If you know anything rock, you know the Vans Warped Tour. Since 1995 the Vans Warped Tour has been the biggest touring punk rock music festival, hosting as many as 100 bands per show. Tens of thousands of music lovers show up for this event year after year and congregate approximately 10 different stages.
It's been a long ride since 1995. What started as a punk rock and ska tour, now features mostly pop punk and alternative rock. This change is disappointing to Warped Tour Veterans, but good news for corporate sponsors and popular media.
The New York show was this past Saturday, August 5th, and I could be found leaning against the barricade, front row, during the Bouncing Souls set. The Warped Tour is a bittersweet experience, hard to describe. You arrive with the intention of catching all of your favorite bands, and then you realize how nearly impossible it is. There's a blowup billboard with the lineup and schedule, and the chances of your selected bands not having conflicting set times are very slim.
Band favoritism aside, it's blatantly apparent how forced advertisements and commercial corporations overshadow the original and long-forgotten mission of the Warped Tour --pure music. Now, you have to have Cingular Wireless to cut lines or get updates via text messaging. You've been standing in blistering heat for hours and guess what? You have to pay four dollars for a bottle of Aquafina or Gatorade. "Scene" kids lurk by the myspace tent, a website that has defined their entire lifestyle and robbed them of any fiber of originality left in their bone.
After checking out the blow-up lineup, I went to watch The Academy Is perform. They played their classic "Slow Down" followed by a cover of Gnarl's Barkley's "Crazy," which had all their fans confused as to whether they should be shocked and upset, or just dance along to William Beckett's crooning.
Not five minutes into the set, the first mosh pit of the day was full under way, and I witnessed a kid kick-flip and land on his head (on concrete, mind you). He passed out and was carried away, beady eyes and all, by two nearby male fans. You gotta love them emo kids, they'll watch you break your neck in the pit but they'll wisk you away and take care of you immediately (and maybe even shed a tear or two). Had this been Ozzfest, that guy would've been mercilessly trampled.