Summer Ends Music Festival 2014: A Field Guide

A throng of local music fans gather at Tempe Beach Park in 2010.
A throng of local music fans gather at Tempe Beach Park in 2010.
Victor Palagano

Yup, it's almost here, and we know y'all have been waiting for it tirelessly, throughout the long, hot, and brutal months. Now, it's only mere days away.

So are we talking about to the end of summer? Well, yeah, that too (since temperatures will start to decrease later this week) but we're mainly referring to this weekend's Summer Ends Music Festival at Tempe Beach Park.

The three-day outdoor concert festival -- which runs from Friday, September 26, to Sunday, September 28 -- is sort of a big deal, especially since it offers the chance to see one of the more groundbreaking groups in rock history performing their first Valley gig in many decades: The Replacements. The seminal band, revived by founding members Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson in 2012, influenced the likes of Nirvana, Wilco, Green Day, Against Me!, and helluva lot of others, will headline one of three nights comprising Summers End Music Festival in Tempe.

The fact that you can catch Stinson and Westerberg, who the AV Club aptly dubbed as "one of the greatest songwriters of his generation," performing such unforgettable Replacements tracks as "Unsatisfied" and "I Will Dare" live will arguably be one of the major highlights of Summers End, but it won't be the only one.

Upcoming Events

The festival lineup is replete with a slew of fantastic and influential bands of the alternative, Americana, pop, indie, bluesy, and rock 'n' roll variety, and that's just the local stage, which is loaded up with such homegrown favorites as The Senators, Bogan Via, Playboy Manbaby, Luna Aura, SunDressed, and many others.

The main stage, however, is pretty loaded for bear as well. Besides The Replacements, who perform on Saturday, September 27, the festival will feature indie pop duo Capital Cities, heartland rockers American Authors, classical crossover wunderkind Lindsey Sterling, Something Corporate/Jack's Mannequin vocalist Andrew McMahon, SoCal punk icons Descendants, post-hardcore heroes Taking Back Sunday, synthpop indie act Kitten, and soul singer Allen Stone.

Allen Stone is scheduled to perform at Summer Ends Music Festival on Sunday, September 28.
Allen Stone is scheduled to perform at Summer Ends Music Festival on Sunday, September 28.
Courtesy photo

Alt-rock veterans Violent Femmes and Luscious Jackson, neo-soul greats Fitz and the Tantrums, and local breakouts KONGOS and The Maine round out the schedule.

Given the enormity of the three-day festival and its lineup, it might help to prepare yourself a bit in order to make the most of things. And we're here to help. What follows is a user's guide to Summer Ends Music Festival that contains everything you need to know, from where to go, how best to get there, and when to check out your favorite bands, as well as some other do's and don'ts.

Time/Place: Friday, September 26, 3:30 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, September 27, and Sunday, September 28, 12:30 p.m. to midnight, at Tempe Beach Park, 54 West Rio Salado Parkway.

UPDATE: Due to Saturday's massive thunderstorm, the festival has been moved to Marquee Theatre. See below for updated schedules for Saturday and Sunday.

Prices: Single-day general admission tickets are $65 while three-day passes are available for $150.

Age Limits: The event is all ages, but the website states that its isn't recommended for those 12 and under due to the noise levels, crowds, and possibly the lyrical content.

Getting There: Light rail is the most convenient option as the Mill Avenue and Third Street light rail station is only a block from Tempe Beach Park. If you have to drive, however, there will be multiple pay parking lots within walking distance. There will also be various pedicabs that can get you straight to the festival's front door. They work on tips only, however, and (depending on the distance) a five or ten spot per person should be sufficient.

KONGOS are scheduled to perform at Summer Ends Music Festival on Sunday, September 28.
KONGOS are scheduled to perform at Summer Ends Music Festival on Sunday, September 28.
Courtesy photo

Weather: Friday will offer partly cloudy skies and temps around 99 degrees. Saturday and Sunday, however, will be a bit cooler (anywhere from the high 80s to low 90s) with a chance of some rain. In other words, consider bringing a poncho as well as sunscreen. Enormous misting fans will also be scattered throughout the park to help keep you chilly during the warmer periods.

