Let’s face it, the festival that is the ‘When We Were Young’ fest has swept social media in such a crazy fashion that not many shows or tours have ever seen before. If you were a hipster or an emo kid in high school, then surely you’ve already done one of three things: 1. Gotten a ticket. 2. Posted about the fest. 3. Complained about the festival.
The first two scenarios aren’t so bad. In fact, if people want to have fun and see their favorite bands, that’s great! The third option is what has been killing social media feeds left and right with toxic holier than thou complexes. A loaded god complex, if you will, but I digress.
Ever since the death of Warped Tour, fans of hardcore and emo music have been yearning for another Warped Tour. Now it seems that there is one with a different name and it’s an issue for former Warped Tour patrons.
The first wave of comments and shares for ‘When We Were Young’ fest were pretty positive. Most fans of the 60+ bands listed captioned their shares with “OMG!” and “Who’s going?!” Then, the toxicity started. Fans learned that ticket prices would be much higher than they remember borrowing from mom and dad for Warped Tour. The $40 price tag they expected turned into $230. This didn’t sit well with the 90’s kids that are still struggling to find suitable rental prices.
Once word got out about the shocking cash grab, fans started bashing the festival asking how 60+ bands could fit on this bill and how it would even work. The teenage anxiety came back to these adults as they screamed “If it works it’s going to be bad anyways!” and “I would never pay that much! I remember when Warped Tour was $40!” These once rebellious teens with the combovers who swore they would never complain like mom and dad became just what they swore off of many years ago.
The issue is that Warped Tour failed artists financially and artists deserve to be better compensated. Any music fan woke to what’s going on in that profession will tell you that they feel Spotify doesn’t pay artists enough. In fact, they may even claim how taken advantage of artists are and their work is taken for granted. However, the tides change when ticket prices go up.
When all is broken down from the $230 ticket price and with all the bands and band members involved with the bands, you’re looking at a very small payout per band member/staff. Then, we must consider all of the outside sources such as the stage hands, social media people, sound people, etc. The payout then becomes even more bleak for band members. The $230 is warranted because it at least tries to hit the mark for a livable hourly wage for an artist. After all is said and done, each band member is taking home about $19 per hour. As you can see, the $40 model just doesn’t work at all. Let’s not also mention inflation and how everything has gone up since the start of the pandemic either. Artists are trying to recoup lost finances as quickly as possible. This is just how things work.
Defending the festival aside, there is a conspiracy theory going around that is making heads tilt. The festival is said to be hosted by the same people who hosted Astrowold which saw a handful of deaths and countless lawsuits. Many think that the no return policy that the ‘When We Were Young’ has implemented is so that they can pull the rug and never have the fest all while paying for the Astroworld lawsuits under the radar. This seems like a stretch until bands came forward saying they were never asked to do the fest even though they’re on the list of bands to play.
Conspiracy theories aside; Maybe it’s not so much that people missed Warped Tour after all. Maybe they missed their teenage years of being carefree and just being around their friends from sun up to sun down before jobs and kids were a thing. Maybe it’s the nostalgia in the thought of those hot summer days rather than the actual hot summer days of barely audible music and strangers trying to lay a hand on you all while you’re dehydrated and throwing up from smoking salvia and really bad weed while some dude in a Reptar shirt tries to talk you through it.