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Punk rocks on: Four Chord 10 defies rain on Day 2 of Pittsburgh festival

Dark clouds might've gloomed over the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but the energy at Carrie Furnace was nonetheless vibrant as punk rockers in the East Coast gathered to celebrate the final day of a decade of Four Chord Music Festival. Just when we thought nothing could beat Day 1, Day 2 reaffirmed Four Chord Music Festival as, hands down, one of the best pop-punk-rock events of the summer that, not only caters to the fans, but has fed the local Pennsylvania music scene for 10 consecutive years. With 2024 predicted to be the event's biggest curation to date, Four Chord Music Fest won't be disappearing anytime soon, so if you missed out this year, take my word for it that you will not want to skip out on Four Chord 11 in 2025.

Four Chord 10 Music Festival

After ride sharing the night before to avoid a $50 Uber back to the heart of Pittsburgh, I bit the bullet of the impending traffic and uncertainty of parking, instead driving my own car to the historic steelworks. Much to my surprise, despite showing up 30 or so minutes after doors had opened, there was more than enough parking on the festival site and I was able to pull into a space right by the parking lot exit, making my departure later in the evening seamless and uncomplicated. As I gathered my belongings from the car, other's around me popped open tents, set out lawn chairs, dragged their coolers behind them, and began the festivities in the parking lot with tailgates from one end of the lawn to the other. I participated in a round of cornhole with the car next to me and lost a water gun fight with the vehicle down the line from mine before stepping into the festival for another phenomenal day of non-stop music and new friends.

With about half an hour to waste before the Day 2 performances began, I took some time to explore the vendors I had missed out on during Day 1. I had walked past Lost Dog Tattoo's booth multiple times during the first day, but the line was extraordinarily long to book an appointment, so, I hadn't had the opportunity to chat with the those operating the booth. By the time Day 2 hit, every single time slot offered was filled before the event had even started. There were three stellar artists inking fans all day long for affordable prices starting at $60 and peaking at only $100 for full color. The brand offered a wide variety of flash designs to choose from and the artists worked quickly yet meticulously, allowing hundreds to leave with a tangible memory of Four Chord. The brand is based out of Butler, Pennsylvania, an hour shy of Pittsburgh, thus their presence at the event re-established Four Chord's efforts to feed the local Pennsylvania scene through music and art. Lost Dog Tattoo has had multiple appearances at Four Chord throughout the years, if you're planning on attending next year, make sure to check out the booth early the first day to book an appointment!

The festival was littered with numerous clothing brands for those who find merch tacky and rather rock alternative fashion trends instead. Despite most of these brands not being based out of the local area, there was something offered for every age group, including babies and toddlers. Sparrow Sleeps captured our attention with their moto "MAKE NAPTIME ROCK HARDER," promoting band merch sized for young punk rockers. Inspired by the lack of band merch for kids, the brand started by making clothes for their own child and grew to being an established company after other's would ask where they could purchase the line for their kids. There weren't many kids in attendance, speaking with attendees most confessed to leaving their kids home so they could head bang and mosh like it was still the 2000s, however, many attendees mentioned this booth was one of their favorites simply because of how adorable the miniature merch was.

After consuming three meals on the festival grounds the first day, I realized there wasn't much for me to choose from on the second, however, each vendor's menus were specially crafted to keep the mosh pits fueled and the options were phenomenal. For those who opted to pay extra for VIP seating, the exclusive viewing sections offered breakfast to attendees in the form of croissants and donuts supplied by Peace Love & Little Donuts, a Pittsburgh-based bakery with locations spanning across America, including storefronts in Ohio, Michigan, and Florida, plus more. There were multiple vegan options though there didn't appear to be many gluten-free choices, for those with allergies I would recommend bringing your own snacks or pre-packed meals. Brisketburg and Wok on the Wild Side were clear fan favorites by the end of the weekend, and rightfully so, I was licking my fingers savoring every bite.

The performances kicked off with a series of energetic sets from up-and-coming bands, setting the stage for the heavyweight legends prepared to end the night. Local favorites, including Old Neon (a native Pittsburgh wonder), Don't Panic (Stroudsburg, PA, sensation), and Goalkeeper (Philadelphia patriots), warmed up with their raw and unfiltered sound, proving that the Pennsylvania music scene is very much alive and kicking. By the time the clouds started to weep, the festival grounds were buzzing with palpable excitement.

