Sad Summer Festival Might Be Better, and Sadder, than Warped Tour

Sure, they look happy now, but wait till Forever the Sickest Kids play Sad Summer Festival.EXPAND
Sure, they look happy now, but wait till Forever the Sickest Kids play Sad Summer Festival.
Ashley Osborn
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Summer is officially here, which means scorching hot temps, vacations and, of course, music festivals. There are plenty to choose from, like Coachella (in April, but we’ll still count it), Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and Bonnaroo.

But what if sad songs are what truly make you happy? If that’s the case, we bet you used to live for the Vans Warped Tour. Warped was the only show of its kind for those of us who would rather sweat it out wearing all black than put on flower tiaras and take an endless number of selfies.

Every summer since 1997, Warped Tour would roll into town and set up multiple stages at larger, amphitheater-style venues for a nonstop sweaty day with all our favorite emo artists. Bands would finish their sets and then head to their merch booths where fans could stop by for a chat, which always added another layer of excitement. Over the years, Warped Tour transformed into something much more than a rock show. It was a culture. But alas, Warped Tour’s days are over (with the exception of a few dates in select cities this summer), and so the search is on for a replacement. Perhaps the most promising of all is Sad Summer Festival.

Sad Summer will be a full day of sad, sad fun with sets from big emo names like Mayday Parade, The Maine and State Champs alongside a rotating list of local acts, plus plenty of extras including a 30-foot waterslide, skate demos and food trucks. The tour’s first stop is in Dallas, at Gas Monkey Live on July 5.

Forever the Sickest Kids, North Texas natives and scene favorites, will come out of their most recent hiatus to play the Dallas and Houston stops. “We’ve been kinda quiet lately just because we’ve all started settling down with families and other jobs,” drummer Kyle Burns tells us in a phone interview. “But every now and then we get a call that’s just too enticing to pass up.”

FTSK officially called it quits in 2013 but have since reunited to appear at several one-off shows, including the So What?! Music Festival and a 2017 show at Trees in Deep Ellum. “I think the band will live forever, regardless of if we’re touring or making music,” Burns says. He also shared that the band often flirts with the idea of hitting the road for a more extensive tour, and even making new music. But for the time being, Burns says the guys are just “excited to see everyone and looking forward to getting back onstage to dust off the cobwebs.”

One downside of Warped Tour was having to navigate the various stages and set times to be sure you could see all the bands you wanted. Inevitably, there were two or more bands playing at the same time on different stages, forcing you to make a difficult decision. Thankfully, that won’t be an issue at Sad Summer, since there will be only one stage.

Mayday Parade guitarist Brooks Betts shared in Burns’ excitement to be part of the inaugural Sad Summer Festival. “I think it’s a really stacked package,” he tells us over the phone. “It takes a lot to get all these different bands together to do something like this.”

Despite now living in New Jersey, Betts still gets his beach time in, something the Florida native looks forward to every summer. “I enjoy the heat, and I can’t deal with the cold,” he says with a laugh. “So summer is a great time of year. “

The pop-punk veterans typically hit the road for some kind of tour in the summer months, which in the past would have included Warped Tour or possibly a headlining tour. “We wanted to do something to fill that void (left by Warped),” Betts told us. “So why not try and form a little festival-type tour and see if you can grow it? It just made perfect sense.”

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