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Heatwave Music Festival Review

Photograph of the blog post author, Annika Hope

Annika Hope


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Heatwave Music Festival

Heatwave Music Festival is an annual event that brings together music lovers from all over the world to enjoy a weekend of live performances by some of the biggest names in the music industry. With a diverse lineup of artists spanning multiple genres, the festival promises an amazing experience for attendees. From rock and pop to hip-hop and electronic dance music, Heatwave Music Festival has something for everyone.

History Of Heatwave Music Festival

The Heatwave Rock Festival took place on August 23, 1980, in Mosport Park, just north of Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. Promoted under slogans like “Punk Woodstock”, “New Wave Woodstock”, and “The 1980s Big Beat Rock and Roll Party”, the festival gained significance due to the prominence of the headlining bands and its timing within the development of new wave music. Additionally, it was notable for its large crowd size.

The festival stood out due to the significance of the headline bands, its timing in new wave music’s evolution, and the large audience size. Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 at the gate. While 85,000 people were present, Dan Aykroyd – in his Elwood Blues persona – during a live radio interview with his friend and festival promoter John Brower backstage at 5 pm, asked if he could invite all listeners to join as his guests.

Brower instantly consented, and in less than 90 minutes, an additional 15,000 people flocked to the park. This increased the crowd size to nearly 100,000 precisely when Talking Heads began their performance at sunset. The audience moved slightly forward to make room for the newcomers. A wave of astonishment swept across all present since only Brower, Aykroyd and those listening on the radio knew about the spontaneous free invitation.

The event was mired in controversy as allegations were exchanged between the sponsors and park management. The latter argued that they discarded all the ticket stubs because they weren’t instructed to retain them. Reportedly, the event incurred a loss of a million dollars.

Mid-90s And Onwards

Even though no formal rights agreements were executed, the whole concert was professionally recorded. Later that year, the tapes emerged and Brower obtained them after they were handed over by the studio. This studio’s recording truck had been present on-site to record Teenage Head, the band.

In the mid-1990s, Brower entrusted the tapes to Jan Haust, a Canadian independent record executive, for professional restoration and preservation. Wolfgangs acquired 102 of these tracks from the five most renowned bands

They also own the rights to Bill “Wolfgang” Graham’s archive. By 2017, these tracks were made available on their website. A segment of the performance by The Kings has also been made available through a video recording.

During the festival period, many found the concept of a new wave/punk festival quite innovative, particularly because these bands were more accustomed to performing in nightclubs rather than under the scorching summer sun. The rock publication CREEM provided a review of Heatwave from this perspective, humorously comparing it to Woodstock.

Why You Should Go To Different Festivals

Attending different festivals can be a wonderful way to broaden your horizons, expand your social circle, and immerse yourself in new experiences. Whether you’re into music, food, art, or culture, there’s a festival out there for everyone. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider going to different festivals:

1. Discover new interests: Festivals often showcase a wide variety of activities and events, giving you the chance to explore new interests and hobbies. You might discover a new favorite band, try a new type of food, or learn about a different culture.

2. Meet new people: Festivals are a great place to meet like-minded people who share your interests. Whether you strike up a conversation with someone in the crowd or attend a workshop or seminar, you’re bound to make new connections, music meets conversation, so don’t forget to talk to new people.

3. Support local communities: Many festivals are organized by local communities and businesses, so attending them is a great way to support the local economy. Plus, you’ll get to experience the unique character and flavor of the area.

4. Have fun: Let’s be real – festivals are just plain fun! Whether you’re dancing to your favorite band, trying new foods, or browsing through art exhibits, there’s always something to enjoy.

5. Create lasting memories: Attending a festival can be a memorable experience that you’ll cherish for years to come. Whether you go with friends or family, you’ll create lasting memories and maybe even start a new tradition.

Closing Thoughts On Heatwave Music Festival

In conclusion, the Heatwave Music Festival in Ontario, Canada was a truly an amazing experience for all who attended. From the incredible lineup of talented musicians to the lively atmosphere and beautiful surroundings, it was a weekend filled with music, fun, and memories that will last a lifetime. We can’t wait to see what next year’s festival has in store!


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