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  • Lexy Bouras & Taylor Dietrich

Forever Warped: First And Last Timers Come Together To Remember The Rock Show

Warped Tour is the rock show. Literally, the one from that blink-182 song that we can’t wait to catch once summer rolls around. But it’s so much more than that. It’s tough to describe Warped in a few words, because it’s not really a music festival or a rave… Warped Tour is like summer camp for pop punk kids, ex-emo kids, and lovers of the alternative music scene.

Photo by Yising Kao

Growing up in pretty much the golden age of the Vans Warped Tour, we were both constantly experiencing FOMO. Whether it be from old Fall Out Boy interviews where they talked about all of the trouble they got in on the tour, fan videos of Kellin Quinn jumping in during Pierce The Veil's set to sing King For A Day, or seeing recaps on MTV, we wanted nothing more than to experience Warped Tour for ourselves. Unfortunately, we found that the timing was just never right. So much so, that the whole concept of Warped turned into a bit of a fairytale. There was no way that it could be as amazing as everyone said; it would be getting our hopes up for nothing. We began to think of Warped Tour as this mystical place Pete Wentz wrote about on his MySpace page only. Maybe we’d go one day, but it would just be an average concert. We put it off for years and years, getting picky with the lineup and the tour dates. Until last year, when words in the announcement caught our attention. "Last ever full cross-country tour." Oh no. It was now or never. If we didn't get tickets this time, we'd never be given the chance again. We made up our minds. This would be the year we attended Warped Tour and we were going to make the most out of it, whether it fulfilled our wildest dreams or not.

Sure, we wish we had seized the chance to go to the festival in other years. But somehow, we’re very happy that this was our first and last Warped Tour; because it was so perfect that we’re really not sure any other years would have been able to top it. Warped Tour exceeded our expectations, and it is surely going to be one of the brightest memories we’ll carry with us for years and years to come.

We jotted down some favorite highlights from our Warped dates in the notes on our phones. Despite the fact that we attended Warped in two different cities across the country, after reviewing them, it seems like we have too many amazing memories to recount in one article. To make very long stories (at least the way we would tell them) short, things such as getting into Waterparks's intimate acoustic set, with an air-conditioned tent and a front row seat directly in front of Geoff, made Taylor feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Walking right up to the seemingly empty Knuckle Puck tent just to be greeted by Joe Taylor himself didn't hurt, either. Lexy will never forget the amazing friends she made in unlikely places, and will also never stop missing the feeling of being barricade for her first ever All Time Low show, and being able to hold hands with Jack Barakat duing “Dear Maria, Count Me In”. But even just the little things such as finally hearing 'Check Yes Juliet' live and watching State Champs play directly after The Maine gave that same effect as well. The people we thought of as unicorns that only lived in the pages of Alternative Press, such as Awsten Knight, Patty Walters, and Dan Lambton, were all playing on one day in one venue and we were there to see them all. That is truly the magic of Warped.

On that note, we want to remember that Warped Tour was a launch pad, a mystical summer camp stepping stone that all start up rock bands dream of. Warped creates fantastic memories for fans and bands alike. One of our favorite stories was told by Jeremy from Lighterburns, sharing that the very first band he crowdsurfed to was We The Kings, and how surreal it was to him when a few years later on this final cross country run, him and the rest of his band ended up hanging out and sharing a beer with We The Kings at the barbeque after the first night of tour. Or this touching anecdote from Mayday Parade: turns out they were once amongst the bands that followed Warped Tour and promoted themselves outside in line. Imagine that. Mayday Parade walking up and down the lines of people just waiting to get inside so they could view the day's lineup and stop standing around in the heat. Those people must have turned their heads the other way and tried to tune out what the band had to say. Now they were playing the very last Warped Tour on the main stage. Mayday Parade thanked Kevin Lyman for giving them that opportunity and their fans for believing in them. We realized at that moment that no band would be able to have that opportunity anymore. Sure, there were other ways to make it from the bottom to the top, but there would be no more Warped Tour success stories. There would be no more 'Warped was my first concert, now I'm playing the main stage with my best friends.' And putting that into the grand scheme of things, this iconic tour coming to an end suddenly seemed so much more real.

So why will we miss Warped Tour? Well, for one, we’ll miss that special feeling for ourselves. The feeling of being in the crowd, getting crushed in the pit while subconsciously trying to remember when was the last time we applied sunblock. Casually walking from one band's set to the other while randomly running into the members of other bands as if they were high school friends. Screaming alongside best friends from eleven in the morning to ten at night. Spending all day in a blazing hot parking lot surrounded by awesome people and the music that you love. We’ll miss what Warped Tour is- sunglasses, floral shirts, and bucket hats. It’s also tattoos and spiked boots and studded crop tops. It’s sunscreen and sweat and helping up crowdsurfers and maybe going a little too hard in the mosh pit. It’s meeting your favorite artist, discovering that local band is actually really good, and maybe even finding your new favorite act in the sea of sound. Warped is whatever you make it, and we’re going to miss that. We’re going to miss the music and the feeling of community and acceptance, no matter how weird stuff gets. We’re going to miss the Warped culture, best exemplified by the colorful crowds, merch tents, and the normalized image of taking a break by sitting on the concrete eating overpriced french fries and listening to Set It Off play in the distance.

But most of all, we know we’ll miss the recurring home Warped Tour provided so many with each summer. The hope it gave to aspiring bands. The reassurance it gave to punk kids whenever they felt lost.

Thank you for everything, Warped Tour. May you forever be off the wall and in our hearts.

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