The Used, Pierce the Veil, Sleeping With Sirens & Thursday to Headline 2023 So What?! Festival
Dallas’ renowned So What?! Music Festival is returning for its 15th edition with newly-announced headliners The Used, Pierce The Veil, Sleeping With Sirens and Thursday, who will perform their acclaimed War All The Time album. The event — now managed under a partnership between Third String Entertainment and Disco Donnie Presents — will be held June 24-25 at Dallas’ Fair Park.
Other highlights at this year’s festival include Breathe Carolina, which will perform a rare throwback live set, as well as reunion sets from Maylene & The Sons of Disaster; Woe, Is Me; The Color Morale; Millionaire$; Head Automatica; and Dallas’ own Forever The Sickest Kids.
The latest iteration will also feature some of today’s most in-demand hip-hop artists (both mainstream and underground), including Oliver Francis; the highly anticipated reunion of emo-rap collective GothBoiClique; screamo/hip-hop project Jasiah; and Freddie Dredd.
With a reputation for being the first to introduce the festival world to future stars like G-Eazy, this year’s So What?! is also spotlighting a number of rising artists and internet sensations, including Phonk rapper Sxmpra, hyperpop artist WHOKILLEDXIX, punk-inspired rapper Nascar Aloe and San Francisco hip-hop artist Haarper.
This year’s So What?! festival is the first to be managed under Disco Punk, a partnership struck in January between Third String Entertainment promoters Mike Ziemer and Orlando Mendoza and James “Donnie” Estopinal‘s leading independent electronic promoter outfit Disco Donnie Presents.
Since its founding in 1994, Disco Donnie Presents has primarily focused on the electronic music scene, producing over 18,000 shows and selling over 18 million tickets in over 100 different cities since its inception, as well as over 300 club shows and events in Texas alone. Speaking with Billboard, Ziemer says the Third String team highly values the wealth of experience brought by Estopinal, who has long served as a mentor to promoters.
“I see a lot of myself in Donnie,” says Ziemer. “We think the same way, but he has been through all the possible good and bad scenarios and knows how to navigate the festival landscape in a way where we can actually scale up and grow our festivals properly. We are both learning a lot from each other in this partnership so far and it feels very natural. He actually gives a s— about what he’s doing, who he’s working with, and how things are done.”
Estopinal says he has “kept an eye on” Third String Entertainment “for a long time,” adding, “It’s amazing what they’ve accomplished so far. We’ve always talked about working together and saw this year as the perfect opportunity. I see a lot of myself in Mike and Orlando…I also think they can teach us a lot.”
Ziemer says this year’s festival will feel more focused than the 2022 edition. In 2023, So What?! will feature fewer than 100 acts — roughly three times fewer than last year — and span three stages versus last year’s seven. “We kind of went nuts last year because COVID had us taking a few years off from the festival and we sort of felt compelled to make up for lost time by trying to go as big as possible,” he says. “In the end, we hurt our event because of short sets, too many scheduling conflicts, too many stages, etc. This year we are back to our core of what makes the festival special to our fans. We always did three stages…and people loved the easy ability to rotate between the three and catch as many acts as possible.”
When it first launched in 2008, So What?! featured a blend of pop-punk, rock and metal artists. It has since grown to encompass more genres and become Texas’ fastest-growing festival of its kind, with past headliners including Simple Plan, Trippie Redd, 100 Gecs, Rae Sremmurd and Underoath.
For more information on this year’s So What?! festival, including ticket prices, payment plan options and more, visit SoWhatMusicFestival.com.