Coughing up dirt and fragments of gravel would be suited for the lungs of a construction worker or a miner. If you go to Vans Warped Tour, however, the same fate will be bestowed upon you. Six stages across the Merriweather Post Pavilion’s large, grassy field. More than 30 bands ranging from small acts that played in dungeon bars more than concert venues on the MySpace stage to the Vans Main Stage highlighting the showcase bands such as Flogging Molly, Bad Religion and NOFX.
The immense heat greased the skin in mere minutes after being in its punishing rays. Water cost three dollars for a 20 ounce that was consumed in a few gulps. Salt and flavor additive drinks, also known as Gatorade, were a dollar extra. Buying water became a necessity as bringing in outside necessities seemed like it would be banned, but plenty of people lugged around gallon jugs of Deer Park water. A water spigot under a low-pressurized water fountain, no doubt turned low on purpose, was the only way to get water free and quick unless standing in a line of twenty people deep at the only fountain that had good pressure was more your fancy.
The bands, whether they were screechy bands that sounded like someone passing a kidney stone, or Less Than Jake at the main stage, all tried their best to impress. Vamps, a supergroup from Japan, rocked out to a set of dorky, otaku (anime fans) girls and that did not stop them from being the best mostly unheard of band of the day. Their obnoxiously loud riffs led by Hyde, whom looked like Ville Valo of HIM, screamed lyrics like “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll” with the attitude of The Sex Pistols and the old NYC punk scene.
All background ranging from old school, now forty year old punks thrashing around to Flogging Molly, where my glasses were broken by a crowd surfer swinging his legs, to the random Friday night college guy at the Trojan condom booth hoping to get free ribbed condoms and a shirt were all represented. And the best part about it was that everyone got along well. It was like a big party, a disorganized one, but a big party anyways.
The disorganization comes not from poor planning, but from the sheer size of the event. When the whole area is being used for six stages, food vendors, clothing vendors, and each bands tent selling their goods, the place did get quite hectic. But with so much to do in one day and each stage having a new band roughly one hour after another, it creates a lot of walking scenarios to get to where you want to go. However, I like it this way. Everything, just as any convention of this magnitude, has a sense of urgency. It makes for an always engaging time.
Vans Warped Tour is definitely worth checking out and if one engages themselves fully, will go back every year.