By Brian Ossip, DC Music Live
If you’ve never been to the Vans Warped Tour, the odds are you’ve probably still heard the horror stories: It’s hot as hell. It’s sweaty. The crowds are insane. There are actually too many bands and tents set up to really see everything. The band’s sets are too short. Well, that’s all generally true. But it’s also true that the Warped Tour is hands down one of the best musical experiences, and best bets for your money, that you can possibly find.
The 18th edition of the annual summer festival rolled in to the Merriweather Post Pavillion on July 24, and this year over 75 bands, artists and musicians filled up the nine stages and tents. Acts ranged from rock and metal to electronic and hip-hop, with some of the more well known names coming from veteran acts such as New Found Glory, Yellowcard, All Time Low, and Taking Back Sunday.
Despite the heat, there were numerous areas to refill your bottles with free, purified water to help people stay hydrated and an abundance of areas to hide in the shade for a bit to cool off. Some vendors were even handing out handheld fans for people to cool themselves off with.
One of the great things about Warped Tour is the lack of ego amongst the bands; they aren’t trying to compete with each other or steal fans from another band. Maybe the greatest example of this is how each set time is determined on the day of the show, and even a huge, well-known band like New Found Glory can play on a random stage at 2pm in the afternoon, as they did at Merriweather.
All Time Low played the main stage on this date, most likely because the pop-punk band originally hails from the Baltimore area. The amphitheater was packed to capacity for their set, which featured hits like “Weightless,” and “Dear Maria, Count Me In.”
Perhaps one of the biggest crowds of the day came from Pierce The Veil, who are appearing for the third time on Warped and are fresh off the release of their brand new album Collide With The Sky. The four-piece from San Diego, CA took the stage on the Kia Rio Stage in the amphitheater at 7:25pm, and ripped through a blistering six-song set featuring “King for a Day” off of the new record, and fan favorites like “Besitos,” and “Caraphernalia” off of their 2010 release Selfish Machines.
Other standout acts included pop-punk and Warped Tour veterans New Found Glory who took to the Kia Soul
Stage at 2:10pm, clad in their matching band basketball jerseys. Despite the heat, and the fact that their stage was at the bottom of a slight hill, thousands of kids piled in to catch their set. And they didn’t disappoint; in their brief set they ripped through a few of their hits including “My Friends Over You,” and even threw in a rocking cover of Green Day’s classic “Basket Case.”
Yellowcard also took to the Kia Soul Stage for an energy-packed set that included “Ocean Avenue” and their latest single, “Always Summer,” off of their new CD Southern Air, which hits stores August 14.
DC Music Live favorite Patent Pending (RELATED STORIES: Patent Pending Stops at Jammin Java, Talks Touring) rocked out on the Ourstage.com stage, entertaining the crowd like only they can with a number of hits off of their latest release, Second Family.
Lostprophets played an early set on the Kia Rio Stage at 12:35pm but despite the early time, the pit and seats in the
amphitheater were packed to capacity. The band didn’t disappoint, playing a few of their biggest songs, like “Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast),” and “Last Train Home.”
Overall, the 18th edition of the Vans Warped Tour did not disappoint. The bands were incredible, the venue was awesome, and all in attendance had a great time. If you’ve still never attended a Warped Tour and you are a fan of rock, pop-punk, and even metal, it is essential to add this to your schedule for next summer. And don’t let the horror stories scare you off!
Stay tuned to the site for more coverage of the Warped Tour, including interviews with a few different bands.