Monday, June 23, 2014

Crowd Surfing and Finger Pointing

In honor of summer week, I have decided to write about one of my favorite summer events, 
Vans Warped Tour.


Vans Warped Tour started in 1995 as a summertime music festival of alternative artists. The event isn't your average concert. It is held in either fields or parking lots and goes around either the U.S, Canada, Australia, or Europe. The show began to showcase punk music, but has evolved in its later years to involve all kinds of artists. Tons of bands play each date of Warped and play for roughly thirty minute sets, maybe forty five if they are a headliner. You get a taste of whatever artist is performing without getting a general set you might here at one of their other shows. It's wonderful.

Personally, Warped holds a close place in my heart. Warped Tour was the first concert I ever was able to attend. The year was 2012 and I decided to attend because of headlining ska band, Streetlight Manifesto, Lost Prophets (yes, I'm aware the lead singer did since then) and a band I am no longer a huge fan of, Sleeping With Sirens. Regardless, I was blown away by the day in general and 100% sunburnt, exhausted, and overly enthused. I remember surprising my boyfriend at the time with two tickets to the show and being so enthused that is was our first concert together. Granted, the following year at Warped I spent avoiding seeing this same boy, but that's besides the point.

Vans Warped Tour is an experience from the time you get out of the car and arrive at the venue. For me, Warped always falls in the middle of July. It's hot, you're sweating before you even get in line, and no amount of sunscreen can save you from sunburn. There's always people roaming the parking lots either a) trying to sell something or b) claiming to be a monk and asking for donations. These are just some of the things that make Warped, well, Warped. By the time you get to the front of the line to be let into the venue, you've been approached by twenty unsigned artists walking around with headphones asking you to listen to their demo or EP and to buy their album. I love these people probably the most. I also love the random strangers asking me to do shots with them in the parking lot.

I'm gonna set the scene for a moment. You walk in, there's a place to refill water bottles somewhere near you. Dirt is the same as the air you breath. You look around and all the eye can see is little punk boys and girls. Crop tops and high waisted shorts galore, band tees are everywhere, cut off jeans, vans, toms, or converse are the general attire. You're in a crowd, there are about three people crowd surfing above you. If you manage to be front row, the finger pointing is beyond strong. The ska show to your left is kicking up dirt from the skankers and the hardcore show to your left has a circle pit that is creating the equal amount of dirt. Vendors are everywhere selling food, merch, random shit, etc. It's wondrous.

Though the show can get pricey between a ticket, gas money, merch money, and food, my lack of love for sunburn or the summer heat, and the amount of dirt I have to wash out of my hair after every show, I cannot imagine a summer where I did not attend Vans Warped Tour. Hell, it's a gathering of a bunch of good bands who generally hang around and do meet and greets. What's not to love?

This summers goals:

  • chill with Real Friends
  • Crowd Surf to Punk Rock 101 (or Bowling for Soup in general)
  • Skank to Less than Jake
  • Finger Point Fiercely to TSSF

Happy Moshing,
Much Love,
Lea

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