Sad Summer Festival makes its return this July, kicking off July 6 in Jacksonville, FL and ending in Irvine, CA on July 29. The sixteen day festival has dates ranging from coast to coast with many stops in the Midwest. Presented by Journeys and Converse, this year’s festival features thirteen artists, though the lineup changes from city to city. That being said, the Sad Summer has a set of six artists performing at all dates: Taking Back Sunday, PVRIS, The Maine, Hot Mulligan, Mom Jeans, and Stand Atlantic.
With so many bands to see and so little time, we at For The Punks thought it might be helpful to create a list of seven groups — in no particular order — that are a must see at this year’s festival.
Dates & tickets can be found here.
Performing: July 6 to 8 & July 23 to 29
Hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Cliffdiver’s latest release Exercise Your Demons came out to rave reviews last year. This album marks the band’s first release featuring all seven members for the first time, following the permanent addition of Briana Wright to the already impressive line-up. Cliffdiver’s highly energetic live performance is a sight to truly behold. Do yourself a favor and get to the festival a little early to see them open up the festival.
Listen to their song “IKEA Strikes Back” below.
6. Andrew McMahon
Performing: July 25 to 29
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness will join Sad Summer Festival hot off the release of his newest album Tilt at the Wind No More. His fourth studio album was released on March 31. Perhaps most well-known for his song, “Cecilia And The Satellite,” McMahon’s indie rock music is a summer must.
Listen to his track “Smoke & Ribbons” from the new album below.
5. L.S. Dunes
Performing July 6 to 12
Featuring members from Thursday, My Chemical Romance, Coheed and Cambria, and Circa Survive, L.S. Dunes might be one of the most in-demand bands in the scene currently. Last year saw the release of the band’s debut album Past Lives. Already hard at work on their follow-up, Dunes might have some surprises up their sleeves for these dates. Who knows? Regardless, L.S. Dunes is one of the best live bands today as their musical expertise combines to total decades and decades of musical experience. If one recommendation is taken from this article, please let it be this one. You might just come out of it with a new favorite band.
Listen to their song “Past Lives” below.
5. Motion City Soundtrack
Performing July 18 to 23
Motion City Soundtrack is back after taking a brief break from 2016 to 2019! The quintet are often hailed as one of the founders of the emo genre, though their music can also be described as pop-punk. Since the band’s reunion, they’ve been hinting that new music is on the way. In fact, during last year’s “Commit this to Memory” tour, the band offered a VIP experience in which fans would be able to participate in the creation of the new music. Though the release hasn’t been announced officially yet, it should be interesting to see what the band brings to Sad Summer.
Listen to their track “Everything Is Alright” below.
4. Hot Mulligan
Performing: All Dates
Returning after their stint on last summer’s lineup, Hot Mulligan’s newest single “Shhhh! Golf is On” released last month, along with the announcement of their newest album Why Would I Watch, out May 12 via Wax Bodega Records. The single is a darkly-comedic song about singer Tades Sanville’s mother, who during an interview with the Brooklyn Vegan said that he’s “asking her to die.” With this in mind, Why Would I Watch promises to be an interesting album.
Listen to “Shhhh! Golf is On” below.
Performing: All Dates
PVRIS recently announced their next release EVERGREEN, releasing during the festival’s circuit on July 14 via Hopeless Records. The electronic rock group’s album drops on the day of the Holmdel, NJ show. It goes without saying that this performance will be a special one!
Listen to their song “GODDESS” below.
1. Taking Back Sunday
Performing: All Dates
Long Island band Taking Back Sunday headlines this summer’s festival. The emo legends are responsible for hits such as “MakeDamnSure,” “Cute Without the ‘E’,” Tidal Wave,” and many more. Singer Adam Lazzara puts on a show unlike any other with his dance-laden stage performance, effortlessly getting the crowd to dance along with him without fail. For a band going on nearly twenty-five years, it’s safe to say that they’ve still got it.
Listen to their song “Tidal Wave” below.