The 10th Anniversary of So What Music Festival

Written by: Shelby Skaarer

The 10th Anniversary of So What!? kicked off with another bang. If you didn’t attend this year, then you definitely missed out on another great hoorah. And yes, I did just say hoorah. Not only was it the 10th anniversary for the festival itself, but for quite a few bands you probably grew up listening to in your middle school days such as Mayday Parade, We The Kings, and Never Shout Never, it was the anniversary for some of their greatest albums.

I just want to say a big thank you to Mike Ziemer and the team behind Third String Productions for allowing me to be an audience member, and a passive participant in this year’s production. Thank you to
all the people who take their time to help in the making of the festival between volunteers to the tech and sound guys to the security guards. It’s not an easy job, but they do everything they can to give us the best time of our lives with the best damn music we all love. I can’t wait to see what next year brings to us.


Day 1 started off where it all began, Deep Ellum which is the arts and entertainment district for Dallas. You had the opportunity to go to multiple venues to catch all sorts of big bands such as Forever The Sickest Kids, The Friday Night Boys, and Power Trip to local bands such as Unity Tx, Oh, Weatherly, and Bloodline. It was truly a night of friends, live music, and memories all in one.  


Day 2 was and is my favorite day of the 3 day weekend. I met up with two of my friends that I hadn’t seen since 2013’s Fall edition, where I actually had met them for the very first time. This is where a lot of memories from my younger days started. Forever The Sickest Kids got together just for this one day and of course, maybe other things down the line. I had the chance to catch The Friday Night Boys for the first time ever, and crazy to think I still know the words to their songs, even though I haven’t listened to them in a hot minute. But wait, that’s probably not even the best part, 3 words…. Christofer Drew Ingle. Gosh, I had such a big crush on that boy, but what girl didn’t? It was so good to finally see him perform since Warped Tour. Okay, maybe I lied, that wasn’t the best part of my whole day, it was the fact that I saw my babies in I See Stars. They’re seriously one of my top favorite bands amongst others, and being able to see them after missing them 2 to 3 times since they’ve come to Texas was amazing. I can’t forget to mention Attila, which is another great band I was looking forward to seeing that day, and they had a special guest, Tyler Levenson come out and belt out some incredible vocals. Like I said, some of these bands I started listening to in middle school, so I don’t want to forget Mayday Parade and Cute Is What We Aim for. Their performances was truly one for the books. If I could, I would want to replay this day and cherish every second and every moment I experienced, and do it all over again.


Day 3 was a little bit of a bummer for me, I ended up going alone this day. But don’t fret, I really enjoyed myself, and made the best of it. Not going to lie, I didn’t know a whole lot of the bands that were performing this day. You definitely would have caught me watching Sworn In, Dance Gavin Dance, The Story So Far, Assuming We Survive, and a couple other bands. But that same day, I had the chance to find some new bands I really enjoyed such as Capsize, Project Icarus, Set Your Goals, and so forth. I met quite a few of my Facebook and Twitter friends that I’ve never met, but have spoken to along the years, and saw a lot of familiar faces I haven’t seen in awhile as well. I will definitely say this, minus being by myself, it was a successful Day 3.


After getting a small taste of what this music event consisted of in 2013, I was hooked; that’s all I can say.  I have never been disappointed with any of the years I’ve attended. Having the opportunity to meet my favorites, or being able to discover new bands has become a part of my everyday life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Music is an important aspect in people’s lives, and a source of inspiration and expression.


So What is a break from normality of everyday life. It’s a music festival that’s a form as a necessary escape for some people. It’s composed of hours of falling deeply into the beauty of music and the musical energy of live performances. This isn’t just another music festival, but a way to join others that have the same taste in music, and creates a bond stronger than friendship; a music loving family. This festival gives smaller talented bands a platform to reach new fans. There’s always something new to find on every years lineup. Not just recycling the same artists over and over.  Together you’re able to embrace the sounds of these acts on stage, as you are amongst the crowd, you can see the intensity of that very moment in the faces of the people around you. Those people are singing their lungs out, jumping along to every beat, or simply head banging in sweet bliss to be a part of that moment. The most amazing, and most signature event at a concert is the moment when every single person sings along word for word to a song. In that moment you realize just how much a show brings people together, allows them to feel alive, and brings joy that no other event can bring. What I take away from each and every year is that no matter what happens in the rest of the world, music has the power to unite people from all races, religions, and walks of life. We’re all equals. And festivals will always give absolutely everyone a place to feel welcome. See you again So What.


“The festival started out as any festival to me. A place to escape normal life, see friends, and catch my favorite bands. Since working for it, it’s become my home and the crew is my family. I can’t give it any simple meaning or sum it up in a few words. I love this festival.”
  • JD Dunlap


“So What is like the base of my friendships. My best friends and I grew up going to this fest, and getting together every year is still as exciting as it was the first time we went together. I like that it’s probably the only time we get to see all the bands we love in one weekend without spending tons of money on separate tours.”
  • Karen Vargas


“So What?! Music Festival is just an all around positive experience in my eyes. It’s a big gathering of people celebrating their favorite artists. Definitely something to check out.”
  • Cam Browder