“When We Were Young Festival” set to kick off



Headliners My Chemical Romance and Paramore

On Jan. 18, 2022, Live Nation broke the internet with the announcement of their upcoming When We Were Young Festival. The nostalgic lineup, which includes legendary bands like My Chemical Romance and Paramore, has 2000’s emo and pop punk fans breaking out their black eyeliner, beat-up Chucks, and old band tees.

At first glance, this festival seems like a dream come true for anyone that grew up going to the Van’s Warped Tour every summer. The concert operates like a sampling, allowing each band to play a condensed set over a 12-hour day and giving the audience the opportunity to see as many sets as possible. This is not unlike a typical music festival.

However, upon closer inspection, there appear to be some startling details that provoked many questions and conspiracy theories regarding the logistics of this supposed dream come true. The total lineup comes to an astounding 65 performances spread across a measly 3 stages.

Even if mechanically rotating stages were implemented to reduce setup and breakdown times, that would allow an average of less than 30 minutes per performance. This is expected for shows like Warped Tour and Self Help Fest, but the biggest difference are the prices.

A ticket to one day at Warped Tour, which ran every summer from 1995-2018, ran about $45 in the last few years of its life. This ticket included access to all 7 stages, public restrooms and free water access, as well as food and beverage vendors and merchandise tables. Similarly, Self Help Fest costs about $40 per ticket, which includes a more intimate lineup and fewer stages, but runs a shorter day and only happens once a year.

When We Were Young Fest general admission tickets went for presale on Jan. 31 and started at a staggering $225, which grants access to the typical food vendors, water stations, and all performances.
For an additional $175, GA+ tickets will allow you access to all of the same amenities as regular general admission, as well as a “dedicated entry lane at main entrance” and air-conditioned bathrooms. That is it. That’s a pretty steep price hike just to pee in comfort.

In addition to concerns of scheduling and prices, the internet has been quick to point out many other potential red flags of this festival. Live Nation is the same company that put on the disastrous Astroworld Festival in November of 2021, where stampedes of fans resulted in over 300 injuries, 25 hospitalizations, and 10 deaths. Many fans even believe that Live Nation is, “actually just preying on the pop punk scene to pay back their litigation fees” (@space_mom_ on Twitter).

Although Live Nation has put on thousands of shows and festivals in the past, the music festival scene has been shaken up since tragic festivals in recent years. Some people are even calling this “emo Fyre Fest,” in reference to the 2017 festival that scammed people into spending over $1,200 each and stranding them on an island with minimal food and drinking water under the guise of a legendary festival. This fear is valid, considering most people travel from out of state, and even out of country, to come to these types of festivals.

In an age where health and safety are of the upmost importance, any large event is expected to have some kind of COVID-19 protocols in place. However, the When We Were Young Festival website simply provides a vague statement about the importance of safety. The site states, “The safety of fans, artists and staff remains our top priority…Festival organizers are in regular communication with local health and public safety officials and will follow all current recommendations and guidelines in place at the time of the festival.” Further policies are said to be announced in September, just one month before the festival.

Despite all of the fear and speculation, presale sold out within an hour. The festival was originally set to take place October 22, 2022, at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds in Nevada; however, a second date was added on the day of presale. Instead of spreading the performances across two days, which would have allowed bands to play longer sets and relieved some concern for the festivalgoers, the additional day will be a repeat of the first day. A week later, a third day was announced for the following weekend.