Vans Warped Tour
The Vans Warped Tour was founded by Kevin Lyman in 1994 who had a history of work on events which paired skateboarding with live music and thus decided to create a national tour, pairing extreme sports with live punk/alternative music. He talked to several different sponsors but eventually decided on Vans as the official company sponsor of the tour because of their affiliate with skateboarding and line of “skater-punk” shoes. Today, Lyman not only organizes the Vans Warped Tour but also manages the Taste of Chaos and Mayhem Tours. Well known bands who have been part of the tour include: Blink 182, Green Day, The Offspring, Billy Idol, Incubus, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Sublime, Eminem, Sugar Ray, and Weezer. For information on the 2011 Vans Warped Tour, go online to their website and click on the Dates for the times and locations of the tour, or click Bands to see who is playing.
Having survived the Warped Tour many times before, I know there are many things I wish I would’ve known before going. Here’s some advice for those who may be going for their first time, including what to do before, what to bring, and other how-to’s for getting the best experience at the event.
What to do before getting on the road:
- Make a list of the bands you want to see ahead of time
- Go online to the Vans Warped Tour website and look around the site for printable promotions. These are often released at the last second, and if brought to the designated booth, can be used to redeem free music or other merchandise.
- Get a good night’s rest, because you will need the energy
- Have a big breakfast and drink lots of water or Gatorade on the ride there
What to bring:
- Water/Gatorade – You aren’t allowed to bring water into the event, but you can bring it for before and after the concert
- Deodorant – Warped Tour is a very sweaty, messy place and you will want to bring deodorant. It’s best to put it on right before you leave your car and then you can re-apply at the end of the day.
- Mini Sharpie – You never know who you’re going to meet either at a signing or walking around the show. Despite being constantly asked for autographs, musicians don’t always carry a pen with them, so bring one of your own so you can get a signature from your favorite band. Additionally, you’ll need the sharpie to keep track of your plans for the day. Warped Tour’s band schedule is not released prior to the concert because of the possibility of last minute changes. They display the times and stage locations of the bands on a large sign and also sell schedules and maps but usually run out early on. In case you don’t get one of the printed versions, you can write the schedule for your favorite bands on your arm or another piece of paper.
- Ear Plugs – These are a must, even if you think you don’t need them. The speakers are going to be loud no matter where you stand, and often you’ll get stuck close to one of them. Protect your ears and still enjoy the concert by bringing ear plugs. It will be worth the trouble when your ears aren’t ringing for days after the show. Music is an amazing thing and you’ll want to enjoy it at even more concerts for years to come.
- Camera – This is another essential Warped item. You’ll have pictures and videos of the awesome experience to take home with you and share with your friends. The bands are always fun and sometimes play songs that are unreleased.
- Water Bottle Caps – As stated before, they do not allow you to bring your own beverages into the concert, and to make more money, will sell bottles of water without the caps so you can’t refill and save them. Bring your own caps with you and save money on buying more water throughout the day.
- Gum – There will be many long-periods of time standing in the crowds waiting for a band to start playing. It’s hard to stay hydrated all day long and gum is great for keeping your mouth from getting overly dry and can give you a burst of sugar when you start to get tired.
- Tennis Shoes/Athletic Shoes – Though Warped Tour occurs during the summer,flipflops are not a good choice. Tennis-shoes or other athletic-style shoes are the best thing to wear because they will protect your toes from getting stomped on and are easierto keep on your feet so you won’t lose your shoes in a crazy mosh pit.
- Motrin and TUMs – As much as you may try to prevent it, a long day of concerts can inevitably bring on headaches and stomach cramps, especially in the mosh pit. Bring your own medicine so you can outlast the crowds and have the most fun at your favorite performances.
- Sun Screen – These are outdoor concerts and you won’t be in the shade very often, so make sure to bring sun screen and re-apply a few times throughout the day.
- A Pull-String Backpack – These bags are light-weight, easily shoved into your pocket, and can hold a lot of essential items so you don’t have to. Also their pull-string design ensures that you won’t get anything stolen without noticing.
How to Survive the Mosh Pit, Deal with Crowd Surfers, and Other Helpful Tips
- Bouncers Are Your Friends: . Not only do they catch and alert you of incoming crowd surfers, but they also will get you out of the crowd if you really cannot handle it and can’t get out going backwards. In between bands, they often will provide water and sometimes even food to hard core concert-goers who are in the front of the crowd. After an especially tiring band, a squirt of water into your mouth is rejuvenating. Additionally, making friends with bouncers means a chance for band merchandise that they throw to the crowd or even just drop off the stage, such as guitar picks, drum sticks, and other things.
- Beware of Crowd Surfers: They will come at you hard, often, and without warning.It’s very easy to get someone dropped on top of you or even get kicked in the head so it’s important to look around and behind you regularly so you won’t be caught unawares. If you are near the front of the crowd by the bouncers they will often alert you to a crowd surfer by pointing or standing up high to grab the surfer as he or she nears the stage. If you decide to go crowd surfing for yourself, know that you will get grabbed and thrown around. It’s not easy for the crowd to surf someone, so you risk the chance of falling down on the ground andlosing your shoes or things out of your pockets. Also, crowd surfing isn’t likely to get you to the front of the pit, bouncers will be there to grab you when you approach the stage and you won’t be able to easily get down otherwise.
- Go With the Flow: Surprisingly, it’s the people in the crowd, and not the surfers who need to know how to move through it like water. Moving through crowds is no easy feat, but it’s also not as hard as you’d imagine. Though it doesn’t hurt to be 7 feet tall or just very strong, pushing and shoving will only anger the people around you and bring retaliation. At the same time, if someone tries to shove you backwards or get in front of you, stay calm and don’t over-react, just do you best to hold the position. The real key to moving forward in a mosh pit is making small moves forward continuously during the concert. The crowd will be in constant movement when the band plays and openings will appear often. This gives you the opportunity to get closer to the stage and without having to fight your way through. Another thing to note is that the crowd is packed in a way that it becomes almost a support system. If you get pushed or pulled in one direction, the best thing to do is go with the crowd and do your best to stay standing because it will balance itself fairly quickly. If you do happen to get knocked down, people will help you up and get help if necessary.