Music festivals are within students’ reach

Photo by Danielle Meadows

Danielle Meadows

Music festivals are a summer staple for many college students—but finding reliable transportation to and around unfamiliar cities can be a challenge.

A three-day music festival recently wrapped up in Chicago’s Douglas Park. Thousands of people flocked to the windy city for Riot Fest, wheregroupsranging from Paramore to rap legends Wu-Tang Clan performed.

Announced each spring, the Riot Fest lineup leansheavilytowards its punk rock roots. However, the festival is always sprinkled withhip-hop, pop and indieacts. Some highly-anticipated bands this year included Nine Inch Nails and the long-awaited reunion of ‘90s punk rock outfit Jawbreaker.

Multiple stages are set up across 218 acres of land in the park, allowing for various artists to play at the same time.Riot Fest is particularly special because it’s not only a music festival –it’s a carnival as well. Festival-goers can go on adrenaline pumping rides, play carnival games and even watch circus acts (including sword and fire swallowers).

This festival attracts people of all ages and backgrounds because there’s truly something for everyone. If the music and carnival are somehow unappealing, a half-mile-long stretch of food and drink vendors set up in thepark. They’re notjust hamburgers and hot dogs, either–there’sa huge variety, ranging fromtraditional carnival foodto gourmet vegan treats.

Riot Fest also features an outdoor mall area, where fashion vendors sell clothing and handmade jewelry. RiotFest isone of the last big festivals of the summer, annually taking place over a weekend in mid-September.While the weather is slightly cooler than earlier summer months, heat still playsa huge factor. Die-hard fans often stand front and center during music sets, pushing and jumping into each other in mosh pits, which can get unbearably hot. Crowd surfing is also popular—and while it’s fun, there’s a significant risk for injury for anyone involved. Riot Fest has medical staff on park grounds at all times in case of accidents and water stations are set up to prevent dehydration.

Chicago is an easily accessible “big city” for many UNO students as it’s relatively close to Omaha. However, students on a budget or without cars may think they’re out of luckwhen traveling to an out-of-state event.

The Megabus is a convenient, affordable way for students to travel outside of Nebraska. Boarding right down the street from campus every afternoon at Crossroads Mall, the bus goes all the way from Lincoln to Chicago, making stops in Omaha, Des Moines and Iowa City on the way. Round-trip tickets go for as low as $60.

After arriving in an unfamiliar city, it’s necessary to know where you’re going and how you’re getting there to ensure safety. Chicago offers taxi services which are relatively expensive but the easiest option for travel. The city also has a rapid-transit system—nicknamed the “L”—which is an elevated subway that runs across the city and its suburbs. Riders can use the L for less than $3 per ride, with most stops a short walk away from popular venues or parks.

Traveling to a bigger city is sometimes intimidating; however, it’s totally possible for students with a little money and desire for adventure. For more information on the Megabus, visit