Van Full of Nuns Keep Pop Punk Rocking at Upcoming Fest in Buda | Dallas Observer

Pop Punk's Not Dead Fest Brings a Stacked List of Millennial Favorites in its Biggest Iteration Yet

Cashing in on the nostalgia factor of MySpace-era pop punk, Pop Punk’s Not Dead Fest will take place Saturday, April 20, at Buck's Backyard in Buda.
Crowds jam at a previous version of the Pop Punk's Not Dead Fest.
Crowds jam at a previous version of the Pop Punk's Not Dead Fest. Trey Karnes
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The guys of Van Full of Nuns have put together the ultimate 4/20 experience. Cashing in on the nostalgia factor of MySpace-era pop punk, the Nuns are taking their Pop Punk Nite across the state. Pop Punk’s Not Dead Fest will take place Saturday, April 20, at Buck's Backyard in Buda, about 15 miles south of Austin.

Launched in 2021, Pop Punk’s Not Dead Fest began as an epic outdoor kickback, with fans listening to the music they loved from Van Full of Nuns and Bowling For Soup, as they played party games like beer pong and skated on a half-pipe. With a stacked lineup and plans to keep the party going until 2 a.m., the 2024 iteration of Pop Punk’s Not Dead Fest should be the biggest yet.

Over the course of the past three years, Van Full of Nuns has kept pop punk alive with their monthly Pop Punk Nite at venues like Legacy Hall and Granada Theater. During these shows, which have earned a cult-like following, the Nuns have performed their own material and covered songs by some of the pop-punk greats, including Blink-182, Bowling For Soup and more. They have built a community of fans who travel from Oklahoma, Austin and other cities to Dallas just to bond over the love of this music.

The idea to turn Pop Punk Nite into a festival came after the boys played at Buck’s Backyard a couple years ago.

“Playing outside of the city limits was a big deal,” says keyboardist and guitarist Josh Koder. “When we went up there, we walked through to the green room, and Todd and I looked to our right. There was just this acreage of land everywhere with a giant stage and we both looked at each other. Nobody's using this. We did our show, and I go talk to [the venue owners] at the end of the night, like, ‘Hey, have you ever thought about doing a festival out here?’ We've got 15 acres of land, we pull San Antonio, San Marcos, and Austin. It was a great center point.”

When curating a lineup, the Nuns considered the bands they covered during Pop Punk nights. Among them are Amber Pacific, As The City Sleeps, The Ataris, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and more. All of these bands are on the lineup.

“When I hit the Ataris' management and told them The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus were playing, they were like ‘Fuck yeah, let's go,’” says Koder. “And so that's where it escalated to the other bands getting involved.”

The Nuns will also be performing, as well as the Dallas-based band Offended By Everything (both bands share bassist and vocalist Jarrett Adlof).

This year’s festival will have performances on two stages. Fans can look forward to playing indoor and outdoor bar games, purchasing food from local food trucks and participating in raffles. 

“In every new city that we play, we get to make new fans, meet new people, take pictures, take shots of Fireball and build that camaraderie together,” says lead vocalist Michael Perez. "Pop Punk Is Not Dead Fest forms a connection of all those people coming together in one place. So we all get to party and celebrate the music that we grew up with, and we don't want that to die. We all get together in one place to celebrate this and party with the bands that we know and love.”

These days, it’s hard to get all of the band members in one place. Our conversation takes place at Truckyard on Lower Greenville, where we meet one day for lunch. Each of them must return to work later in the day, or teach a music lesson or get ready for another gig. Absent this time around is member Cameron Henson.
click to enlarge Guitar player at Pop Punk’s Not Dead
Amber Pacific, As The City Sleeps, The Ataris, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and more are on the lineup for the fest's third event.
Trey Karnes
While this festival certainly won’t be a last hurrah for Van Full of Nuns, drummer Todd Griffith says, “Next on our agenda is real life.” Notably, Perez and his wife, Heather, are expecting a baby in May. But after a brief hiatus, the band expects to make a return in time for an epic pop punk summer.

“We've been hustling in this band, it's about five years,” says Griffith “We do have big plans for the future. But you know, we're starting to have kids, some of us already have kids. And so, we’re taking about three months after this festival to sort of block, even though things are popping up. And then from there, we have some awesome plans that we're excited to share.”

In the meantime, the Nuns are enjoying the fruits of their labor. And this coming weekend will be all about the music and the fans, who have made it all possible.

“Anything that we want to do, and put our minds to, and that we speak into the air has come true,” says Koder. “And I think we've already exceeded our expectations with some of the venues we’ve gotten to play. The festival was a shock to all of us, with the fact that it’s happening. I think we exceeded our expectations a long time ago, so this is just the icing on the cake. This is such a fun opportunity for us, so we try to sit back and enjoy that as much as we can.”

Pop Punk’s Not Dead Fest takes place Saturday, April 20, at Buck’s Backyard, 1750 FM 1626, Buda. Tickets, $39 and up, are available here.
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