Rich Howells

EXCLUSIVE: Wicca Phase Springs Eternal headlines 3rd Good Things Are Happening Fest in Scranton on Aug. 10

Last month, Good Things Are Happening Fest announced the initial lineup of its third year at the historic Scranton Iron Furnaces on Saturday, Aug. 10.

Today, the outdoor music festival featuring local and touring acts is revealing its headliner exclusively on NEPA Scene – Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, the experimental emo trap solo project of Scranton’s own Adam McIlwee. This will mark the first time that the Tigers Jaw co-founder performs as Wicca Phase with a full band.

The entire roster consists of University Drive (Scranton alternative rock), Old Soul (Michigan dreamo black metal), Pucker Up! (Scranton punk rock), Caracara (Philadelphia alternative/indie rock), The Resonaters (New York City indie rock), If Kansas Had Trees (Wilkes-Barre alternative rock), Halogens (New Jersey pop punk), Love Lab (Wilkes-Barre post-punk), Those Clever Foxes (Scranton indie punk), and organizer James Barrett’s own Scranton-based indie rock band.

“I have had a good relationship with Adam for a few years now. We had his other group, Pay for Pain, play our inaugural event, and we’ve talked in the past about doing a full band WPSE set. It felt like it was finally time, so when I asked Adam and he was all for it, I was overjoyed. We always try to get someone with some ties to our area, and Adam is quite literally one of the most successful artists to come out of Scranton,” Barrett told NEPA Scene.

“A while back, I had a conversation with my friend Billy Gartrell [Worries] about how difficult it is to break through in any genre of music as an artist, and Adam has been able to do that twice in his life with his time, with Tigers Jaw and now with Wicca Phase. It goes to show what kind of support he has in the music industry, and I think he has a devoted following here in NEPA that will be extremely excited to see him perform with a full band. As always, it is super cool to have one of my heroes on this festival. [His 2019 album] ‘Suffer On’ has been one of my most listened to records since 2019, and I am stoked to hear these songs live after my set.”

Doors at the Iron Furnaces (159 Cedar Ave., Scranton) open at noon, and there will be local food and beer, visual artists, and other vendors on site. Tickets, which are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, are on sale now via Eventbrite. Sponsors and vendors can apply from now until June 17 at goodthingsfestpa.com.

“From year one to year two, we saw a lot of growth, especially on the production aspect of things. We are very grateful for Matt Kester Productions for making our event a lot more professional in year two. We also had a lot of growth in terms of local and regional awareness in regards the event, which is the goal each year. We are still a relatively new festival, with this about to be our third event in just over two years, but we are proud of the progress we’ve made so far,” Barrett noted.

The affable name of the festival, taken from a long-running segment on local news station WNEP, has also served as a manta he lives by, which has helped attract others in the community who don’t just wait around for fun events to pop up – they make them happen.

“Every year, we try to make GTAH a little better and more exciting than the year before. We hope this year, through sponsors and the local funding that we received, that we will be able to raise the bar even higher this summer. We are also extremely grateful to have Jess Meoni on board this year. I cannot say enough great things about Jess and all she does for our area through the Scranton Punk Collective and NEPA Horror Fest. Though [co-organizer] James Jaskolka and I have gotten better at running this thing since 2022, Jess feels like our saving grace this year. Aside from working with Jess, we hope to incorporate more giveaways and little events throughout the day to keep it interesting.”

Sharing his idea for a festival on social media and helping it manifest into one of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s biggest showcases for the music scene, he saw firsthand how infectious a positive attitude can be, watching it spread to a growing number of enthusiastic concertgoers in 2022 and 2023.

“I am really amazed that, after running two festivals, our feedback has been almost entirely positive. Each year, I try to talk to as many people as I can throughout the day, and it is so beautiful to see the way this festival impacts others. We do our best to cultivate a positive and welcoming environment, but it’s the people in attendance that truly make it so good. Both years I have had people tell me that it was the best day of the year for them. That alone is crazy to me! A hypothetical thought turned into a memory that a lot of people won’t ever forget. It’s really special, and I am grateful for every person that supports us,” he continued.

“If I have learned anything since 2022, it is that putting together an event at this capacity requires more work than pretty much everything else I do all year, but that is the beauty of it. I never thought I would be organizing something at this level, but after a few years of doing it, I feel like I was meant to start this festival. I want to get better at it every year and learn from my mistakes so that it can continue to grow the way I dream it will. There is so much work involved, which is why I am so grateful for James and Jess. I truly would not be able to handle it if it wasn’t for them, between fundraising, trying to secure a headliner, picking the bands, getting permits, finding vendors, marketing the event, praying for no rain – the list goes on. The morning after the event is usually the most relaxed I feel all year.”

The 26-year-old Clarks Summit native soon found that the most difficult annual decisions he would have to make involved narrowing down all the potential artists into a cohesive lineup.

“As always, I think the hardest part is choosing the bands. We don’t have many available spots, so we really focus on the lineup for months. The goal is to eventually make this a multi-day event so we can book more bands each year. Until then, we try our best to pick the best possible lineup. We feel really great about the bands we have this year, and I think there is something for everyone. We want to give a few regional bands the opportunity to play in Scranton, which is why we got Caracara, Halogens, and Old Soul to play this summer. We have a great batch of local artists as well. We are all really excited about it.”

The previous years were headlined by national acts with strong local ties – Captain, We’re Sinking and Petal – and 2024 is no different. Wicca Phase Springs Eternal has been creating a unique blend of emo, rap, goth, trap, alternative hip-hop, and electronic music for over a decade now, which led to many independent releases before his critically acclaimed Run for Cover debut “Suffer On,” which was followed up last year with a self-titled full-length on the label.

“Adam just has such a distinct and unique sound. It’s hard to describe, but something about it just hits me. I was always a fan, but when I first heard ‘Suffer On,’ it all really changed for me. I think the songs on that record are some of his best. I am excited to hear how they come together with a band,” Barrett emphasized.

“I think Adam just has such a big following in NEPA from everything he has done here over the years. I think it will be a perfect end to a perfect day.”

But not before his own self-titled project hits the stage, the only other outlet outside of Good Things Fest he is just as passionate about, if not more so.

“I am determined to do some new music this summer. I’ve been working on my third LP for a long time, and it finally feels like it is all coming together. I am hopeful to have something out by then and to do a few unreleased songs as well.”





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