Stop! Before you bash this post or roll your eyes, this is not another review of the Vans Warped Tour. I’m not going to explain the sets of each band I saw or the meet and greets that I went to. I’m going to tell you why, in my opinion, the Vans Warped Tour is the greatest tour to date.
In case you don’t know what it is, Vans Warped Tour is a touring festival of 50+ bands that play shows all over the country. It is home to the best bands in the alternative rock/punk/hardcore music around. The bands play 30 minute sets on assigned stages and some of them do meet and greets or signings or other special workshops at various tents. Non profit organizations as well as other businesses that support the tour set up their tents to spread the word while on the road.
Now, this is why I feel Warped Tour is the greatest tour to happen. Ever since I was a freshman in high school, I’ve been attending the tour in Milwaukee. Whether it was a good lineup or a bad one, I went because of the experience I had while there. Yes, you get to see your favorite bands live and you can meet them during a M&G or a signing, but that is not what makes Warped so great.
It is more than just the music. Its a place where everyone is accepted. Walking up to the gates the feeling that you are going to get judged washes away. There is not “dress code” or certain physical standard that you have to hold up to. There is no one that you need to impress, and there is no one style of music that you have to listen to in order to go to Warped.
No one cares what you look like, as long as you came out to support music, and you don’t act like a dick, we love you. No one cares what or who you listen to. There is this misconception that only “scene music” lovers can come to warped. Wrong. Yes, if you are a country lover you might not know or like any of the bands playing because they are more rock/punk based bands, but pop acts and rap acts have played warped and have received a great response.
Warped doesn’t care about your sexual orientation, gender, skin color, religion, etc. It doesn’t care what you do with your life or who you do it with. All it cares about is that you love music and you love having a good time. A lot of bands touch on that during their sets as well. Its all about love and music. Theres no room for hate at warped tour.
You don’t have to like the music to come to warped. Why? Because it is more than just music. There are just as many non-profit organizations that come to warped and set up their tents everyday to educate people about their cause. Groups like PETA, Keep a Breast, Hope for The Day, and HeadCount all come out to tell their mission and cause and hope that you take a second to hear them out. Every single one of these groups are trying to make a difference in the world, trying to shine a light in times of darkness and I think it is an amazing thing to have them on the tour.
Something that made this Warped stand out than the rest, and made it a little bit more special to me, was the line up. It was this weird but amazing juxtaposition of new aged warped and old warped. You had bands just breaking out onto the scene, like Against The Current and The Heirs, and then you had bands who have been around for 10+ years and have played warped just as many times. Bands like Good Charlotte, New Found Glory, Sum 41, and Yellowcard.
It was something that to me felt really special to experience. I grew up listening to all those bands. I remember putting their posters all over the walls in my bedroom and wishing that I would see them live one day. Then when I finally get a chance and see them live they go on a hiatus and drift to the back of my mind. Now they come out with new music and are back touring again and I feel like I’m 12 years old. It was a surreal experience.
Watching Good Charlotte was one of my favorite moments of the day. You know how you have that one band or artist that you feel very protective over because you’ve been listening to them for most of your life and they mean so much to you that you just kind of claim them as “yours”? GC is that to me. I’ve been listening to them for nearly 13 years now and I got the opportunity to see them 6 years ago in concert. That was the last time they played in Milwaukee on the last tour they did before their hiatus. Now they are back out with an album and going on tour again and I got to see them return to Milwaukee, return to Warped Tour, and it was amazing. I’m sure if you ask Cherry she will say that I had a smile on my face for the whole set.
One last thing I want to touch on before I end this post. Yellowcard. If you are a fan of pop-punk, and early 2000s pop-punk, then you know of Yellowcard. They recently announce that after this next album cycle they are going to be calling it quits. This broke me a little. They are another one of those bands that I like to claim as my own little treasure. They mean so much to me and have shaped my musical tastes in so many ways that its almost like losing a best friend or family. I knew that Warped would probably be the last time I saw them perform live and I’m glad that I saw their set. Nearly lost my shit during “Only One” and during “Ocean Avenue” but I held it together and then cried an ocean in my pillow that night. *not really but you get it*
Overall, I feel that Warped tour is an experience that any music lover should experience. Like I said, you don’t have to like the music being played (although it does help) because there is so much else do and groups to support that it makes it worth while. Its just a big party for music fans to come out and show their support, educate themselves on the workings of different organizations, and feel accepted.
So to end this post, here is a list of bands that I did see perform:
Set It Off
Against The Current
New Found Glory
Sleeping With Sirens
Bands that I met:
Against The Current