Sad Summer Fest was a project contrived by Arizona emo group, The Maine, in late 2018 to prepare for the absence of the scene’s beloved Warped Tour that was held every summer since 1995. Sad Summer Fest made its debut in 2019, playing all over the country with almost 20 dates and other special coinciding events like Emo Nites. The lineup consisted of headliners: The Maine (obviously), Mayday Parade, State Champs & The Wonder Years with support from Mom Jeans, Stand Atlantic & Just Friends. Depending on which date, the festival may have featured another local artist for that date. For instance, Four Year Strong made an appearance at the Massachusetts date and Forever The Sickest Kids reunited for Texas’.
Now, with the 2020 lineup recently being announced, fans are extremely eager to know how this year will turn out in comparison to the very first run. As seen above, this year’s lineup is quite stacked: All Time Low, The Maine, The Story So Far, Movements, Yours Truly, Grayscale & Destroy Boys. All seemingly playing every date this time around, starting in mid-July & ending in mid-August.
The Maine are notoriously innovative & essentially their own entrepreneurs in the industry especially after their departure with Fearless Records (now run independently), which is something I admire so much about them. Taking the initiative to fill such big shoes, like Kevin Lyman, is incredibly daunting. However, considering the fact that they’ve been in the scene for more than 10 years, I feel like they have a better understanding of it all than most bands might. With all of this being said, I believe this new era has a lot of promise.
Last year, I attended the Worcester (MA) and Asbury Park (NJ) dates. The shows I attended were a lot of fun but I could also see them definitely needing some improvements. As an avid Warped Tour-goer, I couldn’t help but compare everything about Sad Summer to Warped. Warped Tour kept me occupied all day because it was so jam-packed. Sad Summer (at least last year) was one stage in an area that didn’t take up too much room, so in Worcester’s case: an open parking lot with zero shade. The Maine are also big advocates for free meet & greets, which is something I’ve always appreciated but also find it hard to organize in an environment like a festival. There were no times scheduled for bands to be at their merch tents, you just had to stand in an hour-long line & hope for the best. I believe it’s already been established that All Time Low will be running their own pre-paid meet & greet at the festival this year, which may reign in some chaos. All of these bands have such intense fanbases, so I just really hope that there will be more of an organization process for meet & greets or whatever kind of interactions ensue.
Totally not trying to bag on Sad Summer, I swear! I had a great time!!! They had a bunch of little photo ops, food vendors, & free water… so I was satisfied. This year they’ll also be sponsored by Journey’s, Alternative Press, Reverb, Fueled By Ramen, Our Music My Body, Fearless Records, Generation SOS, UNFD, Workshop Management & The Maine’s own company, 8123. Needless to say, there’s already a great opportunity to broaden the festival’s spectrum. Sad Summer also helps out with local non-profits along the tour while also enacting the #RockNRefill Green Campaign in partnership with Reverb, which will encourage attendees to bring refillable water bottles instead of single-use plastic ones to help reduce waste.
Although, they stole our Sophomore Slump Fest abbreviation… SSF……. I’m extremely excited to see what’s to come this year. Maybe Parker Cannon will kick someone off stage!
Tickets are already on sale, so if they haven’t sold out yet, go grab ‘em HERE
Written By Deirdre Kelly