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Heatwave promotional poster

Heatwave was a rock festival August 23, 1980, outside of Toronto, Canada at Mosport Park, Bowmanville, Ontario. The slogans used to promote the show were variously the "Punk Woodstock", the "New Wave Woodstock", or "The 1980s Big Beat Rock and Roll Party".

The festival was noteworthy because of the importance of the headliner bands that played and the timing in the evolution of New Wave music, and from the size of the crowd. Tickets were $20 ($25 at the gate), 85,000 people attended but at 5 pm Dan Aykroyd in character as Elwood Blues during a live radio interview from backstage with friend and festival promoter John Brower asked Brower if he could invite everyone listening to come out and be on his guest list. Brower immediately agreed and within 90 minutes another 15,000 people poured into the park swelling the crowd to almost 100,000 just as Talking Heads took the stage as the sun set. The crowd inched forward to accommodate the "guests" and a sense of wonder swept over everyone as no one other than Brower and Aykroyd and the radio audience was aware of the last minute free invitation.[1] Scandal plagued the event with accusations tossed back and forth between the backers and park management the latter claiming to have thrown away all the ticket stubs as "no one told them to keep them" The event reportedly lost a million dollars.[2] Despite the fact that no rights agreements were signed the entire concert was recorded professionally. The tapes surfaced sometime later that year and were spirited away by Brower after being seized from the studio whose recording truck had been on location to record Teenage Head. In the mid 90's the tapes were handed over to Canadian music archivist Jan Haust by Brower to ensure their professional restoration and safe keeping. They remain to this day locked away in Toronto at an undisclosed location.



The groups were:

The Clash were originally booked, and were on the poster, but cancelled[3] or, by another story, were held up at the border due to customs.

A partial order of appearance was: Teenage Head (opened at 11:00 am),[1] The Rumor, Rockpile, Holly and the Italians, Pretenders, B-52's, Talking Heads (sunset), Elvis Costello, and the Kings (midnight).[4]


Teenage Head set list

The reviewer saw "two scraggly guys playing guitar and bass, and a crop-haired singer in long-tailed livery coat and eyeliner. ... good ol' head-banging ramalama punk rock. A large and vocal following cheers them on, and they play with confidence, as if they belong up front of all those people."[1] A year or so later, Teenage Head's live album had a picture from their Heatwave set on the cover.[5] Their set included "Wild One" (from the Frantic City album).[5]

  1. Top Down
  2. Wild One
  3. Picture My Face
  4. Some Kinda Fun
  5. Alimony
  6. Everybody's Growin' Old
  7. Let's Shake
  8. Lucy Potato
  9. Brand New Cadillac
  10. You're Tearing Me Apart
  11. Somethin' Else
  12. Kissin' The Carpet
  13. Disgusteen
  14. C'mon Everybody

The Pretenders set list

The Pretenders played a full set[6][7] at Heatwave photo and ticket.

  1. Precious
  2. The Adultress
  3. Kid
  4. Space Invader
  5. Private Life
  6. Brass in Pocket
  7. Stop Your Sobbing
  8. The Wait
  9. Louie Louie
  10. Porcelain
  11. Tattooed Love Boys
  12. Up the Neck
  13. Audience
  14. Mystery Achievement

Talking Heads set list

The band that toured for the Remain in Light album, including Adrian Belew, performed for the first time at Heatwave as the sun was setting. Their segment began with the four original members and then as the songs progressed, they added musicians and vocalists, including Nona Hendryx (vocals), Busta Jones, Steve Scales, Dolette McDonald, and Bernie Worrell (keyboards).[8]

  1. Take Me to the River
  2. Psycho Killer
  3. Warning Sign
  4. Stay Hungry
  5. Cities
  6. I Zimbra
  7. Once in a Lifetime
  8. Houses in Motion
  9. Born Under Punches
  10. Crosseyed and Painless
  11. Life During Wartime


Elvis Costello set list

The Heatwave festival was the only 1980 live concert in North America by Elvis Costello and the Attractions.

  1. Shot With His Own Gun (sometimes listed as "How does it Feel"), accompanied only by Steve on piano *
  2. Accidents Will Happen
  3. The Beat
  4. Temptation
  5. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding
  6. Mystery Dance
  7. Green Shirt
  8. You'll Never Be a Man
  9. (I Don't want To Go To) Chelsea]
  10. Secondary Modern
  11. Pump It Up
  12. Lover's Walk
  13. Less Than Zero
  14. Big Tears
  15. High Fidelity *
  16. Lipstick Vogue *
  17. Radio Radio
  18. I Can't Stand Up (For Falling Down)
  19. Alison
  20. Clubland
  21. Oliver's Army
  22. Watching the Detectives
  23. You Belong to Me *

Recorded and available as a two LP disk album.[10][11][12][13]

* may not be on all albums and order may be different

The Kings

Their set started about midnight, and they played an hour long show which included "This Beat Goes On/Switchin' to Glide".[5]


  1. ^ a b c from Trouser Press #56, Nov. 1980.
  2. ^ Losses:
  3. ^ The Clash:
  4. ^ Partial order:
  5. ^ a b c iPod Forums at iProng: Voice of the iPod Generation :: View topic - Did anyone attend either of these 80's music festivals
  6. ^ The Pretenders: soundboard cassette recording
  7. ^ The Pretenders:
  8. ^ Talking Heads:
  9. ^ Talking Heads set list:
  10. ^ Elvis Costello: ECHWC82380
  11. ^ Elvis Costello: [1] 74 minutes soundboard recording, also [2]
  12. ^ Elvis Costello: [3]74:59 audience recording
  13. ^ Elvis Costello: back cover


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