As the day progressed and the rain persisted with spurs of lightening and thunder, the momentum only continued to build with standout performances from House Parties, Taylor Acorn, and Motion City Soundtrack. House Parties delivered a set full of infectious pop-punk anthems that had the crowd dancing from start to finish and falling in love with the female-fronted pop punk ensemble all over again. As someone who has witnessed House Parties perform three separate times now, I can confirm from firsthand experience that this band is rising to the top, and quickly. Every performance the group just gets better and better, their musicianship getting tighter and their charismatic stage presence becoming more refined. Their cover of Demi Lovato's "Heart Attack" had the entire crowd awe-struck by Chaney Elaine's impressive vocal range and unseizing energy.

Taylor Acorn has become a wonder of the female-led pop-punk scene and her performance at Four Chord 10 was highly-anticipated by many in attendance who swarmed Monster Energy stage to get as close as possible, many screaming their voices hoarse in an effort to confess their sincere love for her. Her set was a dynamic blend of her signature pop-punk and country influences, showcasing her versatility as an artist. Acorn's powerful vocals and emotive delivery resonated deeply with the audience, particularly during fan-favorite tracks like "I Think I'm In Love" and "Psycho." Her lively stage presence, transcending vocals, and genuine connection with the crowd underscored why she's rapidly becoming a standout in the music scene. For those who opted for VIP tickets, Acorn additionally performed a very special acoustic set in the VIP tent, connecting with die-hard punkers on an even more personal level.

Motion City Soundtrack set the tone for the final two acts of the night, bringing their heartfelt, nostalgic lyrics and dynamic sound to life. Their performance was slightly delayed due to the downpouring rain, however, when they finally took the stage, a rainbow greeted them, offering the most serene and fitting backdrop to their feel-good music. Saving the best for last, their set ended with a song we are all practically born knowing the lyrics of word-for-word. "Everything Is Alright" rejuvenated the drenched crowd who hadn't let the rain dampen their adrenaline rush nor their excitement, every single person was shouting along to the words and bouncing with the beat, proving the timelessness of their music.

As the evening approached, the festival atmosphere reached its peak. Something Corporate took the stage to a roaring crowd, delivering a set that was both wistful and invigorating. Their blend of introspective lyrics and technically-advanced instrumentals made for a memorable performance, leaving the crowd awe-ridden song after song. Their performance was a journey through their extensive discography, touching on fan favorites and deep cuts alike. The crowed erupted during hits like "Punk Rock Princess" and "Woke Up In A Car," confessing to the band's lasting impact on the scene.

The night culminated with a headlining performance by The All-American Rejects, whose explosive energy and powerful presence closed out Day 2 with a bang. Their set was a masterclass in timeless punk rock, blending memorable riffs with melodic hooks. The crowd's energy was infectious, with everyone from the front row to the back singing along to anthems like "Swing Swing" and "Gives You Hell." As much as the band has a polished sound and engaging presence on stage, fans were admittedly disappointed in lead singer Tyson Ritter's arrogance. After photographing some songs from the crowd, I headed back to the elevated VIP platform to snag some crowd shots where I saw a mother and her daughter fuming as they were storming out of the event. When I asked if everything was alright, they confided in me with how much they had saved for VIP passes. Weeks of putting aside paychecks and saving up for a trip to Pittsburgh to see The All-American Rejects, one of their all-time favorite bands, just for Ritter to refer to those in VIP, disrespectfully, as "yuppies," a phrase he kept repeating as if it was a joke. It is a blatant reminder to be appreciative of those who support you and your dreams. At the end of the day, these artists wouldn't be where they are without fans buying tickets, coming to shows, and leaving with merch; So please remember, no matter how much fame you accumulate or how much time you've put in, to always appreciate those who have made your dreams become a sustainable reality. Thank you to all the fans who continue to keep this scene alive, music wouldn't be nearly as special without all of you.

Day 2 of Four Chord 10 was a testament to the enduring power of punk and emo music. The festival not only showcased established acts but also provided a platform for emerging talent, creating a diverse and dynamic lineup. The sense of community among fans was remarkable, with everyone united by their love of music and the shared experience of the spectacular festival.

As the final notes rang out and the crowd dispersed into the night, it was clear that Four Chord 10 had once again delivered an unforgettable experience. Day 2 was a celebration of music, unity, and the unyielding spirit of the punk rock community. Fans will undoubtedly be counting down the days until next year's festival, eager to relive the magic once more.

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