Farewell Warped Tour
Farewell Warped Tour
Warped Tour began in 1995 and will be coming to an end here in 2018. It’s an end of an era, and I’m not going to lie about my feelings about this- it’s saddening. Most people are familiar with the main sponsor of this music festival, Vans but not everyone is aware that Vans became the sponsor after the first year of the show’s existence in 1996.
I was able to attend the Mansfield, Massachusetts stop on the tour marking my fourth (and my wife’s fifth) consecutive year of doing so. I have never had a bad time there to be honest, despite any weather extremes. Usually, the weather is blazing sunshine but a couple of years ago the heavens opened and rain poured for eleven hours with thunder and lightning sprinkled in for good measure.
If you are unfamiliar with this event, allow me to describe it. There are several stages set up upon which fifty or so bands will perform half-hour (give or take) sets from roughly eleven in the morning until about nine-thirty at night. There are four stages that are side by side, and while bands play on stages one and three, stages two and four are set up. Then while stages two and four are being used, stages one and three transition from the bands that were performing to the bands that will perform next. These are the stage where the more well-known bands will play. I’ve personally seen Gwar, Black Veil Brides, Falling in Reverse, Motionless in White, Set it Off and Asking Alexandria on these stages. Although, they had been on some of the smaller stages in the past, so it was nice to see them move from those stages to the main stages.
There are several other stages, based on the size of the venue, where lesser-known and local bands play. There are also dozens and dozens of vendors – mostly for the bands themselves selling their merchandise – but there are also Vans-specific vending tents selling shirts and hats and the like.
One of my favorite amenities of the festival is the fact that for two dollars you can buy a schedule of when and where each band is scheduled to play. Because of this, you are able to plan your day. You can see which stages your favorite bands have been assigned to and how you can navigate the venue in order to maximize your enjoyment of the day.
Because of the time of year the festival takes place, certain changes to each venue’s normal, day-to-day operations get changed. For example, I went to the Xfinity Center. Normally at this venue, backpacks are not allowed, nor are water bottles or food. During Warped Tour, though, all of these things are not only allowed but encouraged. There are purified water stations added to allow people to refill their water bottles, and backpacks- while still searched as a matter of security- can be used not just for the band merch you buy but also for sunscreen, snacks, medications, etc. There is also a large “reverse daycare” for parents of younger attendees who aren’t old enough to transport themselves to and from the show that has seating, is full of water and is air-conditioned. This is a great amenity, and certainly helps not only with attendance but also allows younger fans to experience a truly unique opportunity.
I am truly sad to see Warped Tour come to an end. I enjoyed the show, I enjoyed the camaraderie of the massive gathering of rock fans. I have found that, especially here in Massachusetts, the lack of judgment found at rock shows is very encouraging. Everyone is there because of their love of music. It doesn’t matter how you’re dressed, or what you look like. All that matters is that you’re there to enjoy seeing live bands and have a good time. This, above everything else, is what I think I’m going to miss the most.