Riot Fest Denver shows canceled

After four years and two location changes, Riot Fest will not return to Denver this year, organizers announced Friday morning.

Denver seen from the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Feb. 12, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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After four years and two location changes, Riot Fest will not return to Denver this year, organizers announced Friday morning.

The team behind the punky Chicago-based event decided two festivals was more work than they could handle after the November death of Sean McKeough, one of their key organizers and producers.

“It saddens us to say, however, that we will not be able to return to Denver in 2017,” the announcement says. “Without Sean’s massive contributions, taking on more than one festival this year is, unfortunately, simply not possible. That said, we hope our absence from Denver is only temporary.”

Riot Fest first came to Colorado in 2013 and set up its rock and rap carnival out east in Byers. When the festival was forced out by unhappy residents, it set up in Denver proper at Mile High Stadium, then the National Western Complex.

Despite all that, Riot Fest was doing well in Denver — drawing huge crowds and even convincing The Misfits to get back together for their first show in 33 years.

Here’s the full letter:

To all of our Fans and Patrons,

First and foremost, thank you for your support, loyalty, and enthusiasm regarding Riot Fest’s endeavors – you are the lifeblood that keeps us going!

As many of you know, the Riot Fest family lost one of its leaders late last year: our beloved Sean McKeough. Riot Mike’s partner, Sean, was a fearless leader who worked tirelessly to plan, organize and execute the production of our festivals each year. He was an integral part of our team and it has been difficult to envision a Riot Fest without him.

This September will see our 13th Riot Fest in Chicago and we are very excited to share another year here with you. It saddens us to say, however, that we will not be able to return to Denver in 2017. Without Sean’s massive contributions, taking on more than one festival this year is, unfortunately, simply not possible. That said, we hope our absence from Denver is only temporary.

To all of our friends in Denver, we love you and we appreciate you making us feel at home in your amazing city. We can never thank you enough for embracing us as you did, and we hope to see as many of you as possible in Chicago this September!

To our Chicago perennials and all who have or will travel to the fest – we owe it to Sean to throw the absolute best festival we can and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

We appreciate your continued support & can’t wait to unveil the Riot Fest 2017 lineup, so stay tuned. Hope to see you in Chicago.

Ashley Dean

Author: Ashley Dean

Ashley Dean covers dining and nightlife, and other odds and ends. She previously covered music and did some copy editing for the Denver Post, the Colorado Daily and the Daily Camera. She's from New York, likes her bourbon straight and has strong opinions about Kanye West. She can be reached at adean@denverite.com, 303-502-2804 or @AshleyDean.