Warped Tour: A basic survival guide

Vans provides a flea market atmosphere to music festival attendees (Photo submitted by Kelsey Gronda)

Since 1995, Vans Warped Tour has brought together sweaty teenagers, sunburns and overpriced bottles of water. Oh, and all your favorite bands.

Warped Tour: The Basics

In 1994, Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman wanted to bring together extreme sports and punk music in an outdoor summer concert series. Though it now varies in music genres, it still includes a half pipe for skateboarders and six stages that are set up in a different city in the United States and Canada every day throughout the summer. The tour also features a flea market type atmosphere, with several hundred booths and tents selling everything from clothes to shoes, and food to jewelry.

Katy Perry performing at Vans Warped Tour in 2008 (Photo submitted by Kelsey Gronda)

The tour kicks off this summer in mid-June in Utah and runs through the end of August ending in Oregon. Lyman even added a fall date overseas this year due to the growing popularity.

Warped Tour makes its way to Michigan on July 6, which will also mark its first year at the Palace of Auburn Hills. It has been held at Comerica Park for the past 5 years and featured bands such as A Day to Remember, 3oh!3, The All American Rejects, 30 Seconds to Mars, The Maine and several others.

This year’s lineup includes over 90 bands like All Time Low, You Me at Six, Yellowcard, The Used and Taking Back Sunday.
What to Expect and How to Survive

All Warped Tour tickets are general admission. There will be no seats or shade. Wear shorts and comfortable shoes. If you bring a bottle of water, you will be forced to throw the cap away at the entrance. Hide one in your pocket or in your survival drawstring bag along with sunscreen, snacks, Band-Aids and any other items you think will be necessary.

When the gates open, everyone runs to the bubble that tells tour-goers what band is playing on what stage at what time. Run with them or you will be trampled. Take a picture of the bubble when you get to it. Don’t waste your money buying a program for the day. Go to the stage that has a band playing first that you want to see and take a few minutes there to set your schedule for the day.

A giant bubble provides the lineup schedule for the day's bands (Photo submitted by Kelsey Gronda)

Enjoy your day!

There will be smokers and drug users everywhere you turn (it is an outdoor music festival after all). Merchandise is expensive, so only buy something if you’re in love. Refill your water bottle instead of buying a new one. Stay hydrated and take a few minutes to eat lunch. It will be hot. You will be sweaty. Be smart. Don’t get mad at the kids in the mosh pit that accidentally hit you. Trust me; they don’t know they hit you. Or the kids that are crowd surfing. They are trying to have fun just like you are.

It’s one day and it only comes once a year, so live it up. You will never forget it.