Sad Summer Fest Makes Waves With Exhilarating Sets, Lineup

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In lieu of Vans Warped Tour, there have been a handful of tours this summer trying to fill the void – Disrupt Festival, The Pure Noise Tour, and Sad Summer among others. Sad Summer Fest has definitely got the pop punk aspect of Warped Tour covered, complete with bigger name acts like The Maine and Mayday Parade plus smaller artists like Mom Jeans and Stand Atlantic, along with custom drinks that make lyric references, blow up pool floaties and backdrops for photo ops, and some nostalgic emo music playing between sets.

The Chicago date of Sad Summer Fest panned out somewhat differently from the rest, as it was indoors at the Aragon Ballroom, but it was still a phenomenal show. The early afternoon kicked off with Just Friends., a nine-piece band from California featuring trumpets, chest-bumping, and tons of dancing to get the crowd moving. Following them, Australian pop punkers in Stand Atlantic went on under beautiful purple and blue lights with a ton of energy. By around 3:30 or 4 p.m. it was time for Mom Jeans, which consists of a handful of the members of Just Friends. playing some twinkly emo for fans of bands like Free Throw or Modern Baseball.

After their set came the big guns – The Wonder Years, State Champs, The Maine, and Mayday Parade each played longer sets back-to-back, and the crowd went wild. Each of the latter four bands are veterans in the pop punk scene, and had a plethora of songs to choose from to perform. However, they knew what the fans wanted, and therefore each played a giant list of classic hits.

The Wonder Years performed songs like “Passing Through A Screen Door” and “I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral,” among others, while the crowds opened up and circle pits ensued. State Champs also played older hits like “Secrets” and “All You Are Is History,” while also mixing in newer fan favorites like “Slow Burn.” The Maine blew the roof off playing songs off of You Are OK like “Heaven, We’re Already Here,” and “Slip The Noose,” but did not forget about their roots, pulling a fan onstage to sing “Girls Do What They Want,” a typical Warped Tour tradition. Mayday Parade closed out the night playing a bunch of oldies off of A Lesson In Romantics like “Jersey” and “Jamie All Over,” but also sprinkling in newer songs, “One of Them Will Destroy the Other,” with a guest feature by Real Friends’ vocalist Dan Lambton, and even covering The Killers’ hit single “Mr. Brightside.”