Warped Tour is a punk rock institution… and it always will be. There, I’ve said it. You can whine and bitch about how the masses of kids who infiltrate it are “posers” or into way too much pop, but guess what? They don’t care, and in the true spirit of punk, nor should you. As a teenager in the UK I could only dream of going to Warped Tour, and in 2012 I made it a reality when some friends of mine (Rise To Remain, now As Lions) were on the tour playing all summer and they invited me to join them. It was incredible and I became hooked! In total, I’ve been to six Warped USA dates, and a British one, too. This year’s was super fun as always, because who doesn’t love a California catch up?
Mainstream music keeps Warped Tour alive. It’s the summer, people want to have fun, and hugely popular bands often have catchy as hell songs for people to sing and dance along to with their friends. If you don’t like that, guess what? You don’t have to go. Or you could go, and just listen to something else – a key point to celebrate should be its diversity. Alternatively, just shut up, have a few drinks, and chill out (you know, if you’re not too straight edge or anything…!)
Warped Tour for me, this year, was all about Ventura. It’s a coastal Californian town and you’ve got the beautiful backdrop of the beach instead of some mucky field in England. Sure, the actual event is held in a car park (sorry, parking lot), but it’s nice and sunny and there’s the bonus of a sea breeze. Warped Tour is officially done for 2015, but if you’re planning a trip for next year, go for it.
My little road trip group met up with some of our best friends from the Parahoy cruise, Arielle and Erin, and it was awesome to see them. We also hung out with the infamous cruise celebrity “Rainbow Beard” aka Adam Reiter and his gorgeous wife Beth. I also bumped into some other blasts from the past while I was there too. It’s a small world, I guess.
A photo posted by Claire Louise (@xo_clairelouise) on
My favorite bands of the day were actually predominantly British, which was awesome to see them represent. The Moose Blood acoustic show was ridiculously intimate, but they managed to command relative silence in their tent for people to appreciate the beauty in their songs. They work so well acoustically that I personally could have listened for hours, but the sets are pretty short. I also caught Transit, some old favorites of mine and a band who for me, truly break the mold of their genre. For me, it was a no-brainer that rising stars PVRIS would steal the show, and they didn’t disappoint. Love these guys and I know they’ll go far.
I also rocked out to the awesome Mallory Knox, as always, but I was gutted to just miss While She Sleeps, especially because the lovely Mat was the one who sorted my pass! Throughout the course of the day, I also caught a bit of Pierce The Veil and a couple of others, too, but mostly I was all about soaking up the atmosphere.
If you’re a Brit going to Warped Tour, you’ll need to be aware of the following things. It’s a totally different environment. I have a friend who actually asked me the other day what Warped Tour is. In short, it’s an all day outdoor festival that tours for roughly 9 weeks all over America. However, it’s a little different. Here are the five key differences I need to point out to you:
1. Set times aren’t announced until the day
It gets pretty annoying if you’re like me and happy to show up late to avoid traffic, but in a way it’s cool because it gives smaller bands a chance to play late some days so that people like me don’t always miss their sets! You just have to go find the times when you get there. They’re up on this giant wall thing, or you can usually buy a programme for like £2.
2. 21+ drink in a playpen
Heaven forbid people enjoying a glass of wine mix with someone who’s 19. This isn’t Reading and Leeds, guys! You can’t just grab your pint/box of wine and mosey on down to the main stage getting suitably hammered. Nope, if you enjoy a tipple, you’ll be locked in a grown-up playpen with other old people and you can’t leave until you’re done. It’s just super annoying.
3. There are guns at the Warped Tour
Guns are fine, wine isn’t! I won’t say too much about this, because my opinions are controversial and this is just a post about the Warped Tour. However, the key demographic is like 15 year old girls. I personally don’t think you need armed police at a place like that, but what do I know? Americaaaa.
4. You have to leave at 9pm
Everyone drives in America, and most people are too young to drink (not that it stops the drink drivers…). The idea behind finishing early is so people still get home nice and early. I actually kind of like it because it means you can go party sooner! Kinda sucks if you’re not staying out though.
5. … Unless you have an invite to the aftershow BBQ.
If you’re invited to the aftershow BBQ,you can basically stay until bus call. I’m a huge fan of the Warped Tour BBQ, and this year I was grateful to WSS for my invite, and to PVRIS for inviting my friend Sophie (not that she and I hung out much!). You get free hot dogs and stuff courtesy of a different band every night, you just have to be sure to tip. I got lots of free wine this year too… oops. Someone even got married at the BBQ this year!
A photo posted by Claire Louise (@xo_clairelouise) on
The one thing I don’t like is how if you don’t know someone, you can’t stay. In the UK the afterparty is often the best bit, but there’s none of that here for everyone else (probably because of the drinking age!). Plus, industry people aren’t usually treated as well as they are back home and I don’t think press even get invited, which is a bit ridic if you ask me.
Overall, the Warped Tour is part of what makes American summer so great. I’ve met a ton of people there, and had some great times. Anyone who disagrees should probably just sit home and go all keyboard warrior at 15 year olds who are trying to neglect the likes of just Nicki Minaj and listen to Five Seconds of Summer instead.
The irony is clearly lost on you that these kids have to start somewhere, so I’m sure the fun and the sun would be lost on you as well.
What’s your dream line up for 2016?