
AND I LOVE YOU.
(I didn’t bother giving my nails a fresh painting for Riot Fest. They barely hold up during a regular show, let alone a three day fest.)
Quickly scarfed down a vegan taco from Tica’s Tacos. It was OK. It had a plantain on it and plantains are good. But all I cared about was chewing that shit up quick-like and running to the next stage. Henry ate ribs or something. I’m not sure.
I made a mess of my taco.
I was really excited about Puffs of Doom after Googling them when the Riot Fest food vendors were announced.I was going to get some banana Nutella concoction but at the last minute decided that my mouth was feeling particularly contrary to bananas that evening (I have flip-flopping taste buds) so I yelled “NO GET THE PEACH ONE” to Henry who has to do all of my food ordering because I get anxiety. (I hate decisions!)
I’m OK in actual restaurants though. I just get nervous when there is a line of hungry people behind me waiting to order their food and here I am, being in the way as usual, god forbid.
And there’s another tangent no one cares about.
The peach thing was just OK. I split it with Henry and usually I want to eat all of things for myself. He ended up getting some delicious white chocolate dessert egg roll thing and split that with me and it was much more delightful than my peach puff.
Henry had fries for dinner because it was the shortest line and Faith No More was about to start; I had nothing because in case you missed it, Faith No More was about to start! Food was the last thing on my feeble mind at that point.
I had a late vending machine feast at the “hotel” – generic chex mix and half of a Snickers. Concert lyfe, y’all.
Older than Henry!
We got some Connie’s deep dish as soon as we arrived at Douglas Park. I know, I know, it’s no Giordano’s or whatever, but it got the job done.
Dinner was another hectic scramble because we had a very small window of time and everything was crowded except for that idiotic Puffs of Doom place and some Billy Goat burger stand next door. So I had a savory artichoke puff which I ate so fast because I was in such a hurry to get to Billy Idol’s stage that I don’t even remember what it tasted like. Spinach artichoke dip inside of a puff pastry, I’m going to wager.
Again, we got there before any of the bands started, so we hit up the Fat Shallot, where Henry got some type of weener and I got a grilled cheese. It wasn’t too fancy, but it got the job done. I don’t know why I was so excited about the food vendors being announced, because I knew that this was going to be a weekend of eating out of necessity and nothing more. To be honest, I probably could have gotten by on protein bars. Goddamn Henry, throwing wrenches in my festival schedule with his annoying habit always having to eat.
We spent a good portion of Sunday afternoon at the two smaller stages because the lineup over there was tight as fuck. Dinky Donuts was in the vicinity, so Henry bought a bag of chili cinnamon ones and they were so moist. MOIST MOIST MOIST.
Warm and moist.
I loved them.
We split curry fries later that night while waiting for Snoop Dogg.
I know, we really lived it up.
As far as merch goes, there was so much I wanted! One of my favorite Etsy sellers, Martha Rotten, had a booth there. (Not to burst your bubble, but her name is FRANCENE not Martha.) I was excited to meet her in real life, and we had the most awkward exchange of all time, because ETSY PEOPLE ARE AWKWARD. I should know. I’m one of them.
Anyway, I own one lone Martha Rotten piece:
I was really trying hard to add to my strange jewelry collection (she has a pewter Last Supper cuff that I had my eyes on) and I think that Henry was actually going to cave and give me money (Weak, Dependent Woman Almost Gets Permission From Big Man, story on page 6) but you know what happened next? I suddenly turned selfless and decided that I would just buy something from her shop at a later date, and instead just bought my KID things because I missed him so much and like my mom before me, I know all about buying a child’s love.
We bought him this cat shirt from Harebrained Designs (they’re partners with Period Panties, lol):
And one of my favorite t-shirt companies of all time, Choonimals, was there again! I’ve been following these guys for years, ever since they first started popping up at Warped Tour. This past summer, they actually partnered with Warped Tour and not only sponsored the two main stages, but also designed the 3D commemorative ticket for 2015. I love their animal designs so much and as usual, it was tough to choose one, and I started to get real gushy at this booth too, like the t-shirt version of Dark Matter coffee. “I GO TO WARPED TOUR EVERY YEAR AND JUST LOVE CHOONIMALS AHHHHHHH” as I shoved my bulging eyeballs back into their sockets. Henry was like, “OK PICK A SHIRT SO WE CAN LEAVE BEFORE THIS MAN CALLS THE COPS.” We ultimately settled on this one for Chooch, which he’s excited to wear for picture day:
It was cute — he was like Choonimals!! as soon as I pulled it out of my Epitaph bag.
Last year, this artist–-ChuckU—was there and I was drooling over his prints but Henry was like POOR PEOPLE DON’T BUY ART, MOVE ALONG. This year, I finally talked him into buying one of the cat designs for Chooch, who already has the best cat art collection in his room.
Some of my other favorite vendors were there again too, like Then Now Always (I bought one of their necklaces at Riot Fest last year and every time I wear it, I feel happy) and KoalaCore (the best t-shirts!) but Henry kept reminding me of his blue collar status and also the fact that we’re going to Philly this weekend and we don’t want to sleep in the car, do we? I hate having his gruff voice of reason in my ear CONSTANTLY.
(Don’t even make me calculate all the money he spent on beer, though! But, I guess he had to numb the pain somehow.)
Stheart was there again too and I was straight casing their tent; I think I was alarming them. I just really wanted Henry to buy himself one of their slouch beanies because I like him in beanies but I like him best in SLOUCH beanies because then he looks slightly more my type. He was so close to picking one out but then was like “NOT RIGHT NOW” so I guess I’ll just get him seven of them for Christmas, along with a closetful of fitted flannels, gray jeans, TOMS, a neck tattoo, and The Artist In the Ambulance on vinyl.
Today at work, I low-key cried at my desk because my body is nothing more than a giant flesh-chalice of emo blood and I can’t even go to a club show without collapsing into a melodramatic lump of post-show depression, so how do you think I’m handling the first week after three entire days worth of music? NOT VERY GRACEFULLY. I will try not to be too ridiculous with my music recap posts. NO PROMISES.
Henry’s response to my “I JUST CRIED AT MY DESK, WAH RIOT FEST” text was “oh erin.” He must have been too tired to type out “honestly.”
I’m very fragile right now. Handle with care.