When We Were Young Fest – It Wasn’t the Best

Staff Writer: Rena Danho

Email: rdanho@umassd.edu

Music festivals are always sought out in the music community. Fans wait year-round to hear who is playing at what festival in hopes they’ll be able to see their favorite artists of the same or similar genres.

Over the past years, there was a heavily anticipated alternative music festival called Warped Tour (which tours rather than staying in one place). Sadly, after 25 years it has come to an end. 

Bands like Falling In Reverse, Paramore, Sleeping With Sirens, My Chemical Romance, and more would repeatedly appear for Warped Tour. In the emo, grunge, modern rock, and pop punk scene, Warped Tour was almost a right of passage. 

When Warped Tour ended, it felt like something in the community died and wasn’t coming back. We had to pray that other festivals like Lollapalooza and Boston Calling were enough to fill the void.

But then “When We Were Young” was announced. 

Founded by Live Nation, When We Were Young seemed like a blessing to everyone and the best music festival that has been created in a long time. 

Comments like “middle school me is crying right now” or “this is healing my inner child” were being seen everywhere that this concert was advertised. 

Bands that we have previously seen in Warped Tour lineups, like Paramore and My Chemical Romance, were headlining the show along with smaller bands such as Mayday Parade, Jimmy Eat World, and so many more. 

(Image via www.livenationentertainment.com)

Speculation around this music festival started spreading like wildfire almost as quickly as the festival dropped its lineup.

Live Nation has what you could call an interesting reputation after also being the people behind the Astro World crowd crush, which resulted in eight people dying during the night, and two more in the hospital the following days. 

However, the week of the festival from October 22nd to October 29th was when When We Were Young was put to the test. 

Red flags started to appear on the very first day of the festival.

On October 22nd, the festival was canceled due to high winds. Hundreds of people flew into Las Vegas for the festival, only to be met with no show, and were left to wander the city.

Videos on TikTok were popping up one by one, and people were not happy. 

Many fans were hoping some performances would be doing smaller shows in venues on last-minute notice, and other fans went to different concerts or events happening nearby. 

Katy Perry was actually performing on the same day and brought a When We Were Young ticket holder onto the stage to participate in the concert.

However, only the first day of the festival was canceled, and it left the rest of the days to hopefully make up for the cancellation on Saturday. 

There were mixed opinions, to say the least. 

Rumors spread about overbooking – that there was no room for many bands because there were not enough stages for them to perform on.

There weren’t enough merchandise booths, portable bathrooms, or paths for even navigating the festival. 

A lot of the things wrong with the festival seemed to fall upon the people and organization running the event, not the bands themselves. 

It seems like they were trying to follow the formula Warped Tour had, but couldn’t as they were missing vital components of the equation. 

Overall the reviews of When We Were Young are varied and seem to be based on peoples’ personal experiences. 

The bands performed well, but the venue itself didn’t. 

Despite all the negative backlash the festival got, they recently released the lineup for When We Were Young 2023 with the bands Green Day and Blink-182 headlining, and many other great bands playing the same day.

(Image via www.whenwewereyoungfestival.com)
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