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Heatwave was a rock festival August 23, 1980, outside of Toronto at Mosport Park, Bowmanville, Ontario. The slogans used to promote the show were variously the "Punk Woodstock", the "New WaveWoodstock", 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. 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. Despite the fact that no rights agreements were signed, the entire concert was recorded professionally. The tapes surfaced sometime later that year and were secured by Brower after being turned over by 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 independent record executive Jan Haust by Brower to ensure their professional restoration and safe keeping. At the time of the festival, a new wave/punk festival seemed a novel idea to many, especially as many of these bands typically played at night, in clubs—not outdoors in the hot summer sunlight. Rock magazine CREEM published an overview of Heatwave from that point of view, using a few words of parody in comparison to Woodstock.


The groups were:

  • Vladymir Rogov (opening artist) with his band ARKITEX (not on poster)
  • Teenage Head (not on poster)
  • BB Gabor (not on poster)
  • Holly and the Italians (not on the poster)
  • Rockpile featuring Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe
  • The Rumour without Graham Parker (just after he'd gone solo) (not on poster)
  • The B-52's
  • Talking Heads
  • The Pretenders
  • Elvis Costello and the Attractions
  • The Kings

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


Teenage Head

  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

  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

The B-52's

  1. Planet Claire
  2. 6060-842
  3. Devil In My Car
  4. 52 Girls
  5. Quiche Lorraine
  6. Dirty Back Road
  7. Lava
  8. Give Me Back My Man
  9. Strobe Light
  10. Private Idaho
  11. Runnin' Around
  12. Rock Lobster
  13. Dance This Mess Around
  14. Party Out of Bounds

Talking Heads

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).

  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 (The Heat Goes On)
  10. Crosseyed and Painless
  11. Life During Wartime

Elvis Costello

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

  1. Shot With His Own Gun (accompanied only by Steve Nieve 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  (accompanied only by Steve Nieve on piano)
  16. Lipstick Vogue  (accompanied only by Steve Nieve on piano)
  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 (accompanied only by Steve Nieve on piano)

The Kings

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

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