This playlist contains all of the Heatwave Festival recordings available on Wolfgang's Vault, presented in their original running order. To download these sets, or for more information on the performances by Rockpile, The Pretenders, The B-52's, Talking Heads, and Elvis Costello and the Attractions, please click on the links in the "Related Concerts" box below.
Here's some information about the concert itself:
Held at Mosport Park, a 500-acre auto racing facility located approximately 100 kilometers east of Toronto, the aptly named Heatwave Festival took place on a hot August Saturday and presented the cream of the crop of post-punk new wave bands, just as many were breaking big internationally. Promoted as the "New Wave Woodstock" or as the poster for the event proclaimed, "The 1980s Big Beat Rock And Roll Party," nearly 100, 000 fans would converge that day to witness some of the greatest American, British and Canadian bands to emerge in recent years all on the same stage.
The first major outdoor new wave musical event to be held anywhere, nearly 85,000 fans would purchase the $20 tickets to hear the likes of Rockpile with Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, The B-52s, The Pretenders, Talking Heads, Elvis Costello, and The Clash, along with Canada's own Teenage Head and The Kings and with lesser known groups like Holly and the Italians and The Rumour (Graham Parker's former group) performing earlier in the day.
Like the original Woodstock Festival, Heatwave presented an incredible roster for that moment in time, but was likewise fraught with logistical and legal problems and would end in financial failure. When headliners, The Clash, pulled out at the last minute, rumors began spreading about the integrity of the festival. During this pre-Internet era, mass communication was difficult at best and wild speculation was running rampant about who else might cancel or who might replace The Clash. Lines were also being drawn, with the inevitable cries of "sellout" being aimed at so