Oh man, Vans Warped tour.
Being the 17 year old girl that I am, I’d spent months and months keeping up with what bands would be playing, dates, and other such things to prepare myself for when this year’s Tour finally landed at Maryland’s own Merriweather Post Pavilion. The festival had been going on at least since I was 10 years old, but this year was finally my year to go, and how lucky was I, that it was on a Saturday! My mom, who would be accompanying me, didn’t have to take off work or anything. I felt extremely lucky and excited, but also a little nervous. I have knee problems, and had pulled a muscle in my stomach a few days before. Not to mention I burn very fast in the sun. But Momma didn’t raise no quitter! No matter what, I was going in—and as it turns out, the pain was worth it.
We arrived before the two gates opened. The line was long, but when we finally made it to the east entrance to get our tickets, we were told they were at the other entrance and that we would have to walk all the way AROUND the property! Begrudgingly, we walked all the way to the other side. As we were passing the line, I heard my name called a few times and was happy to see familiar faces, some I hadn’t seen in a long time, all also waiting their turn to enter the pavilion. I would get a chance to say hello and catch up with these friends in between interviews. After all, what’s a music festival without good company, huh?
My first interview was with Kyle, from Sirens & Sailors. As I was interviewing him, I heard my homeboy, Levi Benton, with his band, Miss May I, go on. Levi was the first person I had ever interviewed, and there was no way I’d miss his set. I thanked Kyle for his time and ran to the Unicorn stage with my mom, bumping into my best friend and her boyfriend on the way. As we watched the rest of Miss May I’s amazing performance, at one point, Levi dictated that everybody in the audience start a circle pit spanning from the back of the crowd to the front. I realized we were in the very middle of it, and ducked out as fast as we could.
After the set, we explored Merriweather. The heat was intense, and I needed water desperately. When we found a vendor, I thought it was odd that he removed our bottle caps and threw them into a bin before handing us our drinks. If anybody knows why this is done, please feel free to tell me. We then wandered around, checking out the band tents, vendors, and stages. In total, there were about five or six different stages, not including the pavilion itself.
A friend informed me that Escape the Fate was performing at Monster stage, so we all ran there. It was a hike, let me tell you, from the pavilion. I just about ruined my Vans that I’ve had for two years walking there. It was worth it, though. Despite the signs telling people not to crowd surf, plenty of people were in fact crowd-surfing. Needless to say, I got kicked in the shoulder, and splashed with beer from the frenzied audience. However, Escape the Fate put on a good show, one I would not mind experiencing again one day.
My second interview of the day was with Jason Blades, who volunteers for the organization To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit organization that provides resources for individuals struggling with self-harm and suicidal thoughts. This was kind of a big deal to me, because I’ve had experiences with people living with these issues. Out of all of the charitable organizations today, I’ve always admired TWLOHA and their efforts. It was definitely a fantastic opportunity to interview Jason and hear some of his great advice and words of wisdom.
After that interview, my friends and I ran off to see Never Shout Never perform at Shark stage. At this point, it was so hot outside that people were drenched in mud and sweat. Thank goodness Shark stage was under a lot of shade! Never Shout Never is sort of an indie type band, with acoustic guitars, organ sounding keyboards, bass, drums, harmonicas, and one very deep voiced, hippie-like singer. This was one of the few performances without a mosh pit, so it was very peaceful. It was like a musical intermission, a break from the other insane performances. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so at ease at a show.
When Never Shout Never ended, Pierce the Veil took Unicorn stage, which was right next to Shark stage. I stayed for a few songs, then realized I had about 20 minutes to kill before my Mom and I had to meet up. So, I roamed around again. There were people EVERYWHERE. I thought my junior prom seemed crowded, but this was crazy. I got some food, then met with my mom by Shark stage, where August Burns Red was about to go on. I didn’t get a chance to see them, because I had to do my third, and final, interview of the day.
The final interview was with Sam Boxold and Mike Crawley from Trophy Wives, who were very nice. They seemed so happy and thankful to be on the tour, which set a great vibe for an awesome interview.
After that interview, we went off with some friends to see Black Veil Brides. I’ve seen them before, and, once again, they did great onstage. However, my friend and I noticed that their attire seemed a bit strange. Cutoff black overalls. No offense, guys, but I think you could do better! We stayed for the first 4 songs, then I started feeling sick, and had to go sit and rest.
All in all, warped tour was amazing. I wouldn’t recommend it for the faint-hearted, though. I wish I could have met and interacted with more people, but alas, I couldn’t find the strength to continue walking from stage to stage. I ate, drank, rested, used the bathroom, but still felt so sick by the end of the festival.
I didn’t want to leave, but knew if I stayed any longer, I may have passed out from the heat.