The (hilarious) voice of a festival

A year after their first foray into transitioning to an entirely outdoors music festival, Riot Fest organizers put all of their cards on the table to make 2013 the biggest year yet. They stocked the lineup with everyone from legends (The Replacements) to crowd-pleasers (Fall Out Boy), added Denver to the list of out-of-town expansions, kept ticket prices lower than any other fest and promised a full-on experience with the return of carnival games and sideshow performers.

And then there was the guy who ran the Twitter account.

Unnamed but often referred to as "Riot Fest Twitter Guy," the man behind the tweets from @riotfest entertained followers for months leading up to the fest with blunt and sometimes insulting responses to inquiries about the safety of the area, a campaign to get the fictional Jesse and the Rippers band from "Full House" reunited for Riot Fest (unsuccessful, but it did result in an on-site butter sculpture of John Stamos), mostly unrelated social commentary and more. He may never reveal himself to the general public, but Riot Fest Twitter Guy will continue to be heavily involved in the fest for the foreseeable future. Here's what he had to say about this year and next.

So, a lot of people do know who you are ... right?
My friends know who I am. They don't really care, though.

Ever thought about how you would do your big reveal, if you did one?
Probably a Super Bowl commercial or something as equally punk rock and DIY.

How long have you been involved with Riot Fest? And why did you start running the Twitter account?
About a year now, when Riot Mike [Petryshyn, Riot Fest founder and organizer] asked for some advice.

What kind of direction where you given when you started managing it?
Not much. Big mistake on his part.

Has Riot Mike ever asked you to pull back on the insults?
From time to time. He once threw a computer mouse at my head.

You seemed to deal with a lot of idiots tweeting at you. What was the most frustrating thing you heard over and over on Twitter, specifically about the Chicago fest?
For the most [part], our followers are awesome. The idiots are just the loudest. Some people just like to get mad for no reason.

It looks like your second-most retweeted tweet of the year was related to gay marriage and DOMA ("Homophobia and discrimination is not punk rock. [Bleep] DOMA.")--surprised?
Not at all. Like I said, our followers are awesome.

Has this gig helped you get other ones?
It's made me a much more horrible person. I can't even tell if I'm being sarcastic anymore.

Will Riot Fest Twitter Guy be more involved in the actual fest next year?
I was behind the scenes a lot last year, and that's where I will stay.

You get one stage to program for one day at Riot Fest, to do with whatever you want -- what would a Riot Fest Twitter Guy stage look like, in your mind?
Lots of whiskey tastings and butter celebrities. And a hologram GG Allin flinging insults and poo at people. Also CCR, The Ramones, The Replacements and Radkey would play.

Wish us a Happy New Year ... please?
Quit trying to make this interview about you.

Jessica Galliart is RedEye's Social Media Lady.


*Bonus: What if Riot Fest Twitter Guy ran the @CTA Twitter account? Click here for what that might look like.


Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Bold predictions for Lolla 2015

    Bold predictions for Lolla 2015

    The Lolla schedule is sort of like the NCAA tournament: there are millions of possible combinations, and it’s anyone’s guess what the winning picks will be. With that in mind, we make some bold predictions about how this year’s fest (returning to Grant Park Fri.-Sun.) will turn out. Breakout artist...

  • 2010 killing of Chicago cop detailed at trial; man claims self-defense

    2010 killing of Chicago cop detailed at trial; man claims self-defense

    The man on trial in the killing of Chicago police Officer Thor Soderberg hated police and surprised the officer as he changed out of his uniform at shift end and placed his duty belt down, a Cook County prosecutor alleged Monday.

  • Aldermen to hold hearing on untested rape kits

    Aldermen to hold hearing on untested rape kits

    Chicago aldermen on Monday called on police officials to provide information on how quickly rape kits are being tested by the state crime lab, part of a largely symbolic effort to determine whether a large backlog is hampering work to apprehend rapists.

  • Alderman's 'Chi-raq' criticism falls flat

    Alderman's 'Chi-raq' criticism falls flat

    A South Side alderman's effort to tweak filmmaker Spike Lee for using "Chi-raq" as the title for a movie about Chicago violence fell flat Monday with his colleagues.

  • ComEd to hold energy fairs to help low-income customers

    ComEd to hold energy fairs to help low-income customers

    Commonwealth Edison will hold energy fairs at satellite locations across the region Monday in order to get money to thousands of people struggling to pay their electricity bills in northern Illinois.

  • PAWS Chicago "Muttshots!"

    PAWS Chicago "Muttshots!"

    These adorable pups are on the loose looking for a place to call home. They have a warrant out for their arrest. Their crime? Being irresistibly cute and cuddly. If you're interested in adopting any of these dogs, please visit for more information.