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Riot Fest's Youngest Fans Aren't Too Young To Rock

By Darryl Holliday | September 15, 2013 4:06pm
  Kids as young as 1 are having their first punk experience at Riot Fest this weekend.
The Young Punks of Riot Fest
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HUMBOLDT PARK — These kids rock with the best of them.

Riot Fest is on its final day, but the young punks of Chicago have been dancing along to their favorite bands all weekend — some rocking even harder than their parents.

“I’m trying to get him to see all the bands I grew up with before they die,” said Shawn Podgurski, a musician who lives in Humboldt Park.

Podgurski’s 2-year-old son, Eros, like many of the Riot Fest kids in attendance Sunday, was decked out in a yellow raincoat quite appropriate for his age. As a bonus, the father and son got into Riot Fest for free because their home is directly across the street from the Riot Stage.

“I try to expose him to good music,” Podgurski said. “We even went to Lollapalooza this year — we’re always at a show or festival; we're never in the house.”

“But the rides aren’t running today, so he’s not especially happy,” he added.

At the Mission of Burma set several yards away, Matt Wetstein and his wife, Karen Tentner-Wetstein, held their 1-year-old son, Zack, as they enjoyed the show.

“This is his first punk show and he’s not sure what to make of it,” Tentner-Wetstein said as Zack stared at the performing punk rockers, his ears protected with sound-dampening headphones roughly the size of his head.

“I think we’re the only people here who planned their festival around nap-time,” Wetstein said. “His bedtime is around 7:30 [p.m.], but we’re planning on heading back out here after, if we can find a babysitter.”

The family won’t have to travel far from their Humboldt Park home, they said, as yet another yellow-raincoated Riot Fest toddler arrived.

Nicole Lynn and her 4-year-old son, Bennett, were heading toward the food stand after arriving at Riot Fest, but not before Lynn explained Bennett’s love for punk.

“We went to a show recently and he complained that there ‘wasn’t enough rock and roll for him’ — seriously,” she said with a laugh. “So I bought tickets to [Riot Fest].”

Lynn said the Smoking Popes was among Bennett’s favorite acts so far, and “the Screeching Weasels scared the s--t out of him.”

“But some ice cream made that better,” she added.

On Saturday night, the 4-year-old fell asleep on her shoulder during Joan Jett — like any young punk has a right to do.