Once a year the youth of America don their band t’s and tank tops and gather at the local date of Warped Tour. Over the weekend Merriweather Post Pavilion hosted the traveling carnival of tents and stages to the delight of thousands in the area. Music fans of all ages gathered to listen to over a hundred bands from all genres of music for a super low sticker price, less than $50 (Beat that music festivals!).
This year’s Warped Tour had its bumps but went off smoothly overall. The trucks were late coming to Columbia due to some problems at the border (the night before the tour was in Toronto). The gates at Merriweather were suppose to open at 11:00AM but were held closed as stages and bands were still arriving at the venue. But in perfect Warped fashion, everything was set up at lightning speeds. Gates only opened an hour late however most of Warped Tour was still setting up in the back woods which was being blocked until 1:00pm. It also did not help that the lay out of the tour changed from the previous few years since Merriweather is renovating parts of its grounds. Staff of the tour had to plan a new layout as they were already delayed and setting up, which they did so quickly and efficiently.
Delays weren’t the only problems the tour faced. The late arrival pushed set times around, causing multiple schedules to be released. This created confusion for many of the attendees and many fans missed some of their favorite bands. Most acts were relatively on time if not 10 minutes early or late depending on the stage.
Warped Tour is a logistical nightmare, moving five stages over a hundred bands and all of their support every night to a new city is one of the biggest juggling acts in the music industry. Sometimes it slips up a little bit, but that’s okay. That’s part of what Warped is. Its not a pretty and polished music festival, it’s a tour giving you as much music as you can possibly handle in a day and to that Warped tour was a shining success as it is every year.
Each band at Warped is hand picked by Kevin Lyman to be part of the tour. Kevin broadened the reach of Warped this year adding several Indie and Alternative Rock bands to the usual pop-punk/heavy metal roster. A daring move on his part but it seemed to have worked well. Adding bands like Alverez Kings and Night Riots added a bit of diversity to the tour and they felt like they really clicked well with the more prominent genres on the line-up. Other artists like Koo Koo Kangaroo and MC Lars helped fill out that diversity even more and made it feel like it was starting to be for all music not just a specific scene.
Most of the performances were a who’s who, of bands that are either emerging or well established. Acts like Simple Plan, Pierce the Veil and Motion City Soundtrack shared their stage with up and coming bands, like, PVRIS, Neck Deep and Set It Off . Overall the show went well. A little rough at the start but once bands were moving it was a non-stop wave of music that was enjoyed by all.