In 2005 — before he was known to many as “Riot Mike” — Michael A. Petryshyn was a relatively unknown promoter kid from Buffalo, NY. Trying to make waves in the Windy City and against all odds, he held the first Riot Fest at the Congress Theater. In the 13 years since, Riot Fest’s daily attendance has grown from 900 to over 45,000 per day. In addition to entertaining fans of cutting edge punk, rock and hip-hop music, Riot has also made worldwide headlines by reuniting such white whales as The Replacements, the Misfits and Jawbreaker. Riot Fests have been thrown all over North America, but Chicago will always be home for the festival, which has managed to remain fully independent to this day — a special rarity in the current music industry climate.
Riot Fest also promotes concerts in Chicago clubs throughout the year and maintains an online music and lifestyle magazine. Additionally, Riot’s social media presence and unique marketing strategies have received national acclaim in the press.
Mike’s longtime partner Sean McKeough passed away late last year, shaking the Riot Fest family to its core. Moving forward, Mike has vowed to honor and preserve Sean’s legacy in the company that he tirelessly helped to build.