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Festival Review: Sad (but happy) Summer Anaheim

Review/photos by Yising Kao

John O' Callaghan of The Maine


I’ve been looking forward to Sad Summer Fest for months and the day finally came!! My friends and I arrived at the parking lot of the City of National Grove Anaheim. It was SCORCHING hot, but the security kept spraying the crowd with a hose and there was a spot where you could cool down with mister fans, along with a free hydration station. There were cute pink backdrops with lyrics and pool floaties that you could take pictures in front of, and the famous emo kid toy box you could stand in. We arrived early for the free meet and greet, and I loved getting to talk to my favorite artists in a chill environment that wasn’t too crowded. One of the best moments was seeing Sky of Super Whatevr, who walked around showing his new unreleased music to people; I’m excited for the album! Also, my friends and I said hi to Josh of With Confidence, and it was wonderful getting to catch up with him and chat about their upcoming tour. I was so hyped to shoot photos at the fest, and to see some of my favorite Aussies again, Stand Atlantic. It was fun jamming out to their set and Bonnie had a boob cam strapped to her, filming the crowd. They performed songs such as “Skinny Dipping” and “Lost My Cool,” and were hopping around nonstop on stage. Potter kept throwing his guitar and catching it, and twirling around; He’s a true acrobat. Next, I watched Jack Barakat’s DJ set with Mike (Fish) of Idobi radio. It was a pretty unique set; He paraded around with a child on his back, facetimed Mikey Way, and crowdsurfed on an inflatable unicorn - although he got dropped instantly, A for effort.


Me with Stand Atlantic


Finally, the time came to see the Maine. They opened up with my favorite song of theirs, “Black Butterflies and Déjà Vu” and throughout their set, they had sparklers that would fire up which added to their performance. I loved how they had a pink backdrop along with pink equipment, and John wore a matching pink suit. My friend Kelsey and I popped off and sang until we couldn’t breathe. During “Another Night On Mars,” John somehow made his way to the back of the crowd and stood on a ladder to sing, which was awesome. The Maine are one of my favorite bands to see live because they’re so charismatic and their music makes me feel infinite. It’s an enlightening experience and they genuinely care about their fans. During their last song, someone got hurt crowdsurfing so they immediately stopped the set. They later tweeted that she was ok, and it was heartwarming to know that they checked in on her, and security did a great job of helping her. After the show, we went to Emo Nite inside the venue and danced on stage during Stand Atlantic’s set – it was such a cool opportunity! Also, seeing the Maine being drunk was hilarious. Garrett kept dancing and throwing his microphone out for people to sing and John wore a yeehaw hat. Kennedy, Pat, and Jared stayed at the DJ booth and they played songs like “Old Town Road” and “All-Star,” singing acapella along with the crowd. Overall, this was one of the best days and I’m so happy I got to attend the first ever Sad Summer Festival, and I have a feeling this won’t be the last. It provided a fun and safe environment and it was great how there was only one stage, so I didn’t have to stress over running around to catch sets. I had the best time and the lineup was perfect. Thank you to everyone who helped make Sad Summer happen!