ARLINGTON, Texas (KDAF) — Within three days, some of the biggest names in music rolled through Arlington for the So What music festival?! Artists like 3OH!3 and Travie McCoy to local artists like Penny Bored getting to perform here too.

“That was the idea behind this year too was bringing together rock, punk, metal, hip hop, all these different genres,” So What?! Founder Mike Ziemer said.

So What?! Music Festival has been a local favorite for over a decade. 2022 was the first year it was held at Choctaw Stadium – signaling a huge jump in growth.

Which has lent stages to artists whose genres don’t check just one box – much like Travie McCoy.

Travie McCoy commanding a presence at So What?! 2022.

“I grew up on so many kinds of music so sticking to one genre would be blasphemous to my father and my mother,” McCoy said.

Not sticking to a single genre has created a space for all.

“We saw all the metal bands but then we got pulled into Trippie Redd and the rap vibe – it’s been really nice,” one festival-goer enthusiastically said.

When we say So What?! brings in a variety of performers, we mean a variety. That includes early 2000s favorite groups like 3OH!3 to the nostalgic new millennium feels of Simple Plan.

“Now, we’ve been part of the scene of the early 2000s like Good Charlotte, Sum41, Simple Plan, New Found Glory – I love that sound,” Pierre Bouvier of Simple Plan said. “The fans who love that sound expect that from us. So we try to stay in that lane while trying to expand out a bit every time.”

The gentlemen of Simple Plan were kind enough to stop and take a photo with us!

“The festival has also spotlighted local bands on the rise like Penny Bored, who’ve drawn inspiration from both local and headlining artists,” Ryan Sword, singer and songwriter of Penny Bored said. “I think in a bunch of different areas, there are local bands you can take inspiration from. Everybody gets like local inspiration and influence”

Performing at So What?! with bigger name artists offers those up-and-comers more inspiration and opportunity. 

“There’s a lot of kids here I’ve been working with – Wes Period who performed,” Travie McCoy said. “That’s like my little brother. Lil Aaron, No Love, Mod Sun’s my brother. A lot of people performing here who you’ll probably hear collaborations with me in the future. It’s a new energy – I love it.”

For 3OH!3, performing at a festival like so what gives them a chance to show off their newer, different songs.

“I think when you get to this point and you’ve been releasing stuff, things go in circles – kind of touch back on the early stuff you did but then also have learned a lot so you push it forward,” Sean Foreman said. “Sometimes I look at the newer songs that we’ve done and I say, we’ve never done anything like that.” 

While Simple Plan gets a chance to connect with their longtime fans.

“Someone recently asked me about the Simple Plan legacy,” Sébastien Lefebvre of Simple Plan said. “On a daily basis, we get on stage, have a good time, make lunches and step on LEGOs. We’re very normal people. Every once in a while someone tells you that the music helped them through a tough time, or literally saved their lives. For someone to tell you that means everything – truly.”

For Travie, performing at so what was just another opportunity to live out his dream.

The crowd sings the mid-2000s hit “Billionaire” back to him.

“Especially walking around this festival – everybody is doing everything,” McCoy said. “That’s something I feel like it was a mission for Gym Class Heroes so to see this happening is dope.” 

For the local kids of Penny Bored, this was their opportunity to do the same.

“I started crying at the end of our set because it was a really big milestone for us,” Faith Sword, lead singer of Penny Bored said. “We’ve only been a band for a little over a year – this is my first band ever. So it was great – it was really nice hearing everybody sing our songs back to us. And seeing people who haven’t heard of us before coming over and checking us out – it was really nice.”

More coverage on So What?! and how the local favorite festival has grown in it’s over 10 years in the area will be coming soon on!