Goldenvoice are an empire in the live music industry — they are the people behind Coachella — and today they have added one more, slightly less expected event to their 2020 roster. Just announced via socials this afternoon, Cruel World is a new one-day festival that will take over the Grounds at Dignity Health Sports Park in LA on 5/2. But the thing that’ll grab your attention is how idiosyncratic the lineup is.
Cruel World is a festival built around ’80s goth and new wave acts. Morrissey, Bauhaus, Blondie, Devo, Echo & The Bunnymen, and the Psychedelic Furs top the bill. Below that, there are still some serious names: the Church, English Beat, Public Image Ltd., Gary Numan. And there’s some younger acts in the same lineage, like Cold Cave, TR/ST, Black Marble, and She Wants Revenge. You have to pity the late ’70s and early ’80s acts at the festival dedicated to the late ’70s and early ’80s who are billed beneath those younger names. (Justice for Missing Persons!)
Look, without even wading into the fact that Morrissey is headlining this thing, this is a pretty unique and tricky and perhaps amazing or perhaps uncomfortable prospect for a festival. Nostalgia is a powerful drug (and tool of commerce), and it’s pretty cool to imagine a Desert Trip-style mini-fest for a collection of big new wave names. Having seen roughly 60-70 percent of these big legacy names live before, I can attest to the fact that many of them are still pretty good onstage.
But it’s a little different than some of the classic rock artists who still make the festival rounds, with multiple generations’ worth of fans and a sort of persistent relevance well beyond their relevant albums. A lot of those ’80s greats didn’t maintain their legacy as well into the ’90s and beyond, and touring now can sometimes amount to more of a shallow retread, no matter how good the band still sounds. I don’t know, maybe there’s something weird about a generation of once avant-garde pop artists who trafficked in nostalgic themes now growing old enough that they have become nostalgia incarnate.
That being said, this looks pretty fucking sick. Check out the whole lineup below.
Echo & The Bunnymen
The Psychedelic Furs
Public Image Ltd.
She Wants Revenge
Jay Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel
London After Midnight
Cruel World takes place on 5/2. The ticket presale begins this Thursday, 2/13, at 12PM PT. You can register for the presale on their official website.