Without any other information, you may infer that the When We Were Young music festival took place in 2003 just by looking at the roster. Since Blink-182, Green Day, and Good Charlotte are among the headliners, the lineup includes a who’s who of bands who first reached their pinnacle about twenty years ago. But the two-day event didn’t happen during George W. Bush’s administration. In actuality, it takes place in the fall of 2023, three months from now.
The festival is already completely sold out. that is not an accident. Since making its debut the previous year, the festival—basically Live Nation’s response to the now-defunct Warped Tour—has become a huge success.
Live Nation Chief Executive Officer Michael Rapino stated during an earnings call last year that “we launched a When We Were Young festival out of Vegas, and we hoped to sell 40,000 tickets.” “We sold over 160,000 tickets in Vegas; it’s a great success for a new festival,” the promoter said.
Nowadays, rock acts from the late ’90s and early ’00s are in high demand, and Live Nation is leveraging this rising trend to increase its revenue. The bands are embarking on international tours, making news-worthy cash, and enjoying a rebirth in popularity as they regroup and reissue fan favorites.
Last year, Tom DeLonge, Travis Barker, and Mark Hoppus, the band’s original lineup, returned. In addition to the revelation, they also revealed a nearly one-year long, 50-date globe tour that will take them from Madison Square Garden in the US to Qudos Bank Arena in Australia.
According to Billboard Boxscore, the band’s North American leg of the tour, which took place from April to July, generated $85.3 million in revenue and sold 564,000 tickets. Blink-182 rose to the eighth position in Bloomberg’s Pop Star Power Rankings for June as a result of their well-received live performances, which were based on Pollstar data.
Their tour comeback has been replicated online as well. The band receives over 18 million monthly Spotify listens, and not just for their adored debut tracks like All The Small Things. Their song Edging, which was published in October 2022, has amassed over 38 million Spotify listens and peaked at number one on Billboard’s Rock & Alternative Airplay chart.
The band overcomes several obstacles to arrive at this position. Hoppus struggled with cancer, while Barker was in a terrifying plane crash. The three members also hadn’t performed as a group in public for over ten years until lately. But fans were fervently anticipating their reunion when it did happen.
Other bands that rose to fame around the same time as Blink-182 have recently seen success on par with theirs. Weezer, Green Day, and Fall Out Boy embarked on their Hella Mega Tour in 2021, traveling around the US and Europe. According to Pollstar, the tour generated $67.3 million in revenue and sold 659,062 tickets, sparking the larger trend.
It was difficult to foresee My Chemical Romance hitting new heights on the road when the band first came back together in 2019. But the band experienced its greatest live success when the Covid-postponed tour began again in 2022. According to Billboard Boxscore, it made close to $88 million in sales last year.
What is the exact force behind the momentum? Older, wealthier fans who grew up with the music may be doing so today. Or maybe the bands are benefiting from Gen Z’s avid interest in Y2K style and aesthetics. Or perhaps the geriatric rockers of the previous generation are finally handing off the torch of rock arena stardom to them.
It’s possible that bands like Green Day aren’t as new as they were when they first came out. However, they appear downright spry in comparison to artists like Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and Elton John. What’s my age again? asks the catchy chorus of Blink-182 well-known song. What’s my age once more?
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