June 01, 2017

Van's Warped Tour Survival Guide by Pop Punk Radio

It's that time of year again when pop-punks annual "summer camp" begins. The Van's Warped Tour is a fun-filled event with more activities taking place than is humanly possible to fully absorb in one day. Pop Punk Radio is here to help with some tips to get the most enjoyment out of your day.

Rule #1 - Attend multiple dates (if possible). 
Warped Tour traditionally opens the gates at 11am and doesn't end until about 8pm. There can be anywhere around 7-10 stages which will have bands playing at the same times. Chances are very high that some of the bands you came to see will be playing at the same time on opposite ends of the field. Also, set-times are decided the day of the event and are more or less completely random. Some bands post their set-times on facebook or twitter the day of the event, but not always. Prepare to be surprised and try not to be too bummed out when you realize that you will miss one of the bands you came to see. Because...

Rule #2 - Attend With An Open Mind & Explore
The curse that is Warped Tour's hectic and unpredictable scheduling is also a blessing. With so many bands occupying the same space, you are GOING to discover a new band that you did not expect. That is, if you keep an open mind. So you have an hour in between two bands you want to see, walk around and explore! Every year I discover a new unexpected gem. One year, I got to witness the legendary Green Jello who weren't even on the official list of bands performing. They rented out a vendor tent and performed in it. Completely un-expected, and totally amazing!

Rule #3 - Supplies To Bring
  • Water Bottle - You are allowed to bring in a single SEALED water bottle. Take advantage of this! You will be running around trying to see as many bands as possible and if you're like me, you are more concerned with catching the bands you want to see than you are with staying properly hydrated. Fortunately, you can bring in your own water bottle and Warped Tour provides "Hydration Centers" where you can re-fill your water bottles for FREE! Even if you forget your water, Warped Tour tends to do a good job of making sure local vendors keep their water bottle prices affordable. I typically see them being sold for $3.
  • Sunscreen - Bring it in with you if you can but AT LEAST bring some in the car with you and apply it before entering. You WILL be standing in the sun and probably won't notice how bad your sunburn is getting while you are focused on the event.
  • Backpack (or Cargo Shorts) - Some tents provide bags but you may want to keep your hands free. Back in my day, we wore cargo shorts and stuffed our pockets with CDs and t-shirts, but we also had to "walk 5 miles uphill in the snow to get to school" and all those other stereotypical old-man rants. Anyways, bring a backpack if you plan on loading up on free stuff or purchasing band merch. For the vinyl collectors, I've seen some vendors at different festivals selling padded bags or purses that are shaped perfectly for carrying vinyl.
  • Your Ticket - This is a no brainer. Don't be "that guy" in your group of friends who forgot to bring his ticket and had to buy another one at the door. Also, BE VARY WARY if buying tickets in the parking lot. ALWAYS purchase from the Box Office. Avoid the guys that stand around outside the event (usually far away from the entrance) announcing that they have tickets.
  • $$$ - Save up a few bucks before hand. You will need it for water, food and merch! Warped Tour is a great place to get merch from your favorite bands. You will rarely find merch cheaper than from the band itself, so take advantage and save some money on taxes and shipping! This is also one of the best ways to truly support the music that you love as the money that you spend at the band's merch booth typically goes directly to the band itself.
  • Extra Shirt / Clothes - Leave it in the car or buy one during the event. You will be tired and possibly soaked in sweat, not all of which is your own. A fresh change of t-shirt is surprisingly refreshing on the long drive home. In fact, bring an extra water bottle or two as well. Leave them in your car and store them under a seat out of direct sunlight or better yet, in a cooler. You will thank yourself at the end of the day. If you're not cool with germs, bring a bottle of hand sanitizer or hand soap and use one of your extra water bottles to wash your hands when you return to your vehicle.
See the Van's Warped Tour website for more information on what you can or can't bring.

Rule #4 - Participate!
Don't just stand in the back and watch/listen. Get up there in the crowd and get involved in the energy. Do not be shy. Most people are more than willing to let you pass by with a polite tap on the shoulder. Don't expect the first few rows of "super fans" smashed against the stage to be as polite. They staked out their spots early to get as close to the band members as possible and they won't sacrifice their hard earned spots. But you should have no problems working your way into the middle of the crowd towards the pit or where people are dancing or cheering along. Get involved in the energy and enjoy yourself responsibly!

Van's Warped Tour Official Website has tour dates and a list of bands performing.

Check back with Pop Punk Radio shortly as we announce some of the bands that you should not miss during this year's tour!