Warped Tour 2011

Let me start this blog entry off by asking you a question: With society the way it is nowadays, would you ever think that there was still a place where everyone was accepted, no matter what hair color you had or if you had chains hanging from your pants or not? A place where no matter everyone’s differences, people came together and helped one another out if a problem arose? Now, I assume you’re thinking, “We’re in high school, of course a place like that does not exist! There are cliques and people judge others if they’re different from the ‘in’ crowd”. If you were thinking that, you are partially correct, but let’s put the 10 months of school aside for a moment and think of the summer. There is, in fact, a place where people come together and act as a family despite everyone’s differences.

This place is called the Vans Warped Tour. The music festival is 44 days long and tours across the United States and parts of Canada with 114 bands ranging in genres from ska to pop to metalcore, along with some musicians who follow the tour to help get their music more known. And if the band is lucky enough, they might score a 20 minute set at their hometown date. This past summer has been the tour’s 16th year running and founder Kevin Lyman has no intention of ending the ‘punk-rock summer camp’ anytime soon.

I was fortunate enough, along with many others, to receive photo passes again this year and it was so surreal being able to take pictures of bands who have music festivals dedicated to THEM in different countries. The first band I photographed was 3OH!3. Being veterans of the tour, the turn out for their set was pretty big! While standing in the photo pit in front of the huge crowd, I could feel the excitement the fans had for Nat and Sean to hit the stage. Five minutes later when they finally did, I could not help but single along to their incredibly catchy songs…as well as dodge a few flip flops here and there (I actually got hit with one in the head. Sean had my back and was about to grab it from my hand so he could throw it back..but security grabbed it from my hand and I got swarmed).


The next band I photographed was A Day to Remember. For the past year and a half, I have become a huge fan of their music and have heard nothing but great feedback about their performances. Right before they stepped out, an introduction speaking about a “tidal wave of terror” and how a “gigantic beast walked the Earth” played as blow up pictures of their faces blew up above the stage.

As soon as they ran out onto stage and played “I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?” the crowd went CRAZY and immediately started moshing. Jeremy McKinnon, singer/screamer, announced by the fourth song he wanted everyone to do the Wall of Death (where the crowd splits up into two and people run into each other). Of course, everyone followed his instructions. The whole set was spot on and was full of energy.

I had to rush from A Day To Remember’s set to Every Avenue’s set all the way to the other side of the Summerfest grounds. I luckily made it to the stage with thirty seconds to spare! The band started off with an old favorite from their album, “Picture Perfect” and played some new songs from their most recent album that dropped August 2nd, “Bad Habits”. While performing their first single from the album, “Fall Apart”, I got chills on my arm because the performance was that good.

And finally, the last set of the night I caught was from the one and only, Paramore! When the band first announced they were breaking up a few years ago, I was heartbroken when I knew I couldn’t make it to their “Final Riot!” tour. Then I found out they were going to be on Warped…and I was going to be able to photograph them. While talking to another photographer/major fan of the band in the photo pit, we couldn’t be more excited, and neither could the crowd! When the band took the stage the crowd was so loud. At one point, you could hear the crowd singing the lyrics over the speakers (and this is being said by someone who was RIGHT next to the speakers!). I kept turning around to make sure I wasn’t about to be squished by crowd surfers coming over the barricade, and when I would, I would always spot people crying. To see a band impact people that much is amazing. Their set was flawless, nonetheless. Hayley could have talked less but all in all, the energy they brought to the stage was crazy. Hayley’s vocals were dead on and the way Jeremy and Taylor interacted with the crowd was hilarious.

Watch what thousands of people experience every summer and what Van’s Warped Tour is all about in “A Look Back On Warped 2011