Emo Nite organizers reflect on genre’s sudden resurgence: “We told you it was cool!”

Courtesy of Emo Nite/Pollen

Before My Chemical Romance announced their reunion and before Machine Gun Kelly switched to pop punk, two Los Angeles residents started Emo Nite.

Created in 2014 by T.J. Petracca and Morgan Freed, Emo Nite began as a simple DJ set at a bar allowing two grown-up emo kids to play the music they loved, back when it wasn’t “cool.” Eight years later, Emo Nite has grown into a touring event that also makes appearances at big festivals, including Coachella, all while artists like MGK and Travis Barker, Avril Lavigne, Yungblud and WILLOW are bringing the scene back into the mainstream.

Being inside their emo bubble for so long, it wasn’t until recently that Petracca and Freed realized how big their genre had gotten.

“Like, maybe a couple months ago, I was, like, ‘Holy s***, this is something!'” Freed says. “It’s not just, like, us and our community anymore.”

Bringing Emo Nite to Coachella, Petracca feels, was also a big step.

“That’s just traditionally not been a space where our genre was allowed,” he says. “It was for all the cool indie bands, for all the cool EDM bands, but never emo and pop punk.”

However, the resurgence of emo and pop punk didn’t really hit Petracca until the When We Were Young festival was announced, which set social media on fire with its lineup headlined by MCR and Paramore.

“We’ve been trying to, like, make it cool and accepted and fun and respected,” Petracca says. “It feels good to be, like, ‘We f***ing told you guys! We told you it was cool!'” 

Emo Nite is touring throughout the summer. It’ll hold its New Orleans Vacation event, headlined by Bring Me the Horizon, September 29 to October 2.

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