Abilene saw its first ever all Pop Punk music festival on Friday, Oct. 30, headlined by local band We Live Like Thieves. The show featured nine other bands from all across Texas, and lasted from 5 p.m. until midnight.
Tickets were $10 to everyone and granted access to all 10 bands, as well as eligibility to participate in a costume contest, where the grand prize was $100 cash.
The event was held at The Solution Group, a slight change in venue due to the rain experienced over the weekend. This change did not have any negative effects on the show as the venue comfortably fit the crowd and had plenty of room for dancing and on-stage action.
Eric Knighton, lead vocalist for We Live Like Thieves explained how it felt to be headlining a hometown festival. “It’s really humbling but it’s still super cool because we’re friends with everyone, and whenever they sing back to us it’s dope.”
Dozer, a band out of San Angelo, is another prominent band in the local music scene. Singer and guitarist Kevin Cale said that it is awesome being one of the more popular bands, yet surreal having people singing along to their songs. His favorite part of a show is seeing “so many different kinds of people and so many friends; it’s awesome.” Cale can attest to the atmosphere of the local scene being positive with no judgement.
“In any kind of scene you go into, whether it’s music, school or some kind of group, you’re expecting lots of judgement [but in reality the local scene] is very accepting,” Jesse Kiesling, bassist of We Live Like Thieves, said. “Everyone is cool with everyone, there’s not a lot of beef and so it’s a really cool atmosphere, you know, you can express yourself in any way and everyone is cool with it and no one is going to talk bad about it,” Cale said.
It’s a very ‘all ages’ scene, where many people who may not normally hang out with each other can say hi and enjoy themselves. “Whenever you’re at shows, a lot of the time you’re angry about the same things in life or you’re depressed or you’re anxious. You wanna get that aggression out, you wanna get whatever emotion out and this is a healthy place, this is a good environment to do it,” Knighton said. He describes the atmosphere as “passionate and super cool.”
Rachel Stanaway, Freshman Child and Family Services major from from Pueblo, Colo., described the show as “very accepting in the way that they included the entire audience.” The bands did a good job of getting the audience to participate, as vocalists would allow fans to sing and scream into the microphones with them. Dancing and crowdsurfing was heavily encouraged and some fans even made their way onstage.
“We’re really thankful to Vincent and everyone that contributed to making this a thing,” Kiesling said, “it means the world to us. We can’t wait for it to go on and do it next year or how ever many years to come.”