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Riot Fest goes outdoors, Spring Awakening goes inside

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Chicago's Riot Fest is changing plans and moving around. The annual punk festival, usually held later in autumn in multiple local clubs, is pulling back to September and going outdoors.

Promoters announced today the Riot Fest & Carnival slated for Sept. 14 at the Congress Theater and Sept. 15-16 at Humboldt Park.

An impressive first round of acts announced today includes Iggy & the Stooges, Elvis Costello, Rise Against, the Descendents, the Jesus & Mary Chain, the Offspring, Dropkick Murphys and more.

Other acts include A Day to Remember, Coheed & Cambria, Gogol Bordello, NOFX, the Gaslight Anthem, Alkaline Trio, AWOLNATION, the Promise Ring, GWAR, August Burns Red, Frank Turner, Built to Spill, Less Than Jake, the Rev. Horton Heat, Fishbone, Nobunny, A Wilhelm Scream, Screaming Females, Teenage Bottlerocket, Off With Their Heads, Deals Gone Bad, White Mystery, Larry & His Flask, the Story So Far, Japanther, plus reunions of Chiodos and Slapstick.

More acts are expected to be announced next month.

Three-day passes are $90; two-day passes are available now for $36 (will become $50 and $60 later). Passes are available at riotfest.org. Single-day tickets are not yet available.

Riot Fest expanded last year, adding a festival in Philadelphia. Chicago's Riot Fest 2011 included X, Danzig doing the Misfits, the Descendents, All, the Smoking Popes and Weezer.

In a statement Tuesday, Riot Fest promoter Michael Petryshyn described the plan for a Humboldt Park layout: "For the layout itself, there will be three main stages and one side stage. When we drew up the site, we took into consideration how sound was going to project to avoid any bleeding. We're pretty safe on that. Also, if you want to you can check out every band on the line-up you can. There is some minimal overlap of 5-10 minutes, but there won't be the same kind of conflicts as when we did it during club days.

"Also, we're not using the entire park--only a quarter. But that one quarter is still pretty massive. To put it into perspective, you can fit three Union Parks into one the section of Humboldt we're using. With the extra space, we've created the carnival aspect, side show attractions and a few more surprises.

"Humboldt is set up so there is a lot of leisurely space. You can sit by a tree, hang out and have a beer. You can go on the Ferris Wheel. You can eat food at tons of cool food vendors. You can go shopping with the artists we have onsite. There will be tattoo vendors, everything. Another big thing for us, is that people want to sit down every now and then. The one part of festivals I don't like is that that there is nowhere sit where you're being taken over by foot traffic and music. We set up Humboldt so there is plenty of space to just hang out. If people need to escape from the sun or whatever, it's all there."

Spring Awakening moves inside Soldier Field

In other festivals-on-the-move news: The Spring Awakening Festival, an inaugural two-day dance-music rave originally scheduled for the green outside of Soldier Field, is moving inside the iconic stadium.

Due to demand, the festival's main stage -- headlined by Skrillex (June 16) and Afrojack (June 17) -- will be located inside the stadium, while the three side stages will remain on the south side of the complex in Stadium Green.

The new fest also features Diplo, A-Trak, Afrojack, Flux Pavilion, Laidback Luke, Wolfgang Gartner, Ferry Corsten, Markus Schulz, as well as a DJ set by Moby.

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Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner covers pop music for the Chicago Sun-Times. Contact him via e-mail.

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