When We Were Young Festival and Vegas Shenanigans

To say that I was excited for When We Were Young would be severely understating it. I initially bought my ticket when it was announced in January, and waiting nine months for it to come to fruition was brutal.

Epic views from the plane

We arrived on Thursday, a few days early, to explore since most of us had never been to Vegas before. We hit the famous Las Vegas Blvd Thursday, Fremont on Friday, and planned for the festival happening on Saturday.

The infamous Bellagio fountains on the strip

Excalibur, Hershey’s Chocolate World, and The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace on the strip

Fremont Street in Vegas

…except the festival didn’t happen.

We all got ready Saturday morning and were about to head out the door…only to receive a text—one hour before doors opened—that the festival was cancelled due to high winds.

I literally thought my friends were kidding when they told me the news as I walked down the hallway of the Airbnb, in full Avril mode, ready to party.

MFW I get Avril-ified and then the festival gets cancelled 😑

Unfortunately, they weren’t kidding, and we all went frantic trying to find tickets for Sunday’s show instead. This group panic ensued for at least an hour while seven of us had phones, laptops, etc. pulled up searching every scalper ticket website we could find, including browsing Reddit, Twitter, and Instagram for real time updates.

I was honestly in shock for a while and felt pretty defeated that we spent all of this money on the Airbnb, flights, Ubers, outfits, etc. only to end up not going to the festival.

After lots of stress and by sheer miracle, we were finally able to secure tickets for Sunday at around the same cost as what we paid for Saturday. Thank GOD.

I’ll skip to the good part now…

Making decisions on who to see—and who not to see—was particularly painful. Sacrifices were made. 🥀

Credit: When We Were Young Festival

Hawthorne Heights

The first band we got to see was Hawthorne Heights, and they definitely set the mood for the day. They played all of their original bangers and got the crowd poppin’. JT even brought his teenage daughter out which was awesome. (A trend that many of the band dads ended up following throughout the day)

Story of the Year

We all know that Story of the Year has some of the biggest sing-along bangers of the emo era, but what I didn’t realize was that they have a lot of great heavy songs too. Consider me a SOTY fan now.

Armor for Sleep

Armor for Sleep made one of my all time favorite albums, What To Do When You Are Dead, back in 2005. I was in middle school when I first heard it, and am still listening to it today…17 years later. I never had the opportunity to see them live back then, so this was my first time, and it was SO great. Their stage presence was awesome, and they sounded exactly like their recordings. It was a dream…to make believe. 😉


Also my first time seeing Glassjaw, and it was everything I ever wanted…and then some. I would say they were the most unique act overall at the festival. I’ve been a huge fan of them for years, so this was another check off the ‘ole bucket list for me. 10/10 🙏🏼

As I was sprinting in between stages, bathrooms, and inhaling food—I briefly got to hear some of The Used, La Dispute, and Senses Fail, who also played some odd but epic covers of System of a Down and Disturbed.

Credit: Ben Trivett

Avril Lavigne

THE MF QUEEN. I hoped she’d bring out Mod Sun to play Flames…and she did. 🥺🔥🥰 She also played all of her classic hits, and I would’ve stayed to listen to her whole discography if I was allowed. Killed it.

Dance Gavin Dance

I’m a “casual” DGD listener, so my opinion isn’t worth much, but I thought their set came at a particularly great time for our group. We were able to sit in the grass and chill for a while in between some of the larger acts…which was a very much needed break. Although they didn’t have their usual singer, they still put on a great show and set the mood for some chillin’.

Credit: Ben Trivett


If my love for Geoff Rickly wasn’t already exorbitant…it is now. This man knows how to put on a show.

Now enjoy these photos of me & Geoff from 2011. 🤣

^ Also this one time he personally responded to me after I said Thursday was awesome. That’s customer service ya’ll.

Credit: When We Were Young Fest


I mean…what is there even to say? They opened with my all time fav Paramore song, All I Wanted, which they had never played live before…and I MISSED IT. (But it’s because I was having the time of my life at Thursday sooo…) We were able to see their last few songs though and they killed it, as per usual.

Credit: Ben Trivett

My Chemical Romance

TBH we were so tired at this point that we didn’t even attempt to get close to the stage, so we were like a mile away (quite literally). MCR put on a great show as always, but unfortunately we could only hear it and not see it. I was able to see their O.G. Three Cheers for Sweet revenge era outfits though, and was stoked about that.

Overall Thoughts + Experience

This festival has gotten so much hate since the day they announced it, and I don’t understand why. People said it would be the next Fyre Fest and seemed to actually WANT it to fail…?

Overall, the festival was very well organized and ran like a well-oiled machine. Bands ran on stage immediately at their start time, and left immediately at their end time. On the dot. Every time. They were also using rotating stages, so there was zero setup time in between bands.

Everyone seemed very happy, bands and attendees alike.

Just out here spending my life savings

I have only two complaints, and they are the same complaints I have with every big event: they needed way more bathrooms, and cheaper food/drink options. The amount of money I spent on over-priced food trucks, crappy fairground-style food, and mediocre alcoholic beverages was painful. And I felt like I spent a good portion of the day waiting in line for the bathroom. 🙄

BUT, aside from those two things, I think the festival was very well done and was a great resurgence for the emo/punk/scene/alternative culture, which has been basically dead for years.

Excited to see what When We Were Young does in the years to come! 🖤

P.S. Oscar had a blast on the trip as well, and had his first flying experience. Check out my post about that here!

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