With the final Vans Warped Tour approaching, many people who will be attending this last run through will be new to Warped Tour. Since it is the last chance to experience the music festival, many people who have never attended will try their best not to miss it.
About six months before my first Warped Tour, I spent hours researching it and reading survival guides to prepare myself. Sadly, a lot of things can go wrong at your first Warped, and I ended up leaving early, throwing up and crying, and missed my favorite band.
I don't want that to be you so please read these tips and tricks because worst case scenarios can happen to you.I also encourage you to research other guides, especially YouTube videos, because they have time to talk through all the details. Read up and research before you go.
1. Bring a snack and water bottle
The quality of food at Warped is not comparable to the quality music. At my location, there are pulled pork sandwiches every year for $10. Yes, $10 for a pulled pork sandwich on Wonder bread. If greasy BBQ and hot dogs don't sound like they mix with hot weather, you are absolutely right.
You are allowed to bring snacks into Warped Tour, so make a PB&J and bring some granola bars, and you'll save money that you could be using to buy merch, and you will be less-likely to get sick.
2. Water is key
A better word choice may be hydration because this is essential to surviving Warped Tour! Bring a sealed water bottle or an empty reusable bottle because you will be drinking more water than seeing bands.
Warped Tour has a hydration station where there is free water you can get any time throughout the day. If it's your first time, look for the hydration station in the first hour so you know where to get free water instead of spending $4 on new water bottles.
Please, constantly drink water. Warped Tour is such a hot day that you can be drinking a lot of water and still not need to go to the bathroom. Hydration is what fuels your energy and health, so make this a priority. If it helps, set timers on your phone to drink.
3. Bring cash
Most merch tents take credit and debit cards but keeping cash is a safe idea. When they open the gates, you will have to get to the big billboard with the bands or pay $2 for a paper schedule. You will not find out the times your favorite bands are playing until the day of so if the paper schedule will help you keep track of everything, get it. You can also use cash to buy ear plugs, water bottles, and other random items.
4. Wear cool clothing
My first year I made the mistake of wearing a quarter sleeve shirt and black shorts. Avoid black or any dark colors. This may be common sense, but it will make such a difference.
Do not wear skinny jeans, trip pants, long shirts, jackets, etc.
Do wear minimal light clothing such as a tank top, t-shirt, shorts, and a swimsuit underneath it all.
Do not wear a hat if you plan on moshing
Do wear Vans or athletic shoes
Do not wear sandals, flip-flops, or any open-toed shoes
Do wear sunglasses or a hat if you don't plan on moshing
Also, think about something you may not mind getting wet in. There are slip and slides at every warped and it's a great way to cool down.
5. Wear a drawstring bag or backpack
Perks of drawstring bags: It fits some merch, it's hard to steal, and it's not heavy.
Perks of light backpacks: It fits more merch, it doesn't flop around, and it doesn't dig into your shoulder.
I've heard arguments for both sides, so take your pick. Whichever is best for you, go with it, but make sure to bring a bag. You will be getting lots of free bracelets, CDs, and the best place to keep your merch and essentials is in your bag.
Some essentials for your bag are sunglasses, hair ties, chapstick, sunscreen, a portable phone charger, your phone, a water bottle, your ticket, earplugs, etc.
6. Don't mosh unless you know you can handle it
Last year I made the mistake of following my Metalhead adrenaline and rushed into a mosh pit that I couldn't see into beforehand. I ended up being the only female, who is 115 lbs, in an aggressive pit of all men. I knew it was a bad idea once I got in, and within seconds I was kicked and I fell.
I smashed my nose into a guy's leg, and it crushed part of the cartilage permanently. I got a bloody nose, and both my knees were bleeding. Moshing can be so fun and great, but make sure you watch the pit for a minute before jumping in.
7. Take breaks
I was so overwhelmed at my first Warped Tour that I refused to take breaks or sit in the shade. Of the many mistakes I made at that Warped, this ran my energy down so fast. While you are planning your day, plan to take long breaks. Plan to sit in the shade for one or two hours of your day.
8. Plan your day, but plan to break your plan
The reason I missed the meet and greet of my favorite band was because of my lack of organization. There were so many times of meet and greets in front of tents and signs while I was in line that I mixed up the times and didn't get to meet my favorite band.
Plan your day realistically. You will not get to see every band you like and you will have to accept that. You can see more bands if you don't stay for the entire set, but you still can't catch 50 bands in one day. Make a list of the bands you want to see, in the order of importance, which makes it easier once you get your schedule.
You can write on the back of your schedule or use notes on your iPhone. With this in mind, break your schedule. Check out a band you've never heard! This is at the heart of Warped Tour. You could find your next favorite band! Go walk around, use the slip and slide, talk to random people.
9. Check out non-profit tents
Make time to walk around and check out all the tents. There are amazing non-profit organizations, Vans tents, and record label tents. I got to talk with a Hope For The Day representative, who shares my same Christian faith, and getting to know him made my Warped Tour experience better.
10. Allow time to sit after eating
I had to leave my first Warped Tour sick because I ate a pulled pork sandwich while watching a band and then realized I was late to my next show. I ran to the stage and moshed. Please leave at least an hour in-between eating and going to see the next band. This could be a great chance to walk around and look at tents.
11. Drink water and use sunscreen every hour
You will still probably get a light sunburn, but you can prevent most sunburns by putting on sunscreen hourly. Drink water at least every hour to make sure you stay hydrated.
12. Don't be on your phone
This is one of my biggest tips. You cannot experience Warped Tour in the way it was created if you spend any time on your phone. Kevin Lyman, the founder of Warped Tour, said the tour was a backyard party.
In the 1990s, it was like a backyard party, full of music, skateboarding, and fun. Phones are one of our biggest distractions and can steal what could have been the most precious experiences of our lives.
There is nothing like Warped Tour. If this is your first time, it's okay to take some pictures. But be there in the moment. Be present. This tour has, and is making history, and you can be apart of it.