Tuesday, 7 August 2018

A First and Final Warped Tour

Growing up, Warped Tour was always one of those things I vaguely dreamed about going to, but never thought it would be a reality. It's always been the festival for pop punk and this 'scene', so to speak. Every year we'd watch the line-up roll out and the special magazine features pour in and think just how fucking cool it'd be to have a festival of that size for all the bands we listened to, here at home.

I've always wanted to go to the likes of Reading & Leeds, Download, etc. but they always seemed a possibility, given that they're a quick Ryanair flight away at best. But Warped Tour? Not a chance.

That is, until earlier this year, Warped founder Kevin Lyman announced that the 2018 tour would be the very last, classic cross-country tour. And that's when I knew I'd just have to make the trip. I mean, this is childhood bucket-list type stuff.

We chose two California dates (and made a two week trip around Los Angeles out of it, but more of that in another post): the tour kicked off in Pomona on June 20th, and our second date was to be along the coast in Ventura four days later.

The deal with Warped Tour is - if you're unfamiliar - the stage times (and unfortunate clashes) get announced literally the morning of the show, so the first hour is usually spend sweating in the lengthy queue in and then sweating over the stage times trying to figure out who you're seeing and when (plus thirty degree celsius heat on top of that, thanks Pomona). On day one, most of who we wanted to see were playing after 3pm, so we had a pretty chilled first morning. We watched and chatted with The Maine and As It Is, saw Grayscale, 3OH!3, Real Friends and Knuckle Puck, a few minutes of Tonight Alive, as well as Waterparks' all too brief acoustic set on the Left Foot stage, and ended our evening watching With Confidence at golden hour as the sun set on those hazy Californian hills.

Day two in Ventura was a lot more hectic, but thankfully a lot cooler weather-wise too. We started our morning with Grayscale and chatted with Collin at merch, then John O'Callaghan of The Maine "took us to church" over at the Right Foot stage (it was noon on a Sunday after all). I've never been to one of The Maine's shows before this but I've completely fallen in love with them since Warped - the beauty of the festival, eh? Ventura was also pretty Waterparks heavy - we caught their full set on the Left Foot Stage (no technical difficulties this time around AND we got to hear Rare live for the first time!), then hit up their meet & greet with Can You Hear Me, as well as frontman Awsten Knight's "class" with TEI (I use the term "class" very loosely...). We caught a little bit of Simple Plan, We The Kings, Tonight Alive, and State Champs, chatted with the guys in With Confidence, and ended our Warped Tour experience with All Time Low. Whatever you might think about ATL, you can't argue that they're probably one of the most iconic pop punk bands to come from our generation, and ultimately the perfect band to end our final Warped with!

It will be weird not having Warped Tour around (says she who's been literally twice) - but I guess we grew up with this tour for years (I mean it's literally as old as I am), watching it from (quite) a distance, checking out all the bands on the line-up we didn't already know, and mourning all the sets we'd miss from the ones we did. Warped's been a huge part of this scene and its culture for decades, and has provided an invaluable platform for hundreds of bands in its time, as well as the opportunity for fans to see all their favourites sharing stages, and to even meet some of their heroes.

It sounds corny as hell but going to Warped was an actual childhood dream come true, and just a sick experience all round. So I guess you could say... thnks fr th mmrs? (... sorry)

Next, stop Reading festival!

Check out all my Warped Tour highlights on Spotify below:

Ciara Pollock © . Design by FCD.