Emo has had trouble shedding the reputation that’s dogged it since it became a big deal in the early 2000s—plenty of people still think of it as music by and for teenage boys upset about girls. That was never a fair description, and it’s even less so now; the genre continues to broaden and evolve as it approaches its 30th year. Riot Fest’s lineup contains a sort of emo family tree in miniature, including several generations of bands and even more subgenres, plus some important outliers (sorry, Weezer ain’t emo). The biggest contingent comes from the currently surging fourth wave—I’ve seen it referred to as “the so-called emo revival genre” (seriously), but I’m sure you know better.
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