When We Were Young Festival Actually Happened; Here Are The Highlights

25 October 2022 | 9:14 am | Mary Varvaris
Originally Appeared In

Paramore and My Chemical Romance proved why they could headline any festival.

So, the When We Were Young festival was not a scam or a "Fyre Fest stunt that worked" - it happened! And from the look of things, it was as glorious as we could have imagined.

After the cancellation of day one due to extreme weather, hopes rebounded quickly as day two kicked off with Saosin, The Linda Lindas, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, The Ready Set and Prentiss opening each of the festival's stages. 

Friendships and old-school collaborations melted fans. Pierce The Veil was joined by Kellin Quinn (Sleeping With Sirens) for King For A Day and Jeremy McKinnon (A Day To Remember) for Caraphernelia. All Time Low covered All The Small Things with Avril Lavigne. 

Early in the day, sound issues plagued the Pink stage. As reported by Variety, when Dashboard Confessional was playing, the audio completely cut out. "Chris Carrabba and the band performed seemingly without realising that no one could hear them... they took 10 minutes of their 40-minute set window to attempt to fix it. Ultimately, only the bass was really audible."

My Chemical Romance members wore prosthetics and dressed in Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge garb during their headlining set, opening with I'm Not Okay (I Promise) and playing all your favourites, from Boy Division to Welcome To The Black Parade.

However, the day truly belonged to Paramore. The band made history, with longtime fans finally witnessing All I Wanted's live debut, a song Hayley Williams promised fans that she'd never sing on stage (it's super hard, folks). She nailed it! From there, Paramore ran through hits from all their albums, from the tour debuts of Here We Go Again from All We Know Is Falling to Last Hope from their self-titled album. 

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Hayley Williams also made a powerful speech championing minority voices at the festival. Perched on the foot of the stage, she said, "Tonight we're celebrating… emo, right? This is the emo fest. This is the place to be. This genre is made up of a lot of different genres, and I'll spare you the history lesson — no, I won't; why would I do that? This started in the mid-'80s as something that had a vision, and it was started by some dudes that thought that punk rock should make more space for alternative people inside of alternative music. 

I think that it started off pretty well; you had Minor Threat, you had Fugazi, you had a lot of that shit. But we got lost along the way. And in the early 2000s, when Paramore came onto the scene, roughly around 2005, the scene was not always a safe place to be if you were different, if you were young woman, if you were a person of colour, if you were queer, and that's really fucked up if you think about it. Because this was supposed to be the safe place, wasn't it? Yes."

Continuing, she reflected, "So, we've been around for almost 20 years, and I've had my fill of letting older people — especially older men — tell me what punk rock is and tell me what punk rock is not," she continued. "Just today, there was a crusty old fuck on the Internet saying that punk was supposed to be anti-establishment, right? Well, it is, and actually, I can think of nothing more anti-establishment than young women, than people of colour, and the queer community.

 So what I want to say to you, if you are one of those people in those subsets, there is space for you here now. Did you hear me? There's space for you now. We love you, and we love being a part of this scene. And we're gonna keep doing whatever we can do alongside our friends and our peers in the scene to make it feel safe for every single one of you out there because it does not feel good to feel unwelcome. It does not feel good to be talked down to. So if you're here tonight, thank you. Thanks for watching us. We all survived a lot to get to this night."