It’s the day after the Mansfield date of the Vans Warped Tour and we’re still recovering. Yesterday, thousands of punk rockers, young skaters and teenagers flooded the gates at 11:00 AM sharp only to find themselves trudging out covered in dirt and sweat 10 hours later, all with excitement still on their faces.
After catching the end of Dillinger Escape Plan’s in-your-face set, a circle pit formed when Bring Me The Horizon came onstage. Set times are determined at the beginning of the day, and in this case it was surprising to find that many of the heavier, metal-based bands were scheduled early on—a bit of an unforgiving fact if you want to conserve your energy beyond these high energy, pit-oriented bands. But the fans, ourselves included, pushed forward with a smile on their faces. Later in the day, the main stage hosted acts like the pop-rock driven We The Kings and The All-American Rejects and Warped Tour veterans Alkaline Trio, The Bouncing Souls and Andrew W.K.
From a crowd perspective, the most interesting aspect of the tour this year was the diversity of the stages. From the huge crowds at the main Teggart Stage, to the mid-sized Skullcandy Stage, all the way to the undiscovered bands of the Ernie Ball Stage, we caught at least a few songs of every set that morning. The real kicker was that we were impressed by every band we saw. Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman seems to always be on the cutting edge of what music will really be popular that summer. He hand selects bands that will fit well on some of the smaller stages. He even had his own Kevin Says Stage this year to give the bands that he recommends a place to shine.
Of course, finding our way through crowds of music-hungry concert-goers, past merch-laden booths and around the vendors handing out random freebies, we arrived the indoor stages: the Glamour Kills Stage and the AP/Advent Stage. This space hosted some of the more subdued (The Cab, Sum 41, etc), but still attracted a slew of people to cram into the tiny area. Hundreds of people were even standing on seats around the perimeter that is normally the main stage at the Comcast Center.
It was at this point that the true “community” vibe at the tour became apparent. No one is concerned with how they look or how dirty they are. Every one is on this loud, crazy ride together. Clinging to bottles of water to keep themselves cool and making new friends. Warped Tour is truly a summer camp, and most of the bands we spoke with agreed. Stay tuned for the bands’ thoughts on this experience.
From the small stages, to the big ones, the “no-name” bands’ booths to the crowded headliners’ booths and meet-and-greet sessions, this years experience truly lived up to what we’ve come to expect from this “punk rock” environment. While today, fans are still nursing soar legs, painful sunburns and ringing ears, they undoubtedly couldn’t be happier to have walked away having once again participated in the summer’s loudest, fastest traveling rock festival. Here are some of the dates still to come:
7/17: Uniondale, NY, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
7/18: Oceanport, NJ, Monmouth Park Racetrack
7/20: Columbia, MD, Merriweather Post Pavilion
7/21: Virginia Beach, VA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
7/22: Charlotte, NC, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
7/23: St. Petersburg, FL, Vinoy Park
7/24: Miami, FL, Cruzan Amphitheatre
7/25: Orlando, FL, Central Florida Fairgrounds