While the Alternative Nation had Lollapalooza, the Emo Nation has When We Were Young.
Over the last couple years, the emo and pop-punk sounds of the 2000s seemed to be coming back in vogue thanks to artists including Machine Gun Kelly, WILLOW and the many, many projects of Travis Barker. That comeback was cemented in 2022 with the announcement of the When We Were Young lineup.
The Las Vegas festival, originally announced as a one-day event, was set to be headlined by My Chemical Romance and Paramore, while the rest of the bill featured Bring Me the Horizon, A Day to Remember, Avril Lavigne, Dashboard Confessional, The Used, Jimmy Eat World, AFI and Taking Back Sunday, along with pretty much every other band you might’ve heard in a Hot Topic during the George W. Bush administration.
Upon its announcement, the When We Were Young lineup immediately went viral, with reactions ranging from excited to nervous. Even putting aside that the festival seemed like the fever dream of a mid-aughts scene kid, the sheer number of bands on the bill seemed like a logistical nightmare, leading the most skeptical observers to invoke the memory of the infamous Fyre Festival.
After selling out almost immediately, organizers announced two additional When We Were Young days with the same lineup. Those sold out, as well.
After months of hype, When We Were Young was finally set begin in October — and its first day was canceled due to dangerously high winds. While the doubters were briefly proven right, the festival successfully went on as scheduled for its second and third days.
Not only did When We Were Young prove the longevity of the emo and pop-punk scene, it also set the stage for future nostalgia-themed festivals. When We Were Young 2023 will feature Green Day, the reunited Blink-182, Yellowcard, Thirty Seconds to Mars, The Offspring and Good Charlotte, while nu metal fans can look forward to the inaugural Sick New World festival, featuring Deftones, System of a Down, Korn, Incubus, Evanescence and Papa Roach.
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