See You In The Pit

The smell of sunscreen, sweat, and a mixture of e-cigs, real cigs, and weed fill the air. The line to get in is huge, it’s about 9a.m. and 85 degrees but what else can you expect mid August in San Diego. The wait and anticipation is excruciating, Just standing in line surrounded by hundreds of other teenagers in all sorts of band shirts. Everyone talking about who they are most excited for, and suddenly the noise of sound checks makes the wait 10x’s harder.

For 21 years, Vans Warped Tour has been touring the nation. This isn’t your typical summer music festival. Showcasing different bands playing ranging from rock, punk, metal-core, ska, and even sometimes the occasional rap.

This tour has climbed its way to the top. Founder Kevin Lyman has always been the in the festival business, from being part of skating competitions with live music he grew the idea of creating a summer long music festival. But it’s so much more than that.

For many people, this tour has become their summer tradition. Warped has grown on the concept of creating a day for people to enjoy all their favorite bands, with a set up of seven stages for the 2016 tour, more stages means more bands. A significant upgrade from 2000’s Tour where there was only four stages, talk about throwback. Every year it seems the amount moshpits, circle pits and crowd surfers goes up.

In comparison to Lollapalooza, Coachella, Stagecoach, and Ultra all lasting one weekend a year, Warped Tour lasts three months a year, which is longer than any other festival-tour of its kind. Tickets sales hitting quarter of a million for the entire tour and roughly 15,000 in attendance per tour stop, and this tour isn’t slowing down at any time soon.

Lyman invites band new and old onboard this hell of a tour. This year British metalcore band Oceans Ate Alaska will be playing Warped all summer long for the first time.

“It’s very humbling to be asked to play Warped Tour, being able to do something we’ve wanted to do since we were very young is incredible, especially being from the U.K. being an international band asked to come along and play it,” says Oceans Ate Alaska.

Throughout the years, bands like Blink-182, Green Day, and even the Black Eyed Peas have made their debut into the spotlight while on board the summer fest. Warped Tour gives bands the perfect amount of exposure. Anybody can stop by a band’s set and watch, this gives people the opportunity to open up to new music.

Its so much more more than that, this tour has given bands just the right amount pf push to help alot of bands get out there. With the opportunity to donate canned foods at the gates Warped has been able to collect more than 100,000 cans per stop. Warped tour has been built on the idea of allowing non profit organization having a place to speak their minds and show what they are about.

Organizations like Peta, To Write Love On Her Arms, all take part of this tour. Creating awareness to animal abuse and self harm but it also gives them a chance to educate those who are unaware of such problems. Music Saves Lives is one of the nonprofit organizations that is on board this year’s tour. Music Saves Lives is offering backstage passes and VIP privileges to those who donate blood at certain locations and receive vouchers that can be redeemed at their tour stop.

“Our mission statement is simple we want to educate people on the importance of life-saving causes and to use all forms of music and entertainment to motivate to get the message out” says the Music Saves Lives team.

The tents create an open minded atmosphere on the grounds of warped, every year you will find new and old (Like bands) organizations. For many bands in the scene getting the chance to play Warped Tour is probably one of the biggest tour to be a part of. Many would say this tour has inspired them to start their band in hopes of one day to hopping on the summer tour bus.

“I’ve been going to Warped Tour literally every summer since 2003. The older I got, the more I wanted to be a part or have a role on the festival. In 2013 and 2014 we got to play the Toronto dates on a local stage, from there I knew I wanted to play the entire tour. It’s a dream come true for me.” says Like Pacific bass player Chris Thaung.

Meet and greet tents are the most popular by far, band tents are the a little slice of heaven to the typical fan girl or boy. Getting the chance to buy limited edition shirts, first press vinyl, old cds, and posters becomes the highlight of the day for many. It doesn’t stop there though, most bands have signing times which means that getting all those new goodies signed by your music heros and have the chance to get a picture with your favorite drummer has never been easier.

Considering this tour is the summer most refuse to attend due to the weather, but Warped has specific locations where water slides will be your best friends, and free water bottle refill stations will be god tier in the afternoon when it’s bright and sunny. It’s little perks like these that has created such an open environment and a safe place for just about anyone looking for a good time.

Warped Tour has affected and changed the lives of any of those who attend, creating a safe-haven. Whether you are in the pit or standing in the back Warped is a place of acceptance, no matter what you listen you, you know you belong there because it’s such a mix of everything. The diversity has attracted many to this summerfest, and over the years it has become evident that it has been a great contributor to the growth and rise of this tour.

But as time goes on, the tour only gets bigger and bigger. Warped isn’t only just music now; every stop on tour features hundreds of tents those includ- ing band merch, clothing lines, foundations, and charities With organizations like this and a super diverse band line ups Vans Warped Tour just gets better and better.

Warped hits 50 cities this summer creating many opportunities to catch. Whether you are going for the tents, over priced food, a much needed sun- burn, or maybe even the music this tour has something for everyone and is a must this summer.

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Ice Coffee addict, Disneyland lover, Pop Punk and Hardcore (or anything sad tbh) listener, Horror Movie fanatic , with career goals to be a music journalist.

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