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When We Were Young is The Observatory‘s latest festival and although the build up to the event was a bit of a shit show the actual event ended up running rather smoothly. A change of pace from the venue’s previous festival exploits but that’s another article entirely. Perhaps all the mishaps with ticket prices leading up to the event helped the venue get out all their fuck ups early I suppose. I’ll chalk it up as a win even if many early bird attendees are still waiting on their merchandise and concert ticket vouchers to make up for paying higher ticket prices than those who bought tickets late in the game. Now that I’ve gotten out all the necessary calling out of bullshit out of the way I can write about what went right this festival.


My friends and I showed up right at 12 and were able to get our wristbands and go through security in less than 5 minutes (this was the case both days) which was a pleasant surprise given that we were late for Culture Abuse. Thankfully we only missed about 10 minutes because they killed it for all the people who showed up early. They definitely set the tone for the weekend as every single band played a stellar set. After they wrapped things up I spent the entirety of the weekend just bouncing between stages with occasional trips to the indoor stages to escape the heat.

 While a majority of the bands I saw were mostly bands I had seen before I did make time to catch some new bands that I had been hearing a lot about online. There were even a few I went to watch just randomly at the recommendation of some friends at the festival. My favorite set from a new band was hands down Sheer Mag. The best new discovery was No Parents who surprisingly enough  are a LA local band. As to how I had never heard of them before was beyond me but now I’m fucking sold. 

The layout was pretty solid; a short skip, hop, and jump away between any of the stages. Although the DJ room was a bit too small. After a certain point it wasn’t worth trying to get into which sucks because the few times I was there the DJs were playing bangers. Can’t really get around this one I suppose but I appreciate that the room is there regardless of size. 

As for who “won” the festival, Streetlight Manifesto and Joyce Manor claim that prize for Saturday. While Choking Victim and Descendents were the champs for Sunday.  If we’re being honest though I was the real heavyweight champion that weekend because I saw so many great fucking sets. Also, I didn’t pass out at all! Shout out to the hydration stations on site, you’re the real MVPs. Morrissey, you were alright too I guess (Morrissey was actually pretty fucking amazing). 

We all know that this venue has had a lot of problems with the last few festivals they’ve thrown but it seems like maybe they’re finally getting their act together? Assuming they throw this festival again next year I would go so long as they aren’t idiots about the ticket prices. Also, maybe have cheaper booze prices. $20 for a mixed drink is ridiculous, souvenir cup or not. Hopefully I’ll see you at When We Were Young 2: Sad Boi Boogaloo.

All photos are courtesy of Joe Cortez. Check out his galleries  for each day below. 

Day 1

Day 2

P.S. Whatever Chris Conley had for lunch on Sunday I want some of that shit. However, I will also settle for knowing his secret to immortality as he solidifies himself as the emo highlander.