By Shannon Shumaker
With the Vans Warped Tour making its stop in Denver, Colorado in just a few short days, the self-proclaimed Warped veterans at The Prelude Press have compiled a survival guide for any and all Warped Tour newbies, as well as festival-goers in need of a refresher before they hit the asphalt for a grueling twelve hours of live music.
Denver’s Warped Tour date has always been an unpredictable one. From scorching temperatures to unexpected thunderstorms and even tornado warnings, Denver has it all. That’s part of what makes Colorado so great, but it also makes attending a twelve hour festival an interesting experience, to say the least. Just ask anyone who attended Colorado’s first annual Riot Fest in Byers two years ago, and they’ll have plenty of stories about our beautiful state’s unpredictable weather. (Trust me, I was there, and getting rushed out to our cars in the midst of a tornado warning was definitely an experience for the books, as was watching Blink-182 in the pouring rain.) Thankfully, we have a few tips and pointers in order to keep you comfortable and happy (as well as cool and dry) this year at the Vans Warped Tour!
1. Choose your wardrobe.
Now, I don’t mean pick out the cutest outfit you own. Dress accordingly for the long day you have ahead of you. If you’re planning on staying at the festival for the entire day, wear some comfortable shoes. You’re going to be on your feet for the majority of the day, and flip flops or any other kind of sandals will become uncomfortable very quickly. (Not to mention, they’re very easy to lose if you plan on crowd surfing or moving around at all in the crowd.)
A smart outfit for Warped Tour consists of:
- A lightweight shirt or tank top, preferably of a lighter color. Black looks cool and all, but you won’t be feeling very cool with the sun beating down on you all day.
- Shorts or pants that you are comfortable wearing all day.
- Tennis shoes, or any sort of shoes that you are comfortable wearing for long periods of time.
2. Pack smart.
Again, you are going to be out in the sun and on asphalt all day long, so prepare accordingly. Vans Warped Tour does not allow items such as chains (ex: wallet chains), alcohol, recording devices, firearms, weapons, knives etc., or any illegal substances into the venue, so keep this in mind as you are packing for the festival.
Good items to pack in a small lightweight backpack are:
- One sealed bottle of water or camelback. (I started taking a camelback to Warped Tour with me a few years ago and it was one of the best choices I ever made. The venue usually has water bottle refill stations, which makes carrying one of these very convenient.)
- A small snack. On top of staying hydrated, you’ll also want to make sure you get something to eat, and if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on food, I highly recommend this.
- Some paper and a sharpie to write down set and signing times. The sharpie will also come in handy if you run into any artists and want them to sign something.
- Your fully charged cell phone and (if needed) a portable cell phone charger. Service at the venue can sometimes be spotty with so many people in one place, so your phone’s battery may drain quicker than usual.
- A poncho. I know sounds a little bit ridiculous, but you’ll be thanking me when it starts pouring out of nowhere and you can’t find a tent to stand under. A poncho at Walmart literally only costs $1 and it is totally worth it, because let’s be honest, Colorado is known for unpredictable weather.
3. Go with the flow.
I know that everyone has the one band that they absolutely have to see at Warped Tour, and that’s totally cool, but easily one of the best parts about the festival is discovering new artists that you have never listened to before. While bigger bands such as Pierce The Veil, Black Veil Brides or The Wonder Years are some must-see artists for many fans this year, there are also some smaller bands that definitely deserve your love.
While you’re not busy eating, rehydrating or checking out the merch booths between bands, I highly recommend just walking around the festival and watching the first band that catches your eye. If you’re having a hard time deciding which new or up-and-coming artists to check out, fear not! We have some recommendations for you:
’68 - You may be familiar with ’68 frontman Josh Scogin’s old band, The Chariot, and if you are, then you know why ’68 is worth watching. While they’re only a two-piece, there is no lack of energy on stage.
Beautiful Bodies - This group is definitely a breakout on this year’s Warped Tour. Just skim their photos on Facebook or Instagram and you’ll understand why when you see pictures of band members hanging from the rafters or leaping into the crowd. If you’re looking for a crazy performance, this is your band.
Bebe Rexha - Bebe Rexha isn’t your typical Warped Tour artist, and that’s what makes her so worth watching.
Born Cages - Having just released their new album, “I’m Glad I’m Not Me,” Born Cages have something to celebrate. Their sound is on the poppier side, which is why they’re part of the newer Beatport stage, which hosts quite a few great artists this year.
BoyMeetsWorld - If you’re a fan of good old fashioned pop-punk, then BoyMeetsWorld is the band for you. They also had a rather rough start this year on the tour, with their bus breaking down a few times, so they’re in need of some lovin’!
Jule Vera - If you enjoyed Echosmith last year at Warped Tour, then Jule Vera is the band for you! Their new EP Friendly Enemies is full of catchy melodies and choruses that are sure to put you in a good mood.
Kaya Stewart - At only 15, Kaya Stewart is embarking on her first Warped Tour this year. With a bit of an electro-pop sound, she is another nice change of pace from the usual bands on Warped Tour.
Moose Blood - This will be the band’s first time performing in Denver, making it a set you do not want to miss. Moose Blood has been gaining quite a bit of momentum over the past few months and are sure to blow up after this year’s Warped comes to an end.
Trey The Ruler - This year’s Warped Tour is the first with comedy and spoken word performances, and if you’re going to check any of them out, Trey The Ruler is definitely worth your attention. He will be performing as a special guest on the acoustic basement tent.
The Karma Killers - Dubbed one of the breakout bands of this year’s Warped Tour by founder Kevin Lyman, The Karma Killers are well worth checking out.
4. HAVE FUN!
That’s about it! As long as you stay hydrated and remember to lather on some sunscreen, this year’s Warped Tour is destined to be a great one! Let us know which bands you’re excited to see or which smaller acts you want to check out below in the comments.