Published on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 by Andrea Mendes
What started off as a showcase for punk rock music and a haven for misfit teens over ten years ago has since evolved into a nationwide tour, featuring up and coming bands every year.
Vans Warped Tour began in 1994 with founder Kevin Lyman. His idea was to create an all day outdoor concert featuring bands that the “outcast” kids would want to listen to.
Today, it is the longest running traveling tour in America. As an annual nationwide tour it features over 40 venues played across America. The tour is home to a diverse group of people, featuring 100 bands playing on over 6 stages.
The initial few tours featured Lymans favorite bands like Sublime, Pennywise, and Bad Religion. The once strictly punk rock tour has evolved over time as the music scene continues to change. The shift in lineup of bands over the last few years went from not only featuring punk rock music, but also featuring alternative and post-hardcore bands.
Over the last few years, bands popular to this music scene, like A Day to Remember, Asking Alexandria, Chiodos, Alesana and Suicide Silence have had their place on tour.
Surprisingly, the tour has brought on bands that are more electronic, like Breathe Carolina and 3oh!3 whose music remains upbeat and easy to dance to.
This tour has often been said to have “no room for rockstars”, touring non-stop away from family for over two months. Bands work rigorously, waking up every day for their fans to do it all over again.
This tour isn’t for the weak either. If you plan on attending, be prepared, there’s no out. Gates open at 11 am and readmission is not allowed. You aren’t allowed to bring in any food or drinks during the twelve hour concert. Luckily sponsors like Monster set up luxury air conditioned tents giving away free drinks to sweaty fans.
The shows are intense. It’s known that many of the more hardcore bands hold death walls and mosh pits during their shows. Fans jump up and down and hit each other repeatedly to the beat of the songs, and although it is extremely dangerous, they are common. Many instances have resulted in people needing to be crowd surfed to safety.
Along with seeing bands play and hanging out in sponsor tents, there are rows of merchandise stands set up, which bands frequently flock to after their shows to do signings and meet with their fans.
This summer, Warped will be making its appearance yet again in Houston, Texas, a date well known for getting rained out during the tour. This year is bringing back an old favorite, Anti-Flag, an original punk rock band that is a veteran to this tour. Pop punk bands We The Kings and Mayday Parade are also being featured on tour.
Taking Back Sunday and Senses Fail are two popular alternative bands that have also joined the tour this year. For the main stage, where I’ll be spending the majority of my time, some of my favorite bands are making their way to this tour. Pierce the Veil, Of Mice and Men, and Sleeping With Sirens will each be featured on the tour.
As a newcomer to Vans Warped Tour I’m excited to have the full experience. Fighting my way to the front row, waiting in line to meet band members I fangirl over, as well as participating in several mosh pits and death walls.
Vans Warped Tour is a show for the fans above anything else. It’s one day where you can forget everything and where your only worry is what band you’ll get to see next.