MUSIC
09/07/2014 12:16 EDT | Updated 11/07/2014 05:59 EST

Riot Fest Toronto goes psychedelic

Despite the rainy and muggy day, music fans from across the GTA waddled their way through the mud pits and sludge at Downsview Park for Riot Fest Toronto, and just as the sun was setting, Flaming Lips took to the stage, dazzling the crowd with their psychedelic musical extravaganza.

“It was a surreal experience,” says Graham Isador a music columnist with the online punk zine Scene Point Blank.

“They were so inclusive towards the crowd that you couldn’t help being charmed,” says Isador who admits that he is not a Flaming Lips fans and doesn’t know any of their songs.

Day one of Riot Fest on Saturday was headlined by The Cure and included bands like Rise Against, Alkaline Trio, and Brand New — but The Flaming Lips left the most lasting impression with a show that started with a giant mushroom costume and just got weirder from there.

But if you’re not a fan of the sky raining confetti, technicolour light shows and a grown man running around in a giant hamster ball, Riot Fest can still be for you.

Sunday's lineup seems to have something for music fans of all ages, from English punk band Buzzcocks, formed in the late '70s, to Toronto’s own Pup, who just released their first LP in April.

Riot Fest roots

The punk and rock music festival started in 2005 in Chicago with bands like Dead Kennedys and The Misfits and a Myspace page that helped to promote their lineup.

Two years ago, the festival expanded to include Denver and Toronto, carnival rides and lucha libre or "free wrestling.”

In short, the festival offers everything you need to live out your teenage punk rock music fantasies. 

The festival’s social media profile has also been updated with an active Twitter page that delivers sassy commentary on demand. 

But don’t bother sending your gripes to @RiotFest unless you’re a glutton for social media punishment.

Their Twitter page says, “I'm sorry we didn't book the exact bands you wanted, in the exact order you wanted, in the exact city you wanted, for free.”

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