Pop-Punk festival pumps up fans

When We Were Young sells out in hours, signifying the return of a forgotten genre


A flyer promotes the When We Were Young Festival Lineup

Fans of pop-punk and emo greeted the announcement of the When We Were Young Festival last week with both jubilation and hesitation.

The When We Were Young Festival will be held in Las Vegas on Oct. 22-23, and was announced with a flyer posted to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on Jan. 18, boasting the names and logos of 65 different rock and alternative bands. Some of the headlining acts included My Chemical Romance, Paramore and Avril Lavigne.

Just a few of the other notable acts included in the promotion were Jimmy Eat World, with three Billboard charting hits including the smash single “The Middle,” “Sweetness” and “Pain;” The All-American Rejects, with three top-10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including “Dirty Little Secret,” “It Ends Tonight” and “Gives You Hell;” and Boys Like Girls, who had three top-25 hits on the Hot 100, including “Two Is Better Than One,” “Love Drunk” and “The Great Escape.”

The acts will perform on three different stages at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., with some acts having shorter sets while the headliners will be performing for an hour or more, according to the event’s website.

The festival comes at a perfect time, as pop-punk and rock-influenced sounds experienced a renaissance in 2021, roaring back into the mainstream music scene with Olivia Rodrigo’s single “good 4 U” reaching number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 while Machine Gun Kelly’s album “Tickets To My Downfall” hit the top of the album charts. 

The tweet announcing the festival was liked over 100,000 times. As a result of the positive fan response to the announcement, the festival’s promoters announced they would be adding a second day to the festival.

“Due to the overwhelming demand, we have decided to add a second day. Same Lineup each day,” the tweet read.

Tickets started at $245 for General Admission, and went on sale starting at 1 p.m. EST on Jan. 21. By 4 p.m. EST, the official When We Were Young account posted that tickets were sold out for both dates.

The sheer number of notable acts listed on the flyer led some people to question whether the festival was legit, or just a scam:

Fans on Twitter question the legitimacy of the When We Were Young Tour

However, that initial doubt was dispelled as individual bands announced their appearances and promoted the event, including Paramore, 3OH!3 and Pierce the Veil.

This wasn’t the only concern that was voiced by fans about the festival, though. Fans were quick to sound the alarm bells with security concerns when they realized the event was being organized by Live Nation, the promoters of Travis Scott’s Astroword Festival in 2021 that killed eight people.

These concerns would lead Live Nation to issue a statement on the safety of the event, stating “the safety of fans, artists and staff is thoroughly planned for among event organizers and in coordination with local authorities.”

The high ticket prices and shows filled with tons of notable acts led some people to compare the When We Were Young Festival to the Vans Warped Tour, a similar event which featured punk rock and other music genres from 1995-2019 in nationwide concerts.

“I won’t be going to the festival because tickets are expensive, but it’s cool that they’re essentially bringing back a one day Warped Tour,” Brady Ahrens, a junior sports management major, said.

As the genre experiences a rebirth, Ahrens hopes that the When We Were Young Festival is more than just a one-off event, but will be incorporated into a larger tour for some of the bands present at the festival, some of whom have been on years-long hiatuses. 

“Hopefully a lot of these bands use this as part of a larger tour, especially Paramore — because we are long overdue for that,” Ahrens said.