Water: Since it's going to be warm, you'll want to stay hydrated. Attendees are permitted to bring two one-liter bottles per person into the festival and free water stations will be available on east and west end of the amphitheatre. Your CamelBak is also allowed, provided its empty upon entry. And, of course, water will also be sold via many of the vendors at the event. Speaking of which...

Food and Drink: ...they'll have more than just H2O. The Summer Ends website says that a "wide variety" of local food vendors will offer vegetarian and non-vegetarian comestibles, while beverages for sale will include sodas, energy drinks, and (of course) beer and cocktails. If you're down to pre-game, however, or want a nightcap, there are Mill Avenue's wealth of bars, clubs, taverns, restaurants, and drink dispensaries.

What to Bring: Consider pocketing some cash before heading to the park, as you won't have to fumble around with plastic to get said food and drink. (ATMs will also be on site.)

And if you need a smoke to go along with your beer or booze, those are allowed too, as are e-cigs or vaping devices (although you should fill it up before leaving home, since bottles of e-juice/e-fluids aren't permitted). Since it's an outdoor event, stuff like hats, sunglasses, personal misters, and sunblock are all good to go. Ditto for small backpacks or handheld digital camera.

What Not to Bring: The usual stuff is off limits at the festival, including narcotics, laser devices, cans and bottles, large bags, squirt guns, coolers, chairs, tents, and blankets. You'll also have to park your bike outside of the park (or wait for Tour De Fat in a couple of weeks) and leave your pets, skateboards, baby strollers at home.

Also, musical instruments -- other than those being used by the cats onstage -- are also verboten.

What to Do: Watch bands and rock out, of course. But if you're looking for something in between all the bands, there will also be an exhibition of local artists. As for who's performing at Summer Ends Music Festival...  

Capital Cities is scheduled to perform on Friday, September 26, at Summer Ends Music Festival.
Capital Cities is scheduled to perform on Friday, September 26, at Summer Ends Music Festival.
Capitol Records

Lineup and Schedules:

Here's the complete rundown of who's scheduled to perform on both the festival's main stage locals only stage during all three days.

Friday, September 26:

Main Stage:

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (4:30-5:35 p.m.)

O.A.R. (6:00-7:15 p.m.)

Lindsey Stirling (7:40-8:55 p.m.)

American Authors (9:20-10:20 p.m.)

Capital Cities (10:45-11:55 p.m.)

The Senators are scheduled to perform at Summer Ends Music Festival on Friday, September 26.
The Senators are scheduled to perform at Summer Ends Music Festival on Friday, September 26.
Meggie Burr

KWSS Local Stage:

Carol Pacey and the Honeyshakers (5:35-6:00 p.m.)

Murrieta (7:15-7:40 p.m.)

Dry River Yacht Club (8:55-9:20 p.m.)

The Senators (10:20-10:45 p.m.)

Descendents are scheduled to perform at Summer Ends Music Festival on Saturday, September 27.
Descendents are scheduled to perform at Summer Ends Music Festival on Saturday, September 27.
Courtesy photo

Saturday, September 27:

UPDATE: In light of the change of venue to the Marquee, here is the revised schedule for Saturday:

The Maine: 7:25-7:50 p.m. Switchfoot: 8:05-8:35 p.m. Taking Back Sunday: 8:50-9:30 p.m. Descendents: 9:45-10:25 p.m. The Replacements: 10:55-11:40 p.m.

Fitz and the Tantrums is scheduled to perform at Summer Ends Music Festival on Sunday, September 28.
Fitz and the Tantrums is scheduled to perform at Summer Ends Music Festival on Sunday, September 28.
Courtesy photo

Sunday, September 28:

UPDATE: In light of the change of venue to the Marquee, here is the revised schedule for Sunday:

Foster The People: 8:30-10:00 p.m. Fitz & The Tantrums: 6:45-8:00 p.m. KONGOS: 5:05-6:20 p.m. Official Violent Femmes: 3:30-4:45 p.m. Allen Stone: 2:00 - 3:10 p.m. KITTEN: 1:00 - 1:45 p.m.

What to Expect:

Summer Ends Music Festival takes place from Friday, September 26, to Sunday, September 28, at Tempe Beach Park.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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Tempe Beach Park

54 W. Rio Salado Parkway
Tempe, AZ 85281

480-350-8625

www.tempe.gov/lake


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