When We Were Young festival sparks controversy

Courtesy of creative commons. Pop-punk band Paramore is to be featured in the upcoming When We Were Young festival.

John Cantwell | staff writer

Jan 27, 2022

In a world of trap music, rap, country-pop, and an almost daily update on Kanye West’s relationship status, the former skinny jean – wearing scene kids who lurked their local malls in high school finally had their day on Jan. 18, when Live Nation announced When We Were Young fest, taking place on Oct. 22. 

With an out-of-nowhere Instagram post, the festival revealed the poster and lineup for the event, with a purple and black theme that is certain to hit Hot Topic kids with a wave of nostalgia. Boasting a lineup of 60 bands, with the lineup consisting of sad kid staples such as My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Avril Lavigne, Hawthorne Heights, A Day to Remember, Bring Me the Horizon and even newer acts such as Lil Huddy and Jxdn. 

Although the event appears to be heaven for everyone involved in the alternative music scene, there has been great debate about the logistics of the festival surrounding set times, stages, ticket prices and a multitude of other possible safety hazards.

At first glance, with literally 60 bands, one would assume that the event would take place over two or three days – giving every band a feasible set time – but this was originally not the case. The festival was set to take place from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. With only three stages, how would it have been possible that all of the bands (including the headliners) would be able to play more than a half hour set?

Slated for its original 12-hour time frame, tickets sold out fast, and with high demand. Because of this, promoters announced that the festival was having a second day on Oct. 23, with the same lineup and same time slots for the bands. Emos and pop punkers were quick to gather their tickets for the second day as well, which then led the festival to add a third day, a week after on Oct. 29. 

Another major concern that has concertgoers proceeding with caution is the fact that the event is sponsored by Live Nation, the same company who was responsible for Travis Scott’s Astroworld disaster in November, which left 10 attendees dead. With the excessive amounts of lawsuits that are piling up involving Live Nation, the controversies of the promoter are at an all-time high. 

Ticket prices and bundles have also been subject to confusion, as the festival revealed that there is a no refund policy available for ticket holders. Not only is this suspicious for the festival attendees who are paying more than $200 for a single ticket, but the fact that there is no return policy when the world is still in the middle of a global pandemic is alarming. 

Many outlets have compared the announcement of When We Were Young to 2017’s FYRE Festival, which was supposed to be a luxurious music festival in the Bahamas, when it became apparent that the event was a massive scam that saw no success.

Although When We Were Young is a dream come true for wallet chain wearing former scene kids, will it logistically work out in the end? With the promoters already being drowned in controversy over the Astroworld tragedy, how will they recover their name and reputation from criticism? 

With October being nine months away, and concertgoers already buying their tickets, hopefully When We Were Young will not be at an all time low.