Words and photos by Joe Calixto
It’s that time of the year again, when the people from all over the country or even the world gather one more time before the year ends to celebrate giving back to the community, to celebrate friendship, to celebrate the scene that brings us all together, to celebrate California hardcore.
I’ve covered this fest for the last four years already, and this event just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
SOS booking has been serving southern California with the best shows and festivals for god knows how long, and each year they end it with For The Children. I’m sure I’ve explained what this is already, so I’m gonna cut to the chase.
This year, the festival stayed in Long Beach, but moved to a different venue, a fifth-floor gallery space called the Ice House, and I’m gonna be real with you, minus the stairs, this has got to be one of my favorite venues this fest has been held in the last five years.
The two-day event had quite the lineup this year. Day one brought us a fat stack of California heavy hitters from Terror, Culture Abuse, Donnybrook, Make Move, Retaliate, Section H8, Human Garbage and the wildcard, Idaho’s very own Ingrown.
A list like that, and you already know it’s a banging time!
Day two didn’t disappoint with some of the best newer bands California hardcore has to offer. Bands like Vamachara, the 805’s very own Slowbleed and Initiate, the bay area’s Hands of God and Gulch, Long Beach’s own Dez Yusuf, and more took the stage. Boston Pop Punk kings A Loss For Words graced California with a rare performance.
Right before the headliners, Minnesota metalcore legends Disembodied set the venue ablaze. Even with the technical difficulties, the band just dropped song after song as bodies were flying and arms were swinging; it was an actual war zone during their set. Got a few battle scars from that, and it was totally worth it.
The Story So Far was set to close the fest, and as the crowd packed in, they dropped all the hits in a very nostalgic and intimate performance. I haven’t seen TSSF play like that since the Cobalt Cafe days, and it was a beautiful sight. It’s good to see a band as big as they are going back to their roots. Oh, and NO MIC STAND!
Every year, I’m reminded that there is more to hardcore than meets the eye. There’s more to this scene than what people perceive it to be, and, as always I’m reminded that California hardcore is for-fucking-ever.
Apparently, they collected about $45,000 worth of toys. That’s tight as fuck!
Shoutout to SOS Booking, Overcast printing, and to Local Hearts Foundation.