It’s summertime, and for most people it’s beaches, vacation, and fun in the sun. However, for a select few, it’s the yearly music festival, the Vans Warped Tour! For those unfamiliar with the Vans Warped Tour, it’s a touring music festival with big name acts in the alternative and punk scene. Hundreds of thousands of people attend this music festival for moshing, crowd surfing and enjoying the music. This year, Kevin Lyman, the founder of Warped Tour, is basing it on “back to basics”. During the live-streamed lineup announcement, Lyman said “this years tour is really about bringing it back to basics. It’s just about simplifying”. Acts such as Sum 41, New Found Glory and Good Charlotte are kicking it old-school pop-punk. While newer acts such as Waterparks, State Champs and Knuckle Puck are bringing in the new generation of pop-punkers. Warped Tour has also enlisted currently popular bands such as melodic post-hardcore band Sleeping With Sirens, or metalcore act Falling in Reverse. With the diverse styles of music, from pure metal such as Atreyu, to acoustic like Saywecanfly, this year has made it out to be quite promising. And promising it was!
Starting off the day, we saw Mayday Parade. A pop-punk band fronted by Derek Sanders. While we missed the very beginning, it was still a fantastic start. Playing some of their older songs, they also incorporated many new songs from their most recent album. On the stage right next to Mayday Parade was We the Kings. At some point, you have probably heard their famous song, “Check Yes Juliet”. They played many fan favorites, such as “Say You Like Me” and “Sad Song”. They even brought out Machine Gun Kelly, who is a Cleveland native, and had him perform a snippet of his song “Wild Boy”. We the Kings also performed “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World, which got everyone singing along. They definitely knew how to play a great set! We had some downtime, which was used to buy merch, and energize ourselves because Sleeping With Sirens was about to play. Managing to get through the crowd was a bit of a challenge, but we were able to snag a good spot. Starting right away, they played one of their newer but popular songs, “Kick Me”. They had everyone singing loudly, and I was out of breath by the end of the song. Continuing on, Kellin Quinn knew what to do to keep everyone excited despite the humid temperature. The band amassed a huge crowd that jumped, sang and moshed the entire time. Ending with their iconic hit, “If You Can’t Hang”, I was breathless by the end of their set.
Trying to get around the large crowd that Issues was gaining, we took some time off to eat and walk around. Around this time, we realized we were in a bit of a dilemma. Crown the Empire, who I really wanted to see was playing at the same time as Good Charlotte. Because of the genre difference they were set up on different stages, but close enough that we could run back and forth. So deciding that we could not miss either band, we split up the sets. Running too Crown the Empire, they opened up with one of their new songs “Zero” which is taken from their new album “Retrograde”. Due to being a bit of a heavier band, we stood farther back, but still enjoyed their set. The crowd was definitely rocking out to Crown the Empire, as a huge mosh pit formed in the front. While I loved the set, I wish I could have stayed for the whole thing. But Good Charlotte was playing and my friend loves them. Quickly sprinting, we were in the far back of their enormous crowd. I didn’t really know any of the songs, but I could tell everyone else did because everyone was singing along. Even though I really didn’t know any of the songs, they still put on an incredible performance. After they ended their set, we walked around for some more merch and even got a picture with Alternative Press’s Nick Major! Since Sum 41 was a pretty iconic band I wanted to watch their performance. Getting into a spot where we could see was incredibly hard because so many people were trying to get in too. We were in the back, but very tightly packed with so many other people. I honestly don’t know any of Sum 41’s songs except for “Into too Deep” and “Fat Lip”, but I knew by jumping and crowd surfing going on, it wasn’t hard to know they were extremely popular.
Once they ended their performance, one of my favorite band was up next, Tonight Alive. Literally grabbing my friends and moving to their stage, which luckily was right next to Sum 41’s, so we got a really great spot. I was so excited, and when they started performing “To Be Free” I was so pumped. Next they played the song that got me into them “Lonely Girl”, which had me singing at the top of my lungs. As embarrassing as it was, I loved it. I actually almost lost my voice because of it. Jenna McDougall, the lead singer, gave an amazing speech on living our own lives freely. Due to their latest album “Limitless” being based around the idea of living life and having your own power, it was only fitting to encourage the crowd to believe in self-power. Continuing with their set, they played old songs such as “Listening” to new songs like “Drive”. Tonight Alive closed the set with rocker “How Does It Feel?” Getting the everyone to wave their hands in the air, it was a perfect way to close off their set, and close off Warped Tour.
While Warped Tour recently ended its course for the summer of 2016, I would say it was an incredibly successful one. They brought old-school bands back on tour to bring nostalgia back from when it started, to popular bands that bring in the newcomers. Despite the extreme heat, it was an amazing day and I can’t wait to go back next year!