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Look, everybody knows that Riot Fest is all about the music – the bands, the chance to see your favorite artist live on stage, meeting a bunch of other fans who really love the same songs as you. But the creators of Riot Fest went above and beyond what a regular music festival offers to give you even more than that! At Riot Fest, when you’re taking a break from the tunes, you can and should visit the carnival side of the festival where you’ll find rides. Here’s a little more about the Riot Fest Carnival and Circus Sideshow.

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Riot Fest Ferris Carnival Rides Sideshow

What’s the Riot Fest Carnival Like?

Riot Fest has been around since 2005, but back in 2012, it moved outdoors for the first time. That’s when the carnival aspect came to life with its rides, games, luchador wrestling, and food vendors. And it’s just evolved from there! Although the venue has changed from the original Humboldt Park to Douglas Park, the vibe has remained the same. Hey, who doesn’t like Ferris wheels and corndogs?

Each year, the carnival is a bit different, growing bigger or smaller as festival producers add and subtract different rides and attractions to better serve fans. There’s no site map up for 2019 yet, but in the past, festivalgoers have seen rides like the Zipper, the Gravitron, that swinging Pirate Ship, and this spin-y, up-and-down one! Hey, it’s a carnival after all, so expect the sort of stuff you’d see at the state fair. 

And you might think it’s lame, but the Ferris wheel – a Riot Fest staple – is actually a great way to get a view of the entire festival. (It’s also a good landmark for meeting up with your friends, FYI.)

Rides have been $5 each at previous festivals, so be sure to bring cash if you’re interested in taking part. And if you’re really into rides (or you’re bringing kids along), in the past they’ve also had the option of purchasing an unlimited rides pass, so keep an eye out for that! Most people are so absorbed by the bands that they don’t find a lot of downtime for the rides, so that keeps the lines short for the carnival lovers!

What else is there to do? Riot Fest has brought in a mini-golf course, a classic arcade, and something known as the “Wall of Death” to entertain festivalgoers. Who knows what they’ll put together for their 15th anniversary this year?! Be sure to save a bit of time to check out all these extras!


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