Op-Ed: When We Were Young Fest 2023 announcement, too early?

If you even follow the emo and alternative music scene in the slightest you have probably heard of When We Were Young Fest. This is a music festival that is taking place for the first time this year and has both the favorite acts from the early 2000’s and popular acts from the current scene.

The festival announced on October 11 it will be returning in 2023 and announced who is slated to perform. The line up is stacked, with Green Day and Blink-182 scheduled to headline. It is scheduled for October 21, 2023 at the Las Vegas Fairgrounds, the same place as this year.

Only one date has been announced and tickets are already sold out, but the festival announcement came before this year’s festival even occurred.

This has many people like myself concerned and feeling a bit unsure about the announcement. Ever since this year’s festival was announced, concerns about how the festival will run, customer service and just overall lack of information has even worried those not attending. 

Scheduling over 50 acts for one day, the time frame, lack of information about stages and more left people feeling the festival will be a disaster. While more dates were announced, every act is performing on one day, essentially making three separate one-day festivals. This left many concerned about how long each act will perform, factoring in longer sets for headliners, time to change equipment, staggering acts and more. No information was provided before the festival was announced. No one has been able to get straight answers and the socials and the website for the festival do not provide much clarity.

On October 6, the map for the festival was provided and set times were posted on October 17, which will hopefully aid in concerns. However, with still many questions and concerns, announcing a second year for a new festival still feels risky. It is locking in people to attend a festival a year from now, without seeing how the first year goes. 

The announcement most likely was related to Blink-182 announcing their comeback with Tom DeLonge on the same day. It is definitely a strategic marketing move done well, driving people to check out the festival with Blink-182 being one of the headliners. Mix that with Green Day and acts like Waterparks, 5 Seconds of Summer and Pierce the Veil with their return music, people were bound to buy tickets. And those who missed out on this year’s tickets are definitely going to get tickets for next year. 

However, there is still little to no information, except what we know for this year’s festival. So once again, people are buying tickets blindly, with no knowledge of how the festival works or if anything went wrong and needs to be fixed after the first year. It is not like Riot Fest or Lollapalooza that have some years under their belt and people know what to expect. It is a brand new festival where kinks are about to happen. 

In my opinion, they should have waited until after at least the October 22 and 23 dates of the festival to give people an idea of how the festival runs. In a perfect world, they should have waited until every date was over. Let the 2022 festival be the focus of the attention then turn attention to 2023. Let people get all their 2022 questions answers and information they need, then allow an influx of questions and information for the second year. Especially announcing it just under two weeks before the first date, people have questions they need answers and all they are seeing is their website and social media feeds full of 2023 news. Meanwhile, 2022 is happening soon and they still feel in the dark. 

While I think the announcement was not a smart move, I think it definitely drove people to talk about the festival and drove people to the site and to want to get tickets. It was a marketing and PR move well done. The excitement around the festival was high with the dates for this year being so close, so adding in dates for another year definitely increased the excitement and made people want to buy tickets over a year in advance. 

Only time will tell if this announcement was a smart move or will backfire. How smooth the 2022 festival goes will reveal a lot.

Will people regret buying tickets ahead of time or will it make people mad they did not get tickets already?

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