DFW Music News

We Hate To Tell You, But the Venue Owner for the When We Were Young Festival Is Trump's BFF

Paramore will be one of the headliners for Las Vegas festival When We Were Young, an event that's as MAGA as it is emo.
Paramore will be one of the headliners for Las Vegas festival When We Were Young, an event that's as MAGA as it is emo. Rachel Parker
Chances are you've seen someone share a picture of the lineup poster for Live Nation's When We Were Young festival, a collage of emo and alternative band logos that looks like the early aughts threw up on a Goth kid's Trapper Keeper.

The announcement of the Oct. 22 festival at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds has raised all sorts of red flags following the death of 10 people crushed by the crowd at Houston's Astroworld event in November, which was also fronted by promoter Live Nation.

But the concert also raises other questions: How is a venue with three stages going to host 63 separate concerts in half of a day? Are they going to limit the ticket sales to the venue's 80,000-person capacity and, if not, how are they going to make sure everyone's safe? Who in the hell is still paying to see The All American Rejects live?

Things just get weirder and more awkward the deeper you dig into the basics of the event. The venue is housed in the Circus Circus Las Vegas casino owned by Phil Ruffin, a casino magnet who Forbes described as former President Donald Trump's "best friend."

Donald Trump has a best friend? And even more baffling, Donald Trump has a friend?

Ruffin has a longtime business relationship and friendship with Trump and his organization. The two are co-owners of Trump's Las Vegas hotel venue. They both cut the ribbon for the hotel in 2005. Ruffin is a serial Republican campaign donator for state and national elections in and outside of Nevada with the exception of a 2011 donation he made to former U.S. Rep Shelley Berkley, according to OpenSecrets.org.

Ruffin's most famous donation went to Trump in the form of a $2.5 million campaign donation and a suspicious, sudden windfall of $21 million from their Las Vegas hotel venture that came to light in a New York Times story about Trump's long, lost tax records.

There are all sorts of things about this that already scream uncool about a festival that's trying so hard to be cool to aging emos, like a parental chaperone doing the bus stop to an Avril Lavigne song. The fact that the venue profits are going to a backer of Donald Trump's is the perfect cherry to put on this sad, looking sundae.

Then again, emo fans will need something to be sad about in order to fully experience a lineup consisting of My Chemical Romance, Paramore and The Used. So maybe the fact that part of the profits will go to one of Trump's closest, bestest buddies is just another part of the emo festival's marketing scheme. 
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.