Growing up, I listened to bands such as Blink 182, AFI, Taking Back Sunday, Sum 41 (we can go all day) religiously on Winamp while I locked myself in my room chatting on AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). I remember burning CDs, making playlists for my friends, and discovering new bands on Myspace.
I also remember my first Warped Tour like it was just yesterday. I was still in my teenage years going to local shows to support small bands. While most kids my age were spending money on food, I had to save my lunch money in order to afford concert tickets. Warped Tour was no different. I collected tickets like hoarders collecting used floss. Making memories and seeing my favorite bands live in front of me was what pumped blood into my veins. Like an addict, I lived for the thrill, for experiences.
My first Warped Tour was filled with a few firsts, while it was very fun, it was also really hot. I only had 2 goals, one was to crowd surf and the other was to be in a mosh pit. Since I was young with no responsibilities, I went prior to the start time. I recalled being in the excruciatingly long line we had to stand in before being able to walk through the gates to Warped Tour.
Remember the 2 items I had on my bucket list? I checked them both off my list! I crowd surfed during Forever the Sickest Kids and got pretty quick to the front and carried out by security guards. My friend crowd surfed right behind me. It was a memory I will never forget. Since I am a smaller stature, being in a rowdy mosh pit can be a little dangerous. My friend that is as petite as I, decided to enter a mosh pit for a Skaa band. We needed something tamer, but it was still a fun and funny experience inside the circle.
Anyway, enough about my 10-year old memories. Here is a recap of my Warped Tour 2018 experience, tips, and highlights for those who are going to later dates!
Tips and Information
First things first, got my Vans on but they look like sneakers! Put your Vans on! After all, it is called Vans Warped Tour and emo kids wear Vans. Make sure to break them in since Vans aren’t very comfortable when they are brand new. Otherwise, just wear comfortable shoes because you have a long day ahead of you!
It is no surprise that Warped Tour is during the Summertime, so it’s going to be HOT HOT HEAT! Make sure you bring water and sunblock! You are allowed to bring a water bottle into Warped Tour, so find the biggest bottle available. Water inside is priced at $4 each, beer is $11-15, and soda is $5 for a small can.
Make sure you wear sunblock and apply it regularly or you will end up like this guy! People tend to go to Warped Tour from the time it opens to when it closes so stay protected! Bring a hat and sunglasses as well.
Food is a necessity and there are food trucks to satisfy your hunger. Keep in mind that the prices are inflated so try to eat as much as you can prior to entering to save some money. But by all means, eat when you need to!
Warped Tour takes it back old school style by not posting any set times online before the day of. It is a tradition to run to the inflatable schedule to see when and where each band is playing.
Warped Tour 101
1. Buy merch and support your bands!
Don’t forget to grab your merch! If you specifically like a band, you can go to their individual booth to get a shirt or other apparel, CDs (and get it signed by them) and other items. Since it is the last Warped Tour, I just had to buy the 2018 Warped Tour shirt to keep a little piece of my teenage years with me. It is definitely a bittersweet experience.
2. Meet and Greet with Your Favorite Artists
At Warped Tour, there are rows of booths set up to meet and greet with bands. This year, Simple Plan had their own canopy and the line for their signing was the longest I’ve ever seen. You know you’re old when Simple Plan all look like grown dads with kids (and they probably are!).
One thing that sets Warped Tour apart from other festivals is that you are able to meet your favorite bands, get them to autograph your stuff, and take photos with them. This is one of the things I admire most about rock music and bands. You don’t really see other artists from other genres do this with their fans (ahem DJs).
I took a photo with Senses Fail, I could hardly recognize them anymore! This Warped Tour felt like a reunion rather than a farewell due to the maturity of the crowds. It felt like everyone was feeling nostalgic and felt more like a high school reunion to see how everyone has grown.
3. Admire the art that surrounds you
Art and music go hand and hand. Not only is the community so appreciative, it is also very compassionate. There are several organizations or groups of people to care about other things such as animals (PETA) and suicide prevention (To Write Love on Her Arms).
5. Rock out to some dope music
Well, what else are you at Warped Tour for? To listen to some amazing talent and live music of course! Sing your heart out and recite those lyrics engrained your memory forever. I sang all of the songs to Simple Plan, The Used, etc. And sometimes bands like Mayday Parade will do fun things such as cover the song “The Rock Show” by Blink 182.
6. HAVE FUN, MAKE FRIENDS, and DANCE!
Despite it being called “emo”, the community is very welcoming and friendly. Everyone is out to have a good time and people actually do look after each other here. You can easily talk to people and make friends throughout your day. Just take the initiative and be respectful of others and the same respect will be reciprocated!
Hear a song you like? Dance! There are a handful of pop-punk bands where you can dance and sing along to!