Music | An Interview with Riot Fest Founder Michael "Riot Mike" Petryshyn

With this years Riot Fest just around the corner we had a chance to chat with the man responsible for the festival, founder Michael "Riot Mike" Petryshyn. He answered some questions for us about the festival ranging from the culture of the festival to naming his all time Riot Fest performing band. Riot Fest takes place this upcoming weekend here in Denver at The National Western Complex. Tickets are still available here. Since we love to giveaway tickets on the daily, we have an opportunity to win a pair of three day passes for you on our Facebook page. Simply visit our FB and do the following: 

1. Follow us: 2. "Like" the post 3. Name your Riot Fest Denver dream band from this years performers (Vocalist, Guitarist, Bass , Drummer for ex. ours would be Iggy Pop, Frank Black, Bootsy Collins, Demetra Plakas) A random winner will be picked from all the entries that follow the three steps.

Ultra5280: Where did the initial inspiration for moving Riot Fest to multiple cities? It was a risky move since Chicago is such a part of Riot Fest's identity?

Mike: Even in the early years of Riot, I thought that it would work in other cities just because we had a lot of people flying in each year from across North America.  If I remember correctly, we started to receive e-mails and messages from fans in Denver and Colorado starting all the way back in 2008.  And there were way more e-mails coming out of Denver than anywhere else.  Looking back, perhaps it was a calculated thing by a few who wanted it in Denver, but the prodding worked and, in all sincerity, we are thrilled that people wanted us to come back for another year.  The people are awesome, the city is gorgeous and it's one of the best music cities in the states.  It doesn't get better than that.

Ultra5280: With the expansion of the festival you've seen a massive growth in recognition and attendance. What's it been like watching that growth?

Mike: On some level, I stopped paying attention to that stuff because even though it's grown and people know what it is these days, the whole idea behind Riot really hasn't changed much.  Above all else, the most important thing is that when I walk through the crowd -- as I did back in the club days -- people are smiling, having great time and want to be there.  Even with 20,000 people in attendance in Denver, the goal is that people feel like they are a part of something special.

Ultra5280: What does the Riot Fest culture represent to you?

Mike: Corndogs and a whole lotta Gwar.

Ultra5280: What's next in the progression of Riot Fest? Are there any future plans to expand beyond the three cities right now?

Mike: None really. Three cities is plenty and it's not like we are a behemoth like Live Nation or AEG that want to keep expanding... we're just a small indie company trying to put on shows with bands we like.  So, are we going to go into another city in the near future?  Nope.

Ultra5280: Are YOU the Riot Fest Twitter guy?

Mike: No... that's way above my pay grade.  I still operate on MS-DOS.

Ultra5280: Hosting the festival in Chicago is their a competitive nature amongst the other festivals such as Pitchfork and Lolla? (or are they supportive)?

Mike: There is no sense of competition between RF, Lolla and Pitchfork. We all support each other and attend each other's fests. There is room for everyone.

Ultra5280: If you had to pick your Riot Fest all time band who would it be ( 1 vocalist , 1 guitar, 1 bass, 1 drummer) out of all bands you have seen perform?

Mike: Whoaa... that's a tough one.  But if I had to choose... and  mind, you it would be one really fucked up band:
Vocalist: Paul Westerberg (The Replacements)
Guitar: J Mascis (Dinosaur JR)
Bass: Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order)
Drum: Ginger Baker (Cream)