When We Were Young Festival, We Need To Talk

It is known to everyone at this point that Las Vegas will allegedly be the center of the music universe on September 22nd, 23rd, and 29th. Needless to say, it has spawned a variety of reactions. Should we be excited? Should we be cynical? Is this show possible? What happens if the When We Were Young Festival fails? All these questions deserve examination in great detail that a one-minute Tik-Tok cannot cover.  It’s easy to take a stand, it’s more difficult to consider the consequences of said position.

Let’s start at the top, three dates are booked for the ultimate 2000s emo rock festival with some newer bands thrown in. It’s easy to be cynical about it. Make no mistake, this was done in response to the Travis Scott disaster which will result in Live Nation losing millions of dollars in litigation and they are looking to recoup the potential losses. Also, while festival grounds can hold up to 85,000 people, three stages is going to be a tight squeeze.

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Furthermore, if you are a smaller band on the bill, or in tiny print on the poster, good luck getting anything more than a twenty-minute set. However, before it’s assumed that this concert will result in disaster, we must consider the consequences of it going wrong. If another festival becomes an apocalyptic failure, consider the ramifications for the entire event industry. Say Live Nation goes out of business, this means all major and mid-level concerts would go through AEG which would be bad for both artists and consumers. Music fans should root for this concert to work because its failure would have industry-wide ramifications.

Keeping the pros and cons in mind here is my message to all parties involved. For Live Nation. Make it work and do not screw it up. Artists and fans are depending on you, make sure you are operating with the utmost integrity. There is a good percentage of fans that don’t believe in you right now and years of mistreatment prior to COVID combined with the Astroworld disaster has your credibility at an all-time low.  This is an opportunity to rebuild that trust.

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For the artists (particularly the ones towards the bottom of the card) consult with your management team and make sure this is the right concert for you. Yes, inclusion on the poster means something, but make sure you are comfortable with limited time on stage. For the fans, it’s healthy to be skeptical, it’s unhealthy to automatically throw out the baby with the bathwater. The show’s failure could be catastrophic for the live music industry. To assume the worst without hard evidence is unhealthy. The bottom line is that all of us should approach the When You Were Young Festival with eyes wide open, but also with the hope that the powers that be can put on a great experience for all involved.

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