Article & Photography - Vicky Branca
If you went to 8123 Fest in January, there’s a good chance you’re still having post concert depression. I know I am! In our archives we promoted the event: here.
If you’re not familiar, 8123 Fest is a bi-yearly music festival that had it’s second run just a few weeks ago in Phoenix, Arizona. It is run by 8123 and The Maine, usually coinciding with the band’s anniversary or 'album birthdays.'
Bands also from that “neon/scene” era like We the Kings and Mayday Parade joined the lineup along with Real Friends, Twin XL, Teenage Wrist, the Technicolors, and more.
8123 Fest | Event Details | 2019 Stage & Activities
What separated 8123 Fest this year from 8123 Fest in 2017, was the size. Over 5,000 fans filled Civic Space Park on 1/19 and there were multiple stages to accommodate the bigger lineup. There were also more food trucks, photo booths designed after previous album eras (CSWS, Black and White, Lovely Little Lonely), the iconic white van was available for fans to sign, and organizations like Girls Behind The Rock Show were part of the day.
8123 Fest | Event Details | 2019 Performances
Real Friends had an earlier set and really set the tone for the rest of the day, playing crowd favorites like “Summer” and songs off of their new album.
Mayday Parade also played crowd favorites like "Jamie All Over" and were the perfect interlude into The Maine’s set.
The Maine’s first full length album, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, turned 11 while the band turned 12 in 2019. What made the fest even more special is that Maine played CSWS in full, playing songs live that they haven’t in years. Old and new fans were both losing their minds, and I know I screamed the whole duration of “You Left Me.”
It was an amazing moment to hear thousands of people chant “8123 means everything to me” during "We All Roll Along" and while the band had played their new single, "Numb Without You," at the request show the night before, the crowd had such a higher energy for it at the fest.
The band also had pyrotechnics on stage.
8123 Fest | Event Details | 2019 After-Party:
To end the night, an after party was held at the Van Buren and the acts from the fest took turns DJing. And honestly, if Mayday Parade ever wants to call it quits from music, they could restart as Emo Nite DJs. They played the perfect mix of My Chemical Romance and Say Anything.
Ted Lavender (DJ name), aka Eric Halvorsen, also made an appearance. And yes, an exercise bike was involved.
8123 Fest | Event Details | 2019 Memories:
While the music and good vibes created a magical weekend, perhaps the most powerful aspect was the 8123 family coming together.
I got to see friends from the internet for the first time and also reunited with old friends. I can’t imagine a better experience and did things out of my comfort zone this trip such as hiking and taking spontaneous trip to somewhere we’ve never been before - Sedona, Arizona.
I’m not the only one that feels the strong sense of community from The Maine’s fan-base.
In fact, Leslie describes 8123 as being “family.” Adriana P also feels a strong connection. She shared two photo, which is included below yet above her quotes.
“I’m from CA. As a fan who’s been there for the past 10ish years, 8123 has slowly morphed into more than just a number, a lyric from one of my favorite songs."
"On the way to Arizona, I went solo, but came back with a ton of memories & more people who understood the feeling."
"Their music may have evolved and we all grew up, but 8123 remains the same. Those people who I met in Arizona are people I would never have crossed paths due to distance and just being from different walks of life."
"Aside from the 8123 fest, I just walked around Arizona and took some photos on my polaroid. It was a new place, so I didn’t want to commit to anything. I can’t wait to go back, Arizona has a different atmosphere than California.”
-Adriana P | @drianaplz on Twitter
All in all, 8123 Fest was a rejuvination; certainly it was a weekend to remember.
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