It is a beautiful Saturday morning in Orlando, Florida and the temperature is already starting to hit the high 80s. The crowd is packed tightly into the concourse inside Camping World Stadium and the murmur of conversation fills the area. Suddenly, everyone erupts into a loud cheer and begins pushing towards the adjacent field as the gates open for Vans Warped Tour 2016!
Warped Tour is an annual alternative music tour that travels throughout the U.S. every summer attracting thousands of spectators to each stop. Your favorite music reporter (AKA Me!) has been to this event five years straight. The day is filled with sweat, a little bit of blood (you gotta be careful in those mosh pits) and of course LOTS OF MUSIC.
I attended the festival with a few friends from work, for those of you who don’t know I am a co-manager at Journeys, who is one of the main sponsors of the tour, in my other life. We all eventually got separated as we all had different bands we wanted to see at different stages, there are seven stages that the bands can perform on at different times. This can prove difficult as essentially you have to check out the different set times and map out and schedule your day accordingly between going to different bands sets, picking up merchandise from merch city, and going to signings to meet your favorite bands.
Then the real fun begins. The first bands began playing as early as 11:30 a.m. and continue throughout the day with the closing bands playing at around 8:30 p.m. Before you know it guitar riffs fill the air and hundreds of attendees clamor to the stage to see their favorite bands perform or, in my case, open up a mosh pit to let out some built up aggression. By the time the second band I went to see had finished playing, I had already been elbowed in the face twice, had several bruises, and almost been hit in an area most guys do not want to be hit. Yet I still could not wait to go see the next band, jump into yet another mosh pit and scream my little heart out to my favorite songs.
The highlights of my day were seeing Four Year Strong cause absolute pandemonium during their set and finally getting to see pop punk legends Sum 41, who I have been listening to since I was 7 years old and I’m 21 now. Just seeing all of these bands live almost took me into another reality where nothing else existed except for that moment. However, like all good things, eventually it all came to a close and we all made our way, or in my case limped, back to our cars and made the journey back home.
Once I made it home I finally got to see the damage that was done to my body. Both of my arms were bruised to all ends, as were my ribs and I had a bit of a sunburn. Yet, I still found myself ready for more and wanting to go back. The reason? No matter the damage that was caused this was a day where all the troubles and worries associated with my real life did not mean a thing. It was a day where I was able to forget all of it and just spend an entire day enjoying the music I love. I got to spend a day with perfect strangers who treated me as though they had known me their entire lives as we sang and moshed our hearts out. This is why every year I put my body through this and keep on coming back for more.
Until next time Warped Tour, I say goodbye and wait for your return next summer!