Vans Warped Tour is one of the most iconic traveling rock shows that has returned every single summer in the United States since 1995. This year the Vans Warped Tour is going on its final full cross country run. Vans Warped tour was created by Kevin Lyman, who focused mostly on alternative rock music in the beginning until it eventually transformed into what it is today. The only downfall to this festival is it’s only in town for a single day, which makes it extremely hard to see some of the artists you have been waiting to see for ages. Each year that I have attended the Vans Warped Tour, they have never ceased to amaze me with the artists that they choose to bring on tour with them. Since this year is the last year of Warped Tour the feeling is very bittersweet. I remember the first time I attended the Tour, I was full of emotions and very excited to take in the experience of being at the Warped Tour. I have met many artists since I started going back in 2014, such as Falling In Reverse, Motionless In White, Attila, Jeffrey Star, Miss May I, and many more of my favorite artists.
The tour brings a few traveling stages with them to each venue to incorporate with stages that are already established inside the respected venue. Each year at the Darien Center the stages are set up almost the same. The stages are scattered throughout the extra parking lot from the doors all the way back to the main stages in the back of the venue.
This year the stages include Journey's Left foot, Journey's right foot, Mutant Red Dawn, Mutant White Lightning, owly.fm and The Full Sail Stage. This year's lineup is very exciting for me because there are a lot of artists I really enjoy watching perform such as The Amity Affliction, Movements, Mayday Parade, Real Friends, and many more!
There are a ton of can't miss bands on this lineup espceially if you are going to the Darien Center venue. Every Time I Die is a Buffalo native, If you haven't seen them before, get out there and check them out! Tonight Alive is a must see band as well, they are big supporters of the I AM movement to help people prove that their worth is more than what others say. Ice Nine Kills always puts on a great show, every time I have seen them they have exceeded my expectations. If you are looking to throw down in the pit and mosh your heart out Wage War is a great option for you. If you are looking for something that's not heavy and is acoustic, check out This Wild Life. Kublai Khan, The Amity Affliction, Movements, Dayseeker and We The Kings are also all great bands to check out!
At the Darien Center, Vans Warped Tour can be a little hectic because it is only in the area for the day. The gates open around 11 AM, so get there early and try to avoid the line! As an avid Warped Tour attendee, skipping this line is essential in starting your whole day out with a bang. By bringing just 3 canned good items (the cans cannot be dented or expired), a $5 dollar donation or a used cellphone you can skip the longest line of your life (as it seems to be). And you are also able to get into the venue 10-15 minutes earlier, making it easier to find all your favorite artist’s tents and the stages you plan on being at all day, but you sometimes you have to wait a little bit longer to get to the main stages in the extra parking lot due to them not finished being set up.
By bringing one of the three options listed above and skipping the line, you are also helping Feed Our Children NOW! to improve lives of children located in the United States. The food drive helps immediate needs for a better future for low income families & Children. So don’t forget to donate!
There are many other great causes that support Warped Tour such as Can You Hear Me?, They work with musicians to raise awareness, take action and provide a supportive, empowering community for teens struggling with issues such as mental health, bullying, and peer pressure. Stapaw raises awareness about discrimination of piercings and tattoos in the workplace. To Write Love On Her Arms is a nonprofit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. Don't Forget to check out one of the many great causes Warped Tour has to offer! Although, this isn’t the only line you are going to find yourself standing in. There are many other lines such as merchandise, bathroom, water refill, food, and etc. So be prepared!
Warped Tour 101 – Here are some tips to stay your best during your day at the festival.
Tip #1 – Get plenty of sleep the night before. I know it’s hard when you are really excited to get up and go see that band that you have been wanting to see for ages. But you don’t want to get tuckered out too early, especially if you want to rage to your favorite band(s) in the mosh pits.
Tip #2 – When packing your backpack the night before, make sure you have everything you could possibly need. If you know its going to rain, bring some baggies for your electronics and a poncho just in case. You don’t want to get wet and stay stuck in those wet clothes all day. Bring some permanent markers, I can’t even remember the last time I went to a concert without one. A marker is very essential. You could catch your favorite artist walking by and then you could grab a quick autograph! Sun screen is also an important Warped Tour item to have as it tends to be one of the sunniest days out of the year it seems like. Or at least up here in New York.
Tip #3 – When you get up in the morning try to eat something even if it’s just a granola bar… trust me. At the venue you will spend an arm and a leg on food and won’t have enough money to buy that tee shirt or any other merchandise from your favorite band. You can bring in a bottle of water as long as it is sealed and just keep refilling it at the water refill stations supplied around the venue.
Tip #4 – Keep your eyes open and watch your surroundings especially if you don’t want to find yourself falling into a mosh pit or even have crowd surfers falling on top of you. Sometimes you find yourself getting lost in the music. I’m guilty of this… regardless you don’t want to end up getting hurt because you aren’t paying attention. Nobody wants to get accidentally punched in the face by someone moshing, kicked in the head by a crowd surfer, or even having a crowd surfer dropped on top you. Be aware of your surroundings, you don’t want to take a trip to the hospital or lose something of value.
Tip #5 – Don’t get upset when both your favorite bands are playing at the same time. Figure out which one you want to see more because eventually they will go on another tour at a later date. I have sacrificed seeing my favorite artist’s full set just to go watch another band I just started listening to and also really enjoy. It happens!
Tip #6 – If you are lucky enough to be a photographer for the day at your Warped Tour date, do not forget to pack extra batteries, SD cards (that actually work)! I'm guilty, when I was taking photos last summer, I had borrowed an SD card from a family member and I lost a lot of photos because they got corrupted. If you know it's going to rain make sure you have lots of plastic bags! You definitely don't want to ruin your camera for one small thing.
Tip #7 - If you plan on going by yourself, try to meet up with some friends that might end up going! You will have more fun jamming out to your favorite artists as a group than just by yourself. If you have friends that have never been to Warped Tour also bring them along, even if there is only one artist that they like, they will still have fun!
The Vans Warped Tour is a tour everyone should experience at least once in their life time no matter how old or young you are. Get out there this summer! It's going to be the final full cross country run. If you haven't attended before make sure this is the time to do it! This tour really brings people together no matter what artist you are there to see. The tour starts on June 21st and runs through August 5th. I can’t wait to see what the Vans Warped Tour has in store for us this summer especially since its going to be the final full cross country run. Good luck out there! Make plenty of friends this summer!