The sun beating down, the vibrations of the music coursing through you, bands performing in different stages everywhere you turn, all creating one belting voice of teenage angst, this is Vans Warped Tour. The traveling music festival has been going on for over 22 years and this summer did not disappoint.
1. The hard rock line up
Going back to its punk rock roots, Warped Tour had a heavier line up this year then it has had in recent years. For metalheads there was bands like GWAR, The Acacia Strain and Hatebreed. For punk rock fans, War on Women, Bad Cop/Bad Cop and blessthefall. Still though there was also more pop punk bands for those who wanted a more mellow sound, with amazing bands like Dollskin and Courage My Love.
All in all , if you want to jump to the sound of fast beats and loud guitars, Warped Tour is the place to be this summer.
2. Meet and greets
It wouldn’t be Warped Tour if you didn’t have the chance to meet your favorite bands! This tour especially had lots of meet and greets, and signings for fans with emo legends like Hawthorne Heights, metalcore giants Memphis May Fire and rock idol Andy Black. The best part, you don’t need a VIP ticket, so you can meet everybody without making a dent in your pocket.
3. Activism and charity organizations
Most people would think, wait, charity organizations at a rock festival? That’s just one of the things that makes Vans Warped Tour unique, all types of charities are joined together in one venue selling merch and accepting donations.
To Write Love on Her Arms had an interactive booth where you wrote messages to those suffering from depression, as part of there fight to end self-harm and help those struggling with mental illness.
War on Women had a workshop called Creating Safer Spaces about how to deal with sexual harassment and assault. Feed Our Children! accepted a $5 donation or three cans of food for an early entrance into the venue, giving concertgoers a chance to skip the lines while giving back.
4. Free stuff!
Since Warped Tour had a lot of local and more niche bands this year, there was a lot of free and discounted merch and CDS. Bad Cop/Bad Cop gave out pins and stickers for free and Sonic Boom Six sold there new album at a discounted price of only $5 dollars! Not only that, sponsors we’re giving a bunch of stuff out too and in the end with all those little things I left with a stuffed bag indeed.
5. The fans
Without a doubt what made this Warped Tour special for me was the fans.
Everyone there shared a love of music and even when pressed together liked sardines waiting for the next set were completely respectful and nice.
It’s amazing being able to strike up a conversation with someone about the bands playing and the cool merch you bought. It’s the environment of Warped Tour, that ultimately makes the experience so special.