Warped Tour celebrates 20th anniversary
If there’s a festival that provides activism, fan-interaction and free giveaways along with passion and love for music, it’s the Vans Warped Tour.
The annual traveling music festival stopped at the Fairplex in Pomona for its seventh date out of 42 stops throughout North America.
This summer the tour celebrated its 20th anniversary and showcased a tent that illustrated its history. The tent, “Decades: Warped Since 1995 – Through the Lens of Lisa Johnson Rock Photographer,” had a collage of concert photographs featuring artists like Eminem, Tim Armstrong of Rancid, Pennywise, Paramore, Katy Perry, Deftones and others.
One of the evident traits of the tour was the evolution in music throughout the years. In the early ‘90s, the tour had bands like Green Day and Bad Religion perform who later gained stardom in mainstream music. While the tour continues to cater popular mainstream acts, it has also expanded its genres and covers a plethora of genres.
Despite the scorching heat at the Fairplex, thousands of music fans poured into the fairgrounds. With roughly 40 bands and musicians performing throughout the day, majority of fans first headed toward the giant, inflatable schedule blimp to jot down set times. Others perused through tents, receiving free stickers, bracelets, posters and candy.
Some tents, like the Warheads Tent, offered photo opportunities for attendees who could guess how much candy was in mascot Wally Warheads’ head. A pool-sized foam pit was placed in the center of the tent designed to capture fans in a mid-jump photo.
The tour offered a myriad of bands, fun activities and ways to stay hydrated, it offered a little bit of everything even for parents who were dragged along by their children.
A beer garden was available to guests aged 21 years and older. Slip’N Slide was one of the many alternative ways for fans to stay hydrated, and a variety of food was sold. There was even a cellphone-charging station.
Warped Tour veteran acts like Yellowcard and Less Than Jake noted the tour’s anniversary and the crowd’s enthusiasm. Yellowcard’s vocalist, Ryan Key, said that in his teenage years, Warped Tour featured some of his favorite and inspirational bands and that he was glad to see the festival continuing to thrive.
Less Than Jake’s guitarist and vocalist, Chris DeMakes, said that the band had collectively performed on Warped Tour for 365 days — an entire year of their life, earning laughter and cheers from the crowd.
Throughout the day, bands consistently applauded the crowd for their energy despite the heat and dust that would arise from the constant dancing and moshing. Others who couldn’t handle the heat found refuge underneath tents or sat on the grass, away from the body heat generated from crowds.
As the tour wrapped up, fans raided fences and tents for last-minute giveaways and posters, others mingled on the festival grounds taking in the mess left on the grass and dirt by thousands of festivalgoers.
Despite being covered in layers of dirt, sweat, sunscreen and beer, a majority of fans had a smug smile plastered on their face after a full day of enjoying and experiencing live music.