Which Way To Warped Tour: a how-to guide
Written by Jaime Terry
Images by : Dianna Augustine, Gianna Haley, Matthew Pock, and Molly Shores
Vans Warped Tour is coming to Charlotte on July 5. You have to go to this festival! Even if you only like one band, go. Even if you’re 60 and still wanna rock, go! Even if you are 13 and your parents say no, convince them that you’ve gotta go! At 13 my daughter convinced me (without backing down) and it was one of the best things she has talked me into to date. I heard Warped stories of a wild concert full of angsty teens from my brother who had gone several years in a row back in the ‘90s. I was unsure about taking her, so I asked some friends who had gone to recent Warped Tours.
After approving of this festival, I planned on being in the shade and out of the way for the day, but things changed very quickly. I ended up rocking out the entire day right next to my daughter. We had a phenomenal day, listening to great live music, meeting bands she loves and bonding with her mom (kidding, I had to throw that in there). This tour has a lot going for it and we will be there every year, here is why we will be and why you should also.
For over 20 years Vans Warped Tour has been a platform for many things: an outlet for kids to come and enjoy their favorite bands; fuel for many local musicians’ careers; pavement for numerous nonprofits, and an open door for local nonprofits in particular.
In March I had the opportunity to get a taste of what’s to come from some of the bands that will be playing on Warped this year. I grabbed my photographer Gianna Haley and drove down to Full Sail College in Orlando for the live broadcast Warped Tour Announcement. Warped Tour founder, Kevin Lyman said that he was bringing the tour back to the basics along with the fundamentals he values in the tour with philanthropy.
The lineup is incredible this year with a good mix of styles including:
This year, Warped Tour is hosting an online battle of the bands. They are all vying for a spot on the stage. Here are a few of North Carolina’s locals who hope to be seen on the stage this year, help vote in your favorite by sharing:
Make sure you visit the smaller stages and support those bands, those bigger bands you are dying to see started out small too.
You can bet I have a lengthy list of who I would like to see, my must see bands are: Sleeping With Sirens (they are the reason I am a writer for Shutter 16, I hope to tell that story one day, keep an eye out for it), Set It off, Issues, Bad Seed Rising, Tonight Alive, Less Than Jake, Beebs and Her Money Makers, Falling In Reverse, Wage War, and Dash Ten.
If you have not yet heard of Dash Ten, check them out! Lyman introduced the female-fronted band as all members being active duty military and a band to watch. Being married to a man who served in the US Navy for 20 years, I hold a spot in my heart for all who serve in the military, so I was excited to see them perform at the announcement party. When they played, I got crazy chills as Corrin Campbell slayed the stage along with members Steve Ebert and Pete Greenberg.
Lyman and those who put on this tour make every effort to ensure not only a good time and great concert, they also want to make sure it’s a safe one and one that everyone who would like to attend can. Even those with limited mobility and disabilities. If you were not aware, Lyman has made sure that the Tour is accessible to everyone. We found this out just before our third Warped Tour through an Alternative Press post about the issue.
There are also some great accommodations for parents who want to take their kids but don’t want to be in the crowd, stand in the heat, or listen to the music; it’s called “Reverse Daycare.” This was one reason I thought I could attend my first Warped Tour and survive. Reverse Daycare is set up just for parents to sit back and relax in a cooled lounge-style tent. Plus, parents get in free! One free parent ticket is available for a paying child under the age of 18. Unfortunately, this will be my last year of being a free parent. Check out what Warped has set up called Warped Tour 101 for more important information about tickets and the tour.
Do you wonder why philanthropy is a big deal for Kevin Lyman to have part of this music festival? I had a phone interview with Lyman last month where he talked about North Carolina’s HB2 law, the nonprofits on tour amongst other issues.
He believes it is important to share with the youth of today the importance of acceptance, having a voice, helping your community, and just making the the world around you a better place.Make it a point to check out the nonprofit tents that follow the tour and sign up to volunteer at one. I will definitely be stopping by the tents of Music Saves Lives, LTD Foundation, Unite The United, and Hope For The Day. Shutter 16’s photojournalist Gianna Haley signed up to run a blood drive with Music Saves Lives, Sleeves Up, and The Red Cross.
Through her campaign page, you can set up an appointment on location to donate, and see why she wanted to do this blood drive. The drive has just opened up with dates available to donate from May 31 to June 28 (located in Huntersville NC). The need for donated blood is serious and can’t come from anywhere but donations. Throughout my life, I have known the importance of having a well-stocked blood bank in every city. My grandmother, who I never met, died when she could have been saved by a blood transfusion. There is also an amazing little boy named Kane who I have had the pleasure of knowing, he is fighting a battle with cancer as I type. Thankfully, the numerous blood and platelet transfusions he has needed to keep fighting have been available for him and others, and they need to continue with everyone’s help and donations.
On top of saving countless lives, if you donate through one of the Music Saves Lives blood drives you can receive a voucher for backstage access wrist bands that will be handed out to the first 100 voucher holders at each tour date. We did this last year and being on stage with some of the bands was an experience I will never forget.
My list of Do’s and Don’ts:
See local and larger bands throughout the day
Purchase a set list
Bring a friend (everything is always ‘funner’ with friends)
If you don’t have a friend, make one at the festival (you at least have music in common)
Stay hydrated, Red Cross is there but you don’t want to sit in their tent and miss out on seeing bands, it sucks
Sign up for Think TEI
Check tents for band signings
Buy merch, lots and lots of merch
Bring canned goods for early entry passes
*Pack a bag, a backpack is great to pack with items needed for your day
Be a douche, respect the ladies and those around you
Forget sunblock, your day at Warped will suck and so will the days of pain to follow
Blame Warped for crowd surfing injuries, the signs clearly state “No crowd Surfing”
Try to sneak back stage, you will look dumb being escorted back out
Lastly, DON’T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!
*My list of ideas of what to “pack” in your Warped Tour survival bag: sun block, cash, two bottles of water: one unopened water bottle to bring in and one to drink in the morning while you wait in the entry line. Bring gum or candy, single-serve snacks (chips, slim jims, Oreos, you name it), pen and paper (you will no doubt meet at least one person who you will want to either follow, tweet or call), Sharpies and stuff to have signed (Cody Carson of Set It Off said on a Periscope video that you better bring your own sharpies because his get ruined by signing sweaty bodies), hat and/or sunglasses, poncho, Ziploc baggies for cell phone in case of rain, cell phone charger, and a fan.
Worst case scenario, you could only bring three things in with you to Warped, they should be an unopened bottle of water, sunblock, and money.
Please stay safe and well hydrated. It gets hot and the crowd gets wild at times, be prepared.
Along with getting to see a ridiculous amount of bands throughout the day across seven stages, there are other opportunities like meet and greets, signings, and TEI workshops which are small group learning sessions with some of your favorite band members. Alternative Press will be there so you can update your subscription to AP Magazine (and meet the adorable Nick Major). You could also end up in the hundreds of photos that Shutter 16 photographers will be snapping all the live-long day. (Those photos will be featured on the Shutter 16 website at shutter16.com soon after so make sure you and your friends come to the site to see photos of yours and our experience at Warped Tour.) Make sure to follow #twitfromthepit to see what’s going on live with Shutter 16 at Warped and every other concert we hit up.