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Morrissey, Bauhaus, Blondie headline new  ’80s alt-music festival, Cruel World

Morrissey
Morrissey will headline Cruel World, a new one-day festival in Carson dedicated to the goth and new wave stars of the ‘80s.
(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Get out your skinny ties, hairspray and Capezio shoes: Top promoter Goldenvoice is mining the well of Generation X nostalgia with a new festival devoted to goth, new wave and post-punk called Cruel World.

The event, to occur May 2 on the grounds of Dignity Health Sports Park, will feature a bill dense with once-cutting-edge 1980s acts including Morrissey, Bauhaus, Blondie, Devo, Marc Almond, Public Image Ltd. and two dozen more.

The poster for Cruel World.

The news arrived with little fanfare via social media, minus the marketing muscle that promoter Goldenvoice usually employs to advance its marquee events, the Coachella Music and Arts Festival and the country music fest Stagecoach.

With a name that references Elvis Costello’s 1984 album “Goodbye Cruel World,” the one-day event is Goldenvoice’s first festival foray into packaging 1980s nostalgia and suggests a strategy to tap an overlooked demographic after winning big with the baby boomer-focused Desert Trip in 2016, which featured Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Who and others.

In addition to those mentioned above, the event has booked first-generation MTV favorites including Gary Numan, Berlin, the Psychedelic Furs, Echo & the Bunnymen, the Church, Bad Manners and the English Beat. As well, Los Angeles bands Missing Persons, 45 Grave and Christian Death will revisit work that helped define the city’s early goth scene. The under-40 set will find some stuff to identify with too. Synth-driven inheritors including Drab Majesty, Cold Cave, She Wants Revenge and Blaqk Audio will mingle with the closer-to-deaths at the top of the bill. Here’s the full roster.

Less goth is the venue, an AEG-owned sports facility likely to make the sun-starved after-midnighters shudder. Located on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, the 125-acre property houses the L.A. Galaxy’s home soccer stadium, a tennis stadium, a velodrome and a track and field venue.

Tickets to Cruel World go on sale Friday at a few different tiers, ranging from general admission ($135-$165), to VIP ($225-$250) to Super VIP ($350).


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