I always have a nervous excitement when I’m experiencing something for the first time, and this past weekend was no exception. I went to the Vans Warped Tour for the very first time on Sunday, July 27th, in Orlando, Florida. For as long as long as I have been a fan of alternative and punk music, I have wanted to go to Warped, but I’ve also had this weird scared feeling about going. Between the heat and this little thing known as the “wall of death,” I’ve had my hesitations. But this year, I decided to set all my fears and hesitations aside, and go.
The day was beyond hectic from the time I arrived in Orlando. My friend and I sat literally one light away from the turn to get to the fairgrounds for at least 40 minutes. Once we finally got in, everything progressed very quickly. After getting our skip the line bands, which, if it wasn’t for donating food to a worthy cause, I would call it a waste of time because EVERYONE did the same thing, we only had to stand in line for less than an hour. And in that time, not only had I sweated off all the makeup I had on, but I got to meet members of two of my favorite bands – The Maine and Real Friends. I had already met The Maine on multiple occasions, but this was my first time meeting anyone from Real Friends. Dave Knox, their guitarist, was walking the line, trying to sell their brand new album Maybe This Place Is the Same and We’re Just Changing (which is easily some of their best work ever.) You can purchase a CD here.
The chaos didn’t quit once we were inside. We scrambled to the inflatable full of set times, made notes, and immediately went to see the first band. We jumped around from stage to stage, but luckily didn’t have to travel far from one band to the next. Our band wish list wasn’t too large, so there was plenty of downtime in between sets, and I am thankful for that. With this downtime, we were able to walk around to merch tents, fill up on freebies, and refill our water bottles.
I think the highlight of my day was seeing and meeting A Skylit Drive. This band was a major component of my senior year soundtrack. I can’t think of a moment when my two best friends and I weren’t listening to them. Unfortunately, in the past six years, I never had the opportunity to see them live. But Warped Tour finally presented me with that opportunity and I had to take it. And standing there, watching a band that I have listened to for a quarter of my life, made all the heat, sweat, and being around extremely smelly people all day more than worth it.
One great things from the day was I discovered that everyone at the show – attendees, merch guys, and bands – are super nice! I swear I got a smile from every single person I passed. I also got a lot of compliments on the shirt I was wearing, which I bought the day of from Arnar Clothing. Check them out here. Their shirts are the best! I even received a compliment from the guys in A Skylit Drive (insert fangirling scream here.)
As the day went on, it only got hotter, and it became unbearable for me. So we actually ended up leaving a few hours early. I was bummed, to say the least, but the only bands that were left were the really big name bands, and the crowds would be insane. I would be stuck in a wall of heat and I knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it.
Even though I didn’t get a full day’s worth of Warped Tour and didn’t get to see all the bands I had intended to see, I really feel like I got a full experience. Plus, I now know what to expect and I’ll be able to plan better for the next year.