Vans Warped Tour 2016
Mountain View, CA
August 6, 2016
For thousands of music junkies, summer is the best time of the year. It's the greatest not just because many tours start to kick off, allowing fans to spend their hard earned money on tickets and merchandise to support their lifelong favorite artists, but also because the annual music festivals take place each year. I've been to several festivals over the course of my life, with some of the biggest production and acts you could possibly imagine. Many friends have attended these same festivals. At the end of the day, we all still agree that Warped Tour reigns supreme in the world of music festivals.
There's something about the Vans Warped Tour that no other festival can capture; it's electrifying. There is no grand entrance, no $300 ticket, and no major mainstream acts (give or take a couple surprises that might be sprinkled in the lineup along the way). It's a safe haven for the music fan. It began in the 90s as a solely punk-rock festival featuring artists like Pennywise, The Offspring, and Bad Religion. It has since grown to encapsulate any genre considered "alternative" or "punk" rock. No two artists are exactly alike, and Warped Tour gives these artists a chance to truly showcase their identity in a stunning way.
This year, the tour stopped in Mountain View during the month of August, and provided a heat-sweltering day, which was a departure given the usually cool Bay Area air and breeze that rustles through the trees surrounding the Shoreline Amphitheatre. In the past, I've seen upwards of nine stage. This year, there were strictly seven. I applaud Kevin Lyman and co. for doing this. One of the prominent stages on the tour, the Kevin Says Stage, was not present this year, and I'm actually rather happy about this. I say this not because any of the acts on those stages in the past were bad, but because I always felt that too many stages contributed to over-saturation and didn't allow many of the local bands booked on that stage to truly shine through. The locked in seven stages, which could technically be considered four (Main Stage Left and Right, Monster Energy Stage Left and Right, Poseidon and Cyclops Stage in the amphitheater, and the Full Sail University stage) provided great acts throughout the course of the nearly ten hour day. I can honestly that from walking around and checking out a little bit of everyone, there wasn't a bad act in the bunch.
The Main Stage itself was dominated by punk (Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish), pop-punk (New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Sum 41, The Story So Far), pop-rock (The Summer Set, Tonight Alive, Mayday Parade, The Maine), and even included a one-off hip-hop set from Waka Flocka Flame. If you wanted to remain on the heavier side of things, the Monster Energy Stage was your paradise. Acts like Whitechapel, Chelsea Grin, Atreyu, and Every Time I Die dominated this area of the pavilion, complete with mosh pits and crowdsurfers galore.
I try to generally avoid going inside the amphitheater at Shoreline during Warped Tour since the crowd is so compacted and it's a bitch to get into the photo pit, but it's important to note that there was such a wide variety of acts on the dubbed Cyclops and Poseidon stages. Intensified post-hardcore (Emarosa), electronic-hardcore (I See Stars), up-tempo pop-punk (Assuming We Survive), easycore (Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!), and straight up punk rock (Teenage Bottlerock) all held down the ship inside the coveted two-sided amphitheater.
Full Sail University Stage was this year's haven for the up-and-coming artist, featuring yet another case of diversified lineups. Night Argent, Capsize, Cane Hill, Palaye Royale, The New Low, and so many more brought their music, laid it out on the table, and said this is who we are, attracting new legions of fans all day long.
The days at Warped Tour are long; it's the hardest tour you can ever travel on. If you survive it, you can pretty much do any tour from here on out. If you're a fan, you may walk away with a sunburn at the end of it, but you'll walk away more musically enriched and educated than you could ever think you could be. This year was no exception, and it proved once again why Warped Tour is once again the king of the punk rock music scene. We'll see everyone at punk rock summer camp next year.
Vans Warped Tour
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