With summer coming to an end, so is the first post-warped tour concert season. Many organizations have tried to do their own summer festivals such as Disrupt Fest, sponsored by Rockstar Energy, and one of the more popular ones, Sad Summer Festival. The first mentioning of Sad Summer Fest occurred in February of this year. The four headlining bands, The Wonder Years, Mayday Parade, The Maine, and State Champs, had been tweeting little hints up until the anticipated announcement.
The tour kicked off at the beginning of July and ran through the beginning of August.
Besides the four headlining bands, Mom Jeans, Stand Atlantic, and Just Friends were on the lineup, with appearances from Four Year Strong, Forever The Sickest Kids, and Every Avenue on certain dates. The unique thing about this festival is that the headliners alternated each evening. The Pittsburgh date for the show was held at the outdoor area of Stage AE, designating the inside for air conditioning, bathrooms, and food. The most realistic use I have seen from an indoor and outdoor venue.
Unlike warped tour, there was only one stage and fans didn’t have to go running from set to set to catch their favorite bands. Personally, I was a fan of this because all of the bands, especially the smaller ones like Just Friends, got the attention they deserved. These festivals are important for new and upcoming bands.
Without warped tour, these newer, smaller scale festivals are the best way for new bands to get recognition in the scene. Besides music, there were several photo opportunities with pink backgrounds with song lyrics from the bands displayed on them. Typically, the average day for Sad Summer started off around 1 p.m. with Just Friends. The 7 piece pop-punk/ska band recently signed to Pure Noise Records and are expected to release new music this fall.
Although the band isn’t well-known, the fans who came out to see their set went hard. The push pits and crowd surfing showed that Just Friends is going to be the next big thing and that Pure Noise made the right move by signing them. All of the bands on this festival seemed to be carefully picked. The music was diverse enough to grab the attention of all types of fans. However, State Champs closed out the show with the most energetic performance I have seen by them, The Maine stole the show.
The Maine has been a band for over ten years, put on quite an emotionally compelling set. The band came out in all-white outfits, except for vocalist John O’Callaghan who was sporting a white shirt with suspenders and pink pants. Playing favorites from the latest album “You Are OK,” and “Lovely, Little, Lonely,” the songs had fans dancing the day away. One thing O’Callaghan did every set was, go to the back of the crowd and stand on the sound booth for “Another Night On Mars.” This had everybody in the crowd get close together and sing their hearts out with strangers who had suddenly become best friends.
When this festival was announced, fans didn’t know what to expect and I’m sure those putting on the event didn't know how people would respond. Although warped tour can never be replaced, Sad Summer Festival surely does a bit more than fill the void. We can only imagine what they have planned for next summer.
Review By: Bethany Clancy
Photo By: Cheyenne Simmons