Riot Fest Denver 2014 preview: headliners and discoveries

photo: Riot Fest logoAfter an embattled stint at May Farms in Byers, Colo., Riot Fest finally arrives this weekend at its new location at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver.

Denver is the third and final stop of the traveling music festival and carnival following weekends in Toronto and Chicago.

It arrives on the last official weekend of summer. Although we'll be sad to see music festival season end, we're thrilled for the great acts with which Riot Fest Denver will send-off the summer of 2014.

We've highlighted our favorite Riot Fest Denver acts below, organized by "Headliners" you probably already know, and "Discoveries" that you might not. Preview each artist with a Spotify track and playlist.


The Flaming Lips

We’re all familiar with Wayne Coyne’s trademarked weirdness, but it seems he’s really been putting some energy into his Riot Fest performances with The Flaming Lips. Reviews of the Toronto Riot Fest say The Flaming Lips performance “ just completely annihilated The Cure as the best act of Day 1 in their brief hour onstage."

Hopefully Wayne will bring a similar performance to Denver when they take the stage at 8:30 p.m. on Friday. And as usual, you can look forward to glitter, spandex, and dancing rainbows.

Weezer performing "The Blue Album"

There’s a good chance that if you grew up with Weezer you’re a fan of their earlier albums. The band itself seems to have taken notice of this, and Rivers Cuomo and co. plan to play their 1994 debut “Blue Album” in its entirety for fans at Riot Fest.

The Cure

Frontman Robert Smith IS The Cure, and has been the only constant member of the English band since their formation in 1976. They toured and released albums about every four years up until 2008, which was the same year they last performed in Colorado at Red Rocks.

Robert Smith’s hair has seen better days, but they’ll still be rocking one of the main stages this weekend. From the looks of their setlist at the Toronto Riot Fest, it seems like we might be in for a killer set of Cure singles when they take the stage for a TWO AND A HALF HOUR set at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.

TV on the Radio

The NYC alternative band will release new album "Seeds" on Nov. 18, its first since the death of bassist Gerard Smith in 2011. Riot Fest Denver may very well be the live premiere of several songs from "Seeds," so this one feels like a must-see for all attendees.

The National

They’ll be playing Riot Fest this year on the heels of the critically acclaimed documentary “Mistaken for Strangers" released earlier this year. The film chronicles The National's rise to prominence as seen by frontman Matt Berninger's younger brother Tom. It's been praised as a film “about family, ambition, and the creative process.” Check out the documentary, then see them perform songs from their latest album “Trouble Will Find Me” at at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.


The Orwells

Hailing from the suburbs of Chicago, The Orwells have been recognized as formidable contributors to the garage revival by fellow rockers the Arctic Monkeys, who took them on tour as an opener earlier this year.

Big Freedia

Big Freedia crafts a percussion-heavy New Orleans-style hip-hop called "bounce music." Just listen for yourself to hear how it earned that moniker.

Dum Dum Girls

The L.A. indie band veered towards goth-rock on "Too True," their third full-length for Sub Pop.

Bob Mould

The former Hüsker Dü frontman continued his excellent solo album streak with this year's "Beauty & Ruin."


The ever-touring country-punk veterans can play fast or slow but there's plenty of grit to go around either way.

In the Whale

The two-man wrecking crew of Denver hard rockers In the Whale should prove as potent as any punk band on the bill.

The Epilogues

Denver alt-rockers The Epilogues are among the handful of great acts to local label Greater Than Collective, and are possibly the hardest-rocking of the bunch.

Get the full Riot Fest schedule, and listen to our entire Riot Fest Denver Spotify playlist below: