I couldn’t wait for the summer and the Warped Tour
Blink 182 spoke for us all with their hit track “The Rock Show” off Take Off Your Pants and Jacketreleased back in 2001, when Warped was celebrating their sixth year. Now, on their twenty-fourth and last final cross country run, it’s an unbelievably bittersweet moment both gearing up for and attending what will be known as the final Warped here at the Shoreline Amphitheater in California’s Bay Area. Only the third day into Warped and Shoreline effortlessly sold out their 22,500 tickets, packing the venue to its limits (it was reported that tickets were being sold for several hundred dollars, those who hadn’t purchased theirs in advance desperate to get one final taste). Fans wrapped around the fields surrounding the venue since early morning, causing the show to take a several minute ‘pause’ to allow those eagerly waiting to make it through the gates and attend this great summer rock ’n’ roll/pop punk camp one last time.
It is hard to explain the Vans Warped Tour for those who have never been lucky enough to attend (and a weird thought to think that new generations will grow up and never know what it is like to countdown the days til summer and the highly anticipated event). For myself personally, it was a hard pill to swallow as I walked through the crowd for what may very well be the last time — I remember my first Warped like it was yesterday despite it being over ten years ago. I could not believe I would get to experience so many of my favorite bands (and discover new favorites) all in one day. I remember writing set times on my arms, convincing myself I would be able to catch every set that interested me, a feat I realized would always be impossible. There is just too much to do, too many great things to see. As I watched the faces in the crowd, saw so many random acts of kindness (high fives, free hugs, snack sharing, security giving out water for free to those in the 100+ degree heat and still at the barricade’s front lines), I remember thinking to myself: the Vans Warped Tour was the first place I truly felt accepted, with like-minded individuals, people who appreciate all music genres, people who are accepting of each other whether you’re dressed from head-to-toe in black with studded combat thigh hight boots or in bright neon latex, it rarely mattered to Warped goers. I remember thinking to myself: will there ever be a place that feels this much like home again?
As expected, for the final Warped, the line-up was packed with so many incredible bands from a wide variety of genres. Representing the progressive pop-punk were fan favorites such as: State Champs, Real Friends, Knuckle Puck – alt/pop rock acts included: Simple Plan, We The Kings – self-proclaimed emo rockers: The Maine – electro-pop: 3OH!3 – hardcore: Senses Fail, Sharptooth – metal core: Every Time I Die, Motionless In White – acoustic acts: This Wild Life – female fronted artists: Tonight Alive, Doll Skin – rapper MC Lars and the legendary The Used and special California guest, All Time Low. Despite that mouthful of sixteen bands, this was only a small fraction of the bands performing on this years Warped Tour, further proving that founder Kevin Lyman has always done something you do not see often enough with show/festival line-ups, diversifying them with as many genres as your audience can handle. There truly was something for everyone in attendance.
It is hard to grasp that we are saying goodbye to the very summer-tour which played a crucial part in the rise to fame for so many acts including Paramore, Fall Out Boy, No Doubt, Blink 182 and even Katy Perry who performed on the Vans Warped Tour in 2008. They say that all good things must come to an end — but for those who have yet to read Kevin Lyman’s statement on the final Warped Tour, perhaps it isn’t too farfetched to hope that this isn’t the end. Lyman has been quoted saying that it is the next generation’s duty to figure out how to step up and continue to move this scene forward — a scene that has always fallen in the shadows of the Billboard Top 40 hits. So much so it has become sort of a joke in the scene itself, with popular merch declaring, “DEFEND POP PUNK” or that the Warped scene is dead. Try telling that to the twenty-two thousand people who showed up to be Forever Warpedone last time, sticking out the sweltering heat to make it to 8pm when The Used closed out the Journey’s Left stage, where lead singer Bert McCracken jumped and smiled with glee to see a massive mosh/circle pit open up at their very first song. Or at 9:30pm when Baltimore natives in All Time Low filled the Shoreline’s amphitheater seats (and lawn) to send off Warped Tour in the only way that made sense: an epic, energy filled set that brought together everyone in attendance, the twinkling flashlights from fans’ smartphones illuminating the dark amphitheater as the day came to an end. It was a moment so pure and surreal, it made up for the hour+ long wait in stalled traffic to exit the parking lot after the event.
Though Warped for California has come and gone — the tour continues on until its final stop in West Palm Beach, Florida on August 5th. There are still plenty of opportunities to experience Warped Tour one last time, and you don’t want to miss out. Special guests for the tour are still being announced — including bands such as Taking Back Sunday, Ryan Key formerly from Yellowcard, New Found Glory, Sum 41, Cassadee Pope and so many more who will be playing select dates to make the send-off that much sweeter.
For tickets on the remaining shows, check out the official website here: https://vanswarpedtour.com/dates/
Also, be sure to check out Kevin Lyman’s statement for those who may have missed it: https://vanswarpedtour.com/2017/finaltour/