Phoenix Band The Maine Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary With 8123 Fest | Phoenix New Times

The Maine Celebrates Arizona Pride and 15 Years as a Band With 8123 Fest

And there are plenty of things to do besides just the concert.
The Maine is celebrating both its 15th anniversary and the return of its 8123 Fest.
The Maine is celebrating both its 15th anniversary and the return of its 8123 Fest. The Maine

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When they started 15 years ago, Valley pop punk band The Maine didn’t know if they’d ever get to do shows outside of Arizona.

After eight studio albums and years of touring with bands like Taking Back Sunday, Mayday Parade, and Augustana, The Maine’s lead guitarist, Jared Monaco, says he always appreciates the “blissful ignorance” of when they were just getting started in 2007.

“Going back to what things were like before we knew what we could do with this band, I think those kinds of memories to me are the most important ones,” he says. “Because that's kind of the most innocent relation that you have with music — it was right at the very beginning.”

To celebrate their 15th anniversary, The Maine is bringing pop-punk into their backyard, taking over downtown Phoenix to celebrate their fans, collaborators, and music.

8123 Fest will be held on Saturday, January 22, at Margaret T. Hance Park in downtown Phoenix, and will be one of Phoenix’s largest music festivals this year, with the lineup featuring 18 artists spread across two stages. The Maine focused on choosing artists that have had a big impact on their years together as a group.

Performers for the festival include State Champs, The Summer Set, 3OH!3, Tessa Violet, and This Wild Life. Beyond music, the weekend will also offer a curated bar, tattoo parlor, and an 8123 pop-up shop.

The festival is named after The Maine’s “8123” brand, a set of numbers that has taken on sentimental value for the group’s most loyal fans. The 8123 moniker comes from a parking garage in Tempe where the band spent plenty of nights as teenagers before The Maine’s inception.

“If you were to go there, you'd be like, 'Really, this is it?'” Monaco jokes.

The 8123 Fest started as a planned biannual tradition in 2017, when the band celebrated their 10th anniversary. Originally, Monaco says starting the festival was all about showing off their pride in Arizona.

“We toured for so long and had gone to so many other places, but there was always a special feeling about coming home and doing a home show,” he says. “And over the years, we really kind of wanted to embrace the idea of 8123 and kind of hammer home where we're from.”

The primary festival date is Saturday, January 22, but The Maine is hosting events as early as Thursday, January 20. Beach Weather performs at Rebel Lounge on Thursday night, while Friday night’s festivities include a 10 p.m. “Make America Emo Again” afterparty at The Van Buren and a curated pop-up bar with drinks inspired by The Maine.

“There's something to do every second of every day,” Monaco says. “We have stuff going on on Thursday all the way through the weekend.”

The biggest event Friday night is a concert at Arizona Federal Theatre headlined by The Maine, where the band will be focused on playing songs from their newest album, XOXO: Anxiety and Love in Real Time. Openers include The Technicolors and Breakup Shoes, the latter of which will be performing at the main festival on Saturday, too.

Monaco said the band is grateful to have two nights to perform, first at Arizona Federal Theatre on Friday and then again as headliners at the main festival on Saturday.

“It gives us the opportunity to pull from anything in our catalog,” he says. “At this point, eight records into it, it's really hard to craft just one setlist, so being able to do two opened up a lot of options for us. I think everybody's really gonna have a great time and be able to hear what they came for.”

The weekend caps off with an “8123 Impact Day” service opportunity on Monday, supporting Tempe’s Welcome To America Project, a non-profit that helps direct resources to refugees.

It’s been three years since The Maine has been able to host 8123 Fest, and when they hit the stage on Friday and Saturday, Monaco said he expects them to be able to reflect on the 15 years the band has spent together.

“There’s certain days where I feel like it went by in a blink, and there's certain days where I'm like, oh, yeah, we have been doing this for a while,” Monaco says. “Once you get set up and start running the songs, it's kind of like muscle memory kicks in… But then also there's that feeling of everything feeling so new again.”
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