Vans Warped Tour 2018:
Man, oh man. With this being the final cross-country run of the Vans Warped Tour, there was a lot of hype as well as expectation for the tour, and without a doubt, did the artists and crew of the tour deliver. For those of you who aren’t familiar with how Warped Tour works, every morning the crew sets up several stages at the state’s/city’s designated pavilion, across the country. From here, the 80+ bands are each given a 25-30 minute set, and the set times for each band shifts every location. Warped Tour normally starts around 11:00 AM, and the show normally wraps up around 9:00PM. So, throughout one’s day at the Warped Tour, you can discover various new artists, catch some of your favorites, and you can check out all of the cool tents stationed around the venue along the way.
Let’s get into the specifics for this year’s run, shall we? As stated before, with this being the last hoo-rah, everyone expected top notch content, and that’s exactly what they got. The outline of the lineup for the tour was fairly stacked. The tour brought artists such as Simple Plan, Four Year Strong, Sum 41, Mayday Parade, 3OH!3!, Real Friends, Crown the Empire, Reel Big Fish, and so many more big name artists. Additionally, Lyman, the creator and founder of Warped Tour, announced that this would be the summer of special guests, where big names such as: Senses Fail, Less Than Jake, All Time Low, Bowling for Soup, Beartooth, and many others joined the tour. Even though many criticized the tour for allowing those artists to only appear on specific dates, practically every date had at least one special guest, which made each and every day slightly different.
From here, the possibilities skyrocket. Each band truthfully took the time to originate their 30-minute set to maximize their time with the crowd. Throughout each set, by every artist, they would remind the crowd that “this is it, so give it all you got”. This put the crowd into maximum overdrive, and that may even be an understatement. Within each performance, the crowd would scream the band’s lyrics, jump, head bang, mosh, start a circle pit, crowdsurf their hearts out (guilty as charged), and just have a genuinely good time. Throughout the day, no matter the weather, you could see that every single person in attendance was giving it everything they had, in their best way, because everyone there clearly had/has a love for this genre and scene of music, and this tour has helped to flourish that. Another key shift from this run compared to the others is that the audience was very loving, for anytime someone fell down: everyone around them paused and picked them up, with every crowdsurfer: the crowd worked together to get them to the front, safely, etc. The dynamic of this tour signifies, at its core, a family, and that is exactly what Lyman has spent years developing. Here, at the Warped Tour, you’re able to meet your favorite bands, meet new people, and enjoy this music scene with people you love. There truthfully isn’t anything like the Warped Tour, and that can be said for a variety of reasons. One of the main ones is that it is hard to describe because it’s one of those things that you have to experience it, to get it.
Overall, I would give this year’s Warped Tour a 5 out of 5 stars. I landed on this score for a variety of reasons. The first reason is that since everyone knows that this is it, each person who came truly came to have the time of their life, which made the day even more enjoyable, for you are surrounded by people who are there for the same reasons as you. The other man reason I landed on this score is because the lineup for this tour is rock solid if you are looking for the perfect blend of nostalgic artists and new ones, which makes for a beautiful mixture of music that you can experience throughout one day. Furthermore, I would say you really don’t have an excuse to not attend your local Warped Tour date because, why not? This is the end of an era.
Additional, Sappy Thoughts:
It saddens me personally to see the Warped Tour come to an end. For me, my Warped Tour summers started in 2012, and I haven’t missed a year since. Warped Tour, conceptually, is one of the smartest music festivals on so many levels. This tour allows attendees to see so many different acts within one time frame while being exposed to thousands of people who like the same things as you do. Additionally, this tour is killer for artists, for it is the best way to gain exposure as an artist. I’ve watched so many bands start on the smallest stage on Warped Tour, and then years later they are a part of the main stage. One can’t really watch that development anywhere else. Like I said, it is with a heavy heart that my Warped Tour summers have come to an end, and I can only hope that this ending doesn’t crack the foundation of this music scene, for it is on an upward progression. It’s nonsense to worry about that now, but I am more than fortunate for my summers at the Warped Tour, and all I can do is thank Kevin Lyman and everyone that makes Warped Tour possible for six fantastic years of great music.