Official press release:
Platinum selling emo legends, Hawthorne Heights, are ecstatic to announce and present the brand new, Is For Lovers Festival, a multi-city experience set to make three stops in summer 2022 – Wichita, KS (August 27), Denver, CO (August 28) and Cincinnati, OH (September 10) – which features lineups carefully curated by the band themselves. Hawthorne Heights front man JT Woodruff says:
“Every single band playing is one we either grew up loving, have played alongside or simply enjoy hanging out with. We wanted the line up to be diverse, inclusive, and created with a simple goal: LOVE AND COMMUNITY. We wanted the bands to feel loved, the fans to feel loved, and people of all walks of life to be represented and welcome.”
The festival’s first date, Kansas Is For Lovers, takes over Wichita’s The Wave with headlining sets from The Wonder Years and Thursday and performances from Hawthorne Heights, Laura Jane Grace, Hot Mulligan, Real Friends, Emery, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, The OBGMs and Thick – along with an indoor stage featuring a variety of local acts. Woodruff remembers:
“Wichita is the first-place Hawthorne Heights ever got played on the radio. The local radio station taking a chance on ‘Ohio Is For Lovers’ opened the door for emo to be on the radio. Our shows in Wichita are always incredible, and we’re really excited to bring some of these bands there for the very first time ever.”
The next day, Colorado Is For Lovers hits Denver’s Levitt Pavilion with The Wonder Years, Thursday, Hawthorne Heights, Story of the Year, Hot Mulligan, Emery, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, My Body Sings Electric, The OBGMs and Thick. The festival run culminates with – what else? – Ohio Is For Lovers, split across three stages at Cincinnati’s Riverbend Music Center with a headlining set from punk legends Descendents along with performances from Bayside, The Wonder Years, Hawthorne Heights, Senses Fail, Story of the Year, Emery, Knuckle Puck, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Crimson Apple, Bad Luck and Mint Green. (A second wave of Ohio Is For Lovers acts is forthcoming.) Woodruff offered:
“Our favorite memories from being in this band all take place at some sort of outdoor festival. We’ve been fortunate to play a lot of the big ones like Warped Tour, Reading and Leeds, Summer Sonic, SummerFest, And Rock on the Range to name a few, so we wanted to try to create that magic from our point of view.”
With a focus on elevating women, artists of color, and LGBTQ musicians across the lineup, all three Is For Lovers Festival dates will emphasize Hawthorne Heights’ commitment to inclusivity and optimism that’s powered their career since first breaking onto the scene with the landmark 2004 album The Silence In Black And White and iconic songs “Ohio Is For Lovers”, “Saying Sorry”, and “Niki FM”. In a tribute to their dear friends who’ve since passed away, the festival’s stages will be named after Hawthorne Heights guitarist Casey Calvert and Bayside drummer John “Beatz” Holohan.
Pre-sale tickets for each date will go on sale Tuesday, May 24 and Wednesday, May 25. General on sale tickets will be available on Thursday, May 26 with VIP packages available.
Is For Lovers Festival will extend beyond just the bands on stage. The “Dunk a Punk” dunk tank will give fans the chance to step up and soak their musical heroes, with proceeds going to charity partners, while a local brewery in each city will produce a special festival beer for audiences to enjoy. Greenhaus Coffee, owned by Woodruff and his wife, Niki, will even be serving up coffee at Ohio Is For Lovers, in addition to partnering with a local roaster for exclusive blends and beverages in Kansas and Colorado.
Retro Kings Island-style souvenir stands will offer merchandise a cut above most festivals’ standard offerings, and Woodruff and co. will even be hand-printing their own shirts on demand at Ohio Is For Lovers. Those opting for VIP packages at any of the three shows will enjoy amenities including premier parking (where available), access to private bathrooms and air conditioning, and a personal guided tour of the grounds and festival overview from Hawthorne Heights with early entry.
It’s these personal touches that mirror the communal, fan-first mentality Hawthorne Heights have espoused for decades – all in service of shattering the barrier between artist and audience and celebrating the music and memories that have made the punk and emo scenes such a lasting force for millions around the world.