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Babs Szabo: Co-Founder of Emo Nite and Ride or Cry

What started out as making a new friend while singing Dashboard Confessional during karaoke soon exploded into building a community around music, to selling out the Echoplex in LA each month, touring the country, and this upcoming April, playing at Coachella. I think at this point it’s beyond safe to say Emo Nite is a cultural revolution. Co-founders Babs Szabo, TJ Petracca, and Morgan Freed are doing it all. Branding,interactive live performance, touring logistics, video and visual effects, and music have combined into the the cultural megalith of Emo Nite and the associated creative agency Ride or Cry.

Before helping co-create every 20-and-30-something-year-old emo kid’s favorite monthly event, Babs was an ambitious kid from Hungary with musician parents who moved to the U.S when she was young. She worked 5 days a week full time while going to school at San Francisco State University to earn her B.A in journalism. During college,she was a college marketing rep for Sony Music. After graduation, she later worked at Creative Artists Agency(CAA) in touring and digital strategy, and then Versus Digital. Babs is the epitome of working hard and seeing all your ideas to fruition.  Taking what she learned in school and in her first few jobs, Babs was able to help co-create Emo Nite, originally called Taking Back Tuesdays in 2014.

Outgrowing the bar they began the event in after a couple Emo Nites, Emo Nite found its LA home in the Echoplex. Emo Nite has hosted Emo Nite Day with headliners Dashboard Confessional, All Time Low, Mayday Parade,and Travis Barker, to name a few. Emo Nite teamed up with The Maine’s Sad Summer Fest for its Inaugural year, hosting all-ages after parties following multiple Sad Summer Fest dates. In April, Emo Nite is slated to play Coachella. In 6 short years, Emo Nite has become extremely popular due to all the hard work and innovation from Szabo, Freed, and Petracca.

Emo Nite is a 21+ event unlike any party I’ve ever been to. Waiting in line to get in surrounded by people that all like the same music is a guarantee you’ll make new friends before the night is over. Once inside, it’s just a big party, yelling, jumping, and singing along to all the songs you grew up loving, the collective soundtrack to teenage angst, arguably too much eyeliner, and driving for the first time with the windows down and the music blasting. It’s nostalgia and an intense feeling of being present that’s hard to describe in words. Everyone is super friendly, your favorite band members are DJing sets, and anyone is allowed up on stage to sing and dance along. It’s a similar energy to a sleepover dance party. You feel young and invincible and happier than you’ve been in awhile. Your 9-5 job, school work, bills that need to be paid, and all your other adult responsibilities fall away from 9pm-2am and you’re young,free, and surrounded by all your friends and the music you love.

Do yourself a favor and check it out! Dates are listed at http://www.emonite.com. The next Emo Nite near ASU is March 27 at the Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix.

Michaela Steele is a senior at ASU Online, studying Mass Communications with a Women&Gender Studies minor. Michaela enjoys writing, going to concerts, and binge watching David Attenborough documentaries. She aspires to work in music PR. She's passionate about intersectional feminism, discussing philosophy, and analyzing media. Feel free to reach her at: [email protected]
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