June 14, 2023 by Tim Markel
Prepare to be part of history as the Is for Lovers Fest arrives in California, making its highly-anticipated debut in the vibrant heart of Orange County at the beautiful Oak Canyon Park. Mark your calendars for August 26th, as this festival promises an exceptional lineup of incredible bands that are bound to satisfy most musical tastes.
The SoCal event is part of a series of eight festivals curated by Hawthorne Heights this summer. Headlining the festival is the legendary Alkaline Trio.
Known for their dark and introspective lyrics, catchy melodies, and distinctive vocal harmonies, the trio blends elements of punk, alternative rock, and pop-punk to create some of the most raw, emotionally charged music in the scene.

Though the band performed in Orange County as recently as eight months ago, the band’s cult following will undoubtedly converge in droves for this festival. It should be mentioned that it was announced last week that drummer Derek Grant will be stepping away from the band, however I suspect they will have a fill-in for the show, if not a full-time replacement.

The main support on California Is for Lovers show is none other than screamo veterans Sleeping With Sirens.

From their signature post-hardcore sound to their daring exploration of pop and alternative rock elements, Sleeping with Sirens fearlessly pushes the boundaries of their craft, as they continue to make an indelible mark on the music scene. Their electrifying live performances are an outpouring of passion and intensity, captivating audiences and leaving us craving more.
As I first perused the list of bands on California Is for Lovers Festival, it became increasingly reminiscent of the esteemed lineups from some of my cherished Warped Tour memories, evoking a much-welcomed sense of nostalgia. New York’s Bayside is next on the bill and I couldn’t be more thrilled to see them again.

Led by the charismatic and soulful voice of Anthony Raneri, Bayside’s music traverses the realms of punk, emo, and pop-punk, delivering a unique and evocative sound that resonates deeply with their loyal fan base.
Continuing the ridiculous lineup, we have the New Jersey emo/punk/indie legends, Thursday. The band’s intermittent presence as of late leaves me urging you to do everything in your power to see Thursday at this show, perhaps while the opportunity is still there. I would tell you to dust off those CD booklets and freshen up on their older, timeless lyrics but if you’re anything like me, most of Thursday’s discography never found its way out of our day-to-day playlists.
Up next is Orange County’s own, Atryeu. Yet another band I have an absolute fondness for and discovered very early into their career. Atreyu is one of the last great remaining metal bands and I find myself lucky to get another chance to see a band I admittedly haven’t seen live in many years.

Touché Amore, the passionate post-hardcore outfit hailing from Los Angeles, is up next on the bill, followed by Hawthorne Heights, the influential rockers from Ohio. A song of which, the festival was named after.

Rounding up the lineup is Emery, Red Jump Suit Apparatus, Diva Bleach, Winterhaven, and more to be announced. Sure to bring it home is Hawthorne Heights!

Get your tickets while you still can!




Header Photo by Courtney Kiara

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