How to survive Warped Tour

The Rocket Summer performs at Warped Tour on the Alternative Press stage. Photo by SYDNEY RODRIGUERA

It’s the event that never needs billboards of advertisement along the freeway. It’s the event that encompasses few to zero radio-popularized artists. It’s the event where anything and everything goes. It’s every paranoid parent’s nightmare and every teenager’s dream. It’s the Warped Tour.

Thanks to Kevin Lyman, the creator of Warped Tour, teens and young adults have been able to experience one of the most electrifying alternative music tours of all time.

Summer of 2010 was Warped Tour’s 16th birthday. Featuring bands as local as Carcerys Vale (Marysville) to names as big as All-American Rejects and everything in between, the tour is a nod to all types of popular alternative rock bands.

The concept of how Warped Tour works is a bit confusing for anyone who’s never attended.

This is no typical concert event. There are around 10 stages set up for the bands to perform.  Each stage has its own specific schedule for each day. But the bands are constantly switching up what stage they play at and what time they perform. So for example, if your friend attended Warped Tour on a different day than you and saw Alesana on the Ernie Ball stage at 6 p.m., that doesn’t mean you should assume that you’ll see them on the same stage and at the same time. So, unless you can find a way to research the stage schedules in advance, you may not want to start planning your agenda just yet.

On a normal basis, you can purchase a schedule at the entrance when you get there. Or if you want to save a few bucks, you could always take a picture of the giant public schedules usually posted around merchandise tables. Looking at a picture on your phone or camera to schedule your day is just as effective as buying one. And saves you a few bucks that can be better spent on a tray of garlic fries later.

Also, when you get to Warped Tour, remember to bring a lot of cash with you if you plan to buy food or merchandise. Those merch tables are enticing, and filled with exciting new never-before seen tees and wristbands from everyone’s favorite bands. So bring a lot of just-in-case spending cash. Or be forced to pay an unnecessary $6 at an evil ATM machine to withdraw cash.
Another tip is to make sure you’re hydrated. Unfortunately, Warped Tour has experienced hooligans in the past throwing water bottle caps at performers and now do not allow you to bring in water bottles that have removable lids on them.

My advice to you is to bring a reusable water jug that has a lid that is somewhat strapped to the bottle itself.

Or if you don’t want to use that method, bring in multiple empty disposable water bottles to refill at drinking fountains. Warped Tour is an outdoor event, which means water fountains are usually available to the public. Filling up on water there can save you a bundle of cash. Also, if you hide your bottle caps at the bottom of your purse or backpack, or slip it into the back of your shoe or the waistband of your pants, they usually won’t catch you. Thus, you can cap your bottle throughout the day so you can have a drink even when the nearest water fountain is on the other side of the lot. And you’ll need constant hydration for when you shove others out of the way to get to Oli Sykes. But I know what you’re thinking. Why in the world should I go through all of the trouble to hide my bottle cap at the entrance, when I can just purchase a bottle of water inside and use that cap? Because there won’t be any cap! When you buy water or soda at the event itself, the vendor is forced to confiscate all bottle caps from you to keep up with the rules.

So just bring your own bottle and sneak a cap in. It’s the easiest way to deal with the infamous Warped Tour water dilemma. And just pinky promise not to throw your caps or bottles during performances. Smacking Kyle Even in the head with a Dasani cap will not make him love you. I promise.

So once you’ve got your water situation figured out and you have some sort of copy of the schedule, it’s time to make your way to either the merch tents or your first show.

It’s a good idea to decide every band you’re planning on seeing. Mark down on your schedule or on a piece of paper what bands are your biggest priorities, and schedule your day accordingly. And also, be sure to find out what time of the day your favorite bands are doing meet-and-greets, if you’re interested in that …which most people would be.

Remember to keep an eye out for musicians while you walk around the merch tables. You don’t want to stumble right into someone like Derek Sanders or Travis Clark while picking up some PETA fliers and not even pay any attention to them. When they’re not signing autographs at meet-and-greet time or performing, these stars can’t spend the rest of the day locked in their trailers. They walk around and watch other shows, of course. So make sure you’re on the lookout for any musical celebs that might pass you by. Even five seconds of one-on-one time with them can be life-changing.

 To minimize your chances of theft, make sure you keep your bags and belongings in front of you if possible while watching performances. People in moshpits or large crowds behind you could sneakily take things out of your backpacks if you’re not careful. It will be way too noisy for you to be able to hear them behind you. These people are ruthless, so make sure you keep a close eye on your belongings.

And though moshing can be fun and playful, it can also get treacherous if unstable people are involved. There are lots of adults at Warped Tour who might be drinking or getting high before or during the event.

You could be minding your own business, enjoying hearing Christopher Drew Ingle sing “Trouble,” when all of a sudden, a scary drunken forty-two year old man could bash into you and start a commotion in the audience.

So when you and the rest of the crowd load into an amphitheatre, or huddle near a stage, try your best to get a spot in the crowd that’s near a security guard, just in case any funny business breaks out.

And for memorabilia-purposes, stay after the shows if you’d like a copy of the set list or a guitar pick. If there are any left over, you might get lucky.

Finally, remember to enjoy the day. If you go about your schedule as planned and successfully watch all of the bands you hoped to see, Warped Tour can be one of the most exciting days of your teenage/young adult life. Just remember: Get hydrated, be aware, follow a schedule, take advantage of merchandise, meet as many people as you can, take care of your things, eat garlic fries … and oh yeah, have a crazy amazing time!