Hey hey, 8123 family! How are we all feeling after Fest weekend? Are you good? Alive? Hydrated? A little bit exhausted? Us too! After a long, long wait, we finally got to experience 8123 Fest 2022 this past weekend and it was everything. Our favorite music, our favorite bands, and time spent with our closest friends made this event super memorable and we’re here to tell you all about it.
The Beach Came To Arizona
Beach Weather, that is. They kicked off the weekend at the Rebel Lounge with their performance and while we, unfortunately, didn’t snag tickets for that one, we heard it was a great time!
The Maine Is Finally Old Enough For A Learner’s Permit!
That’s right, the band celebrated 15 years of The Maine with the Friday pre-show at the Arizona Federal Theater, marking 15 years since their first-ever performance as a band. The Maine’s most recent album XOXO: From Love And Anxiety In Real Time got its moment to shine in full at this show, being played live in its entirety for the first time. While we got a taste of it in Los Angeles, getting to hear it in the band’s hometown surrounded by other 8123 fans made it even more memorable. There’s just something about seeing The Maine in Arizona that hits different, the fans that get it, get it.
The Technicolors and Breakup Shoes opened the pre-show, both bands were fantastic! We even got a special performance of ‘Like We Used To’ by A Rocket To The Moon courtesy of Nick Santino himself. In the year 2022. Did we almost collapse in the pit? You bet. Not to mention, The Maine listened to the fans’ tireless Twitter crusade to hear ‘So Criminal’ at Fest and performed it live! We stan a band that listens to their fans. Does it matter that they didn’t believe anyone actually wanted to hear it? No, what matters is that we heard it!
Oh, and we can’t forget their iconic cover of Akon’s ‘I Wanna Love You.’ That was a moment we are grateful to have seen live.
Y’allternative Fashion Had Its Moment
Dead on our feet, we rolled out of bed on Saturday morning, still recovering from the night before and the post-show afterparty, and got dressed up in our best outfits for Fest day. Seriously y’all, if you wanted a visual representation of “y’allternative,” you would have to look no further than 8123 Fest. Everyone’s outfits were so on point the entire weekend and thanks to The Maine, we all had cowboy hats to go with them!
The Maine started selling light-up cowboy hats last year during Sad Summer Fest 2021. Originally you could only get it in pink but for 8123 Fest we got black and gold as well! The Fest pop-up shop had more merch than we could make sense of what to do with. Did we go little nuts with the shopping? Maybe. Was it worth it being 0.5 lbs over the airline luggage limit? Absolutely. They had all sorts of merch from eras new and old, not to mention vinyls, mugs, shot glasses, and even shoes! From music to events to fashion, what can’t The Maine do??
The Moment Finally Arrived
Walking onto the 8123 Fest grounds felt like such a surreal moment. This event was a long time in the making, due to Covid-19 shutting everything down, so finally being there was truly amazing. Whether you were in the socially distanced pods or right in the thick of the pit, everywhere you looked you could see people having a good time. There were food trucks, photo ops, and even a giant inflatable obstacle course! The excitement was palpable and you could feel the energy in the air. The stage setups were amazing too and we could not get over how aesthetically pleasing everything was. The emos flooded Margaret T. Hance Park and made sure everyone knew it.
As for the music itself, there were so many amazing artists performing. Between the main stage and the Sonoran Roots stage, there were 18 different acts for fans to enjoy. Some of our fave ones might be familiar…
We were lucky enough to chat with Weathers last summer and ever since then we have been obsessed, so when we heard they were playing the Sonoran Roots stage, we absolutely had to make sure we were there for their set! The energy they brought to the stage was infectious and we got to hear some of our favorite songs, including ‘Lonely Vampire’ and ‘C’est La Vie.’ We can’t wait for their next tour, we’ll tell you that much.
You know we already think Tessa Violet is an amazing performer, so getting to see her live and in person was a real treat. She performed as one of the openers on the main stage and she really knew how to give the crowd what they wanted. It was a great set and we’re so glad we got a chance to see her at Fest!
You might not have heard of Doll Skin yet and that’s fine, we’re here to fix that for you right now. Doll Skin is a rock band from Phoenix, AZ who rocked the Sonoran Roots stage with their presence. They are definitely worth checking out so you better go do that right now. Their new ‘Eat Sh*t’ was an absolute banger to see live and we cannot recommend it enough.
Of course, we got to hear our faves from The Summer Set and State Champs, they were bringing the energy to the main stage and the pit was the place to be. We also got to return to our emo kids roots and jam out to 3OH!3. ‘DONTTRUSTME’ is still a banger y’all. The Maine closed out the night with yet another amazing set and we finally got to scream “8123 means everything to me” in a crowd of fellow stans. It was an experience that truly meant everything to everyone present. Oh and how cool was that main stage set up?
The Summer Set Got ‘Back Together’ And We Got To Welcome Them Home
Another Arizona band graced the stage as part of 8123 Fest events. On Sunday, we were lucky enough to experience a headliner from The Summer Set for the first time in five years. It was an emotional moment, as some fans organized a project involving signs welcoming the band home. Brian Logan Dales, lead singer of The Summer Set, was not shy about how emotional the experience made him, admitting to crying during the show. Don’t worry Brian, we were right there with you.
We were promised a new album from The Summer Set and we cannot wait! The energy in the Crescent Ballroom was off the charts during this performance, it was clear that the fans missed TSS as much as they missed us.
And just like that, the weekend was over seemingly just as it had begun. Monday was full of tearful goodbyes as the attendees headed back home, but not before participating in 8123’s Impact Day at a local food bank! Such a wholesome end to the weekend if you ask us.
But Wait, There’s More!
The Maine didn’t send us home empty-handed. They teased their new song ‘Loved You A Little’ ft. Taking Back Sunday and Charlotte Sands shortly before 8123 Fest and gave attendees a sneak preview before dropping the track on January 26th after the event concluded. Lucky for us we even got a music video!
This song is a certified banger and we’ve had it on repeat for the last 24 hours, no joke. The vocals all compliment each other perfectly and we’re obsessed. Maybe this means a Charlotte Sands and TBS appearance at the next Fest? Guess we’ll have to wait and see. You can stream the song here in the meantime!
Were you at 8123 Fest? Plans to go next year? Let us know in the comments below or drop us a line over on Twitter!
Keep up with The Maine right this way!