The Vans Warped Tour is currently on the road celebrating its 20th year of bringing the rock to the kids. The tour, originally catering to the punk and ska crowd during its earlier days, brings an eclectic array of musical acts across the United States and Canada every summer. While I’m not a fan of most of the acts on the tour I am usually able to find a handful artists worth enduring the hot Pomona sun for every year. Thus I have made the trek out to the Pomona Fairplex every year since 2005 save for last year where I just couldn’t get the time off work.
In that time I have learned that my 3 best friends to help survive the chaos that is warped tour are, sunblock, carbs, and booze. Thankfully I had a good amount of all 3 and I escaped with a sunburn that wasn’t too horrible and some slight pain in my foot( I guess I’m getting too old). For this trip I was accompanied by my faithful photographer and friend Nick Serrato, as well as my sister and one of her pals. While we each split up into two groups and did our own thing for the day our pathes did cross from time to time.
Nick and I set off on a mission of sorts to do as much exploring as possible, in fact we did so much exploring that we accidentally ended up in a car show also being held on the fairgrounds that day while trying to find the press area. While lost in a sea of sweet rides and middle aged men we found a bar serving drinks at half the price of the warped tour and loaded up. However, once we realized it was time to get back to the rock show we had a bit of an issue with security. Apparently they didn’t believe we were there for the warped tour. I mean its not like we had our tickets still on us, had band t shirts on, or were wearing several press credential bracelets or anything. Once we were able to get back in we managed to catch a few bands, learn to play the drums, watched some buff people flex, saw a few comedians, got hair cuts, and drank some more. Also, I got to rap on stage with MC Lars for a bit which was basically the best thing ever.
Speaking of bands, we had the great pleasure of seeing Citizen, Candy Hearts, MC Lars, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, Lee Corey Oswald, Grey Gordon, Silverstein, Senses Fail, and The Wonder Years. The set of the day hands down belonged to MC Lars, of course I am a little biased given that I got to rap on stage with the man but no act we saw that day put on a bad set. If anything I was left with the typical warped tour dilemma of wanting more. Although, I suppose that’s how a good set should feel regardless of venue. Just means I’ll have to catch everyone I saw on their next headlining tour, whenever that may be.
Bouncing around the whole day eventually did become a bit difficult but thankfully the surplus of tents and free water helped with that. One of our favorite tents that day was hands down the acoustic act tent. It was pleasantly cool and relaxed while still allowing fans to enjoy some awesome music. We had originally tried to see the always wonderful Koji while we were down there but ended up missing him. Luckily we were still able to see Grey Gordon rock out for a bit.
Perhaps what was the most welcome addition to the warped tour was the comedy tent hosted by Grant Cotter. Twice a day Grant would host a show full of comics hand picked by him to help bring some laughs to the kids. While the nice change in pace was appreciated I have to say that tent was extremely hot and I for the life of me cannot figure out why. Especially when the acoustic tent right across from it is so cool. Does Pomona hate comedy? That’s the only reason I can think of. Maybe special guest Joe Sib was just too hot for us to handle! The world may never know.
Despite getting a bit more sunburned than I would have liked and being made to feel older than I really am by the abundance of small teenagers I truly did have a great time at warped tour. You can expect to see me there again next year to help celebrate the warped tour finally being old enough to drink! In the mean time check out some of the rad pictures that Nick took in the gallery below! (click to scroll through)