"It is really surreal!" Blood People takes the stage Friday, Sept. 14, at Riot Fest, the three-day music festival in Chicago's Douglas Park. Courtesy of Kyle Bondeson

Blood People, Beach Bunny ready to rep Chicago on Riot Fest stage

“We want to melt as much face as we can in the amount of time that we get!”

With that, Aly Jados, lead singer of hard rock band Blood People, pretty much summed up the spirit of this weekend’s Riot Fest.

Jados — along with Jeff Loehrke (both from Lake Zurich), Roselle’s Mickey Molinari and Norm Burns of Peoria ­– practically kick off the three-day music festival at Chicago’s Douglas Park with a 1:30 p.m. Friday set on the Rebel Stage.

“This is our favorite festival,” Jados said, “our favorite weekend of the year. We go every time.”

“One of my friends gave me a backstage pass last year, so I was backstage when Queens of the Stone Age was playing,” Jados said. “And I was like ‘How am I going to top Riot Fest next year if I’m backstage 20 feet away from Josh Homme?'”

Getting to play on stage, “It’s a dream for both of us,” Loehrke said.

Blood People will take the stage Friday, Sept. 14, at Riot Fest, a three-day music festival at Chicago’s Douglas Park. – Courtesy of Neal Zeleznak

Blood People, which just released the new single “Great Reactor” and is working on a full EP of punk-stippled rock due out around Halloween, is just one of many area acts gracing this year’s roster.

“Chicago is a great music city,” Loehrke said.

“And it’s cool that Riot Fest reps its city like this,” Jados added. “It’s awesome that they are giving support and believing in the artists that come out of Chicago.”

Amid the eclectic and varied touring acts — Weezer, Elvis Costello, Incubus, Blondie, Flogging Molly, Cypress Hill and Bad Religion, to name a few — fest-goers will find the local music scene well-represented by McHenry-born punk band Alkaline Trio, Twin Peaks, K.Flay, Liz Phair, Spitalfield, Beach Bunny and more.

Beach Bunny, the project of Chicago’s Lili Trifilio and her permanent supporting band — Matt Henkels of South Elgin, Jonathan Alvarado of Elgin and Aidan Cada of Batavia — is making its first appearance at Riot Fest.

“I’m so hyped,” said Trifilio, vocalist and primary songwriter for the band. “We just finished a tour, so … Riot Fest gave me something to look forward to.”

Beach Bunny is one of the few Chicago-area acts to earn a slot on Lollapalooza this year.
Fresh pop band Beach Bunny makes its first Riot Fest appearance with a Saturday afternoon set on the Roots Stage. – Courtesy of John Tuanqui

Beach Bunny, fresh off last month’s release of its “Prom Queen” EP, brings an airy and youthful pop vibe to the lineup that’s perfect for a Saturday afternoon slot.

While Trifilio had been performing under the name since 2015, it wasn’t until last summer’s Side Street Studio Arts Battle of the Bands that her full band came together to complete the signature Beach Bunny sound. “I wanted to compete, but I couldn’t just do it by myself. I need a backing band for this.”

Beach Bunny is shooting to release an album next year, but fans will be happy to hear that favorites and songs from the recent EP will feature prominently in their Riot Fest set.

Riot Fest brings together nearly 90 musical acts across five stages, also featuring the Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue, carnival rides, merch vendors, and a wide variety of food and beverage choices, including vegan and vegetarian options.

“Riot Fest does a great job setting the stages, with all the other activities and the bands they book,” Jados said. “They really do it well. I have an amazing time every time I go!”

• Note: See Blood People at 1:30 p.m. Friday on the Rebel Stage. Beach Bunny plays at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on the Roots Stage.

• • •

Riot Fest

When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Sept. 14-16

Where: Douglas Park, 1401 S. Sacramento Drive, Chicago

Tickets: Single-day general admission passes are $49.98 (plus fees); three-day general admission passes are $129.98 (plus fees); VIP and multiday packages are also available at riotfest.org

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