8 Things I'll Miss The Most About Warped Tour
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8 Things I'll Miss Most About Warped Tour

Warped Tour's last cross-country run was the summer of 2018 - but the fest will continue in the hearts of former emo kids forever.

8 Things I'll Miss Most About Warped Tour

If you're a former emo kid such as myself, you fondly remember Vans Warped Tour: the music festival that featured dozens of bands traveling across the United States every summer. It's a place for metal, pop punk, nu-metal, alternative, rock n' roll, and other various genres to thrive and make themselves heard in a world dominated by mainstream music.

Its deviation from the standard is what makes the festival a success - not only is it a place for unconventional music, it's a place for people to celebrate their own eccentricities and what makes them different. Former emo kids, current emo kids, goths, juggalos, straight-edgers, stoners, LGBT+, and just about anyone else is welcome and celebrated.

I spent nearly every summer of my adolescence attending the tour, and I wish I could continue that tradition throughout my adult life. However, founder and producer of the tour Kevin Lyman marked the end of an era by announcing that the tour's summer 2018 run will be its last. Instead of mourning the loss, I wanted to celebrate - so without further ado, here are the eight things I'm going to miss the most about the punk rock summer camp better known as Warped Tour:

The intimacy between bands and crowds.

What makes Warped different from other fests is the intimacy between not only attendees but bands as well - something I've never been able to find at another festival. Within the crowd, people look out for one another - whether it's protecting people from moshers, helping someone crowd surf, or making sure everyone is hydrated. Warped allows artists to run their own merch stands, walk around the festival after sets, and hold completely free meet-and-greets so they can interact genuinely with their fans - which isn't something you'll find at Coachella or other big-name festivals.

The crowds.

All concerts have their fair share of huge, tightly-packed crowds, but - and I say this from experience - hardcore crowds are a completely different territory. Mosh pits are insane, unpredictable, and can be wildly fun - not to mention the circle pits, walls of death, or that moment when an artist literally jumps into the crowd. The crowds at Warped are energetic, sweaty, unrestrained, and so much more than your typical jumping or arm-waving of a normal audience.

People from all walks of life coming together.

I briefly mentioned this before, but one of the best things about Warped is the diverse population that attends the fest - it's not only beefy, long-haired metalheads like people assume. (Don't get me wrong, they're still there, but not the ONLY ones.) It's people from all different backgrounds, tastes, and styles who have one thing in common: a love for music. And it's not only the fans - the bands themselves are wildly diverse. Every year, the lineup features artists of different races, genders, sexualities, and ages, which is insanely refreshing from seeing the same artists over and over again dominate mainstream music charts.

The emphasis on mental health.

Mental health is something that's always been important to me and to the Warped community as well. Just about every time I've gone, there has been at least one nonprofit sponsor centered around mental health awareness - like Can You Hear Me?, a group that works with artists and bands to raise awareness and support for mental health and bullying. Bands are always supportive of the cause, too.

Making unlikely friends.

With the thousands who go to Warped every year, it's easy to assume the festival is just a gigantic mass of crazy fans who will trample you in order to get to the front of a crowd. To be fair, there are some people like that, but in general, the community is very friendly and welcoming. I've had complete strangers protect me in crowds, lift me up on their shoulders, and talk to me like we're best friends while we're waiting for a band to play. I know I don't have the chance to connect with strangers that often, so I'm super grateful for all of the awesome people I've been able to meet at the festival.

The fashion.

There's no better place to scope out eccentric festival wear than at Warped Tour. The fashion, just like the music, deviates from the mainstream looks you would see at Coachella, Firefly, or other big-name events. Warped style is a bit edgier and more reminiscent of the 90s and early 2000s when punk and emo were at their most popular, featuring everything including fishnet stockings, chains, straps, combat boots, chokers, rubber wristbands, patterned socks, piercings, wildly colored hair - nothing is too emo.

Finding new and local artists.

Most bands on the Warped lineup are hugely successful/well-known artists, but the fest also makes sure to put the spotlight on smaller, local bands. They invite different local artists from each city the tour stops in to perform, which is an incredible opportunity for artists to spread their music and perform on a much larger scale than they're used to. Not only is it a great moment for the band, but it's a chance for festival goers to find some awesome new music from bands located right in their city or state. I've been able to find some incredible material this way, and there's nothing better than rocking out to a band that reps where you're from.

Being able to shamelessly be yourself.

The best thing about Warped Tour by far is how it gives everyone the rare chance to be their complete and truest selves, without fear of judgment. Everyone who diverts from the mainstream, whether it be through style, music taste, gender, or sexual identity, has faced consequences for who they are. That's why the mission of Warped Tour is so incredibly important to me: it gives everyone the opportunity to just be themselves, in an environment where being different is celebrated instead of looked down upon. No matter who you are or what you look like, you're welcome at Warped Tour. All that's required is that you love music.

There are quite literally hundreds of things I'm going to miss about Warped Tour, but I won't subject anyone to that unnecessary list. The bottom line is that I'm a little heartbroken over the end of Warped, and I know I'll be feeling its absence for years to come. The tour's final run truly marked the end of an era, but I find solace in the fact that every emo kid who attended the fest will still be rocking out elsewhere.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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