Warped Tour Memories

Readers reflect as annual tour comes to an end

Underoath at 2009 Warped Tour (Photo by Olivia Notter via Flickr/CC by 2.0)

Way back in 1995 when roaming music festivals catered to a particular demographic, a tour came along that expanded the concept to other genres and in doing so, appealed to the skate punks, emo kids, hardcore heads and more—all with dozens of bands on numerous stages and a decidedly damn-the-man atmosphere, along with dehydration brought on by overpriced water.

Warped Tour (and starting in 1996, Vans Warped Tour), has blistered through the countryside for more than 20 years, but this summer it all comes to an end. Before the gear is packed up for good—and the fairgrounds are returned to the fairs—Long Island Weekly readers recall their memories of the Vans Warped Tour to the best of their ability.

2000 Warped Tour lineup (Photo source: Vans Warped Tour Facebook)

Barry Z. said:

“My first Warped Tour was in 2000 at Randall’s Island. It was pouring rain when we showed up, only for promoters at the gate to tell us that due to the weather, it was postponed. When it finally did kick off the following day, what was mud had been baked into brittle dirt by the blazing summer sun. And in mosh pits, dirt quickly becomes nose-clogging dust. During NOFX’s set, a massive dust cloud built up over the pit, choking the air and filling every orifice in my head. Being a 20-year-old moron, not being able to see or breath didn’t matter to me. All that mattered was experiencing live music at that moment in time.”

Vinny F. said:

“Warped Tour 2000 happened only four years after Sublime singer Bradley Nowell died. For me, those three Sublime albums were the soundtrack to high school. I never got to hear that music live until 2000, when Sublime offshoot Long Beach Dub All-Stars played a set at the Randall’s Island Warped. While the singer wasn’t Bradley, it was a thrill to hear the music that was such a huge part of my life live for the first time. It also was great to see Green Day in 2000 before they reentered pop music with American Idiot in 2004. At the 2000 show, they performed with no gimmicks, no eyeliner and no tweens in the audience. That is how I prefer to remember that band—just pure recklessness for the entire set.”

Brendan M. said:

“My first Warped Tour was Aug. 4, 1996, in Asbury Park, NJ. This was the second year of Warped Tour overall and my first Warped Tour experience. To say it was a pivotal moment for me, is an understatement. It opened my eyes to another world, which was vibrant and just picking up steam, at a time when mid-’90s alt rock and metal were in a very sorry state. It was also one of my first festival assignments as a music journalist and my access to the bands and stages was phenomenal. And what a lineup: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones headlined, at the height of their popularity, and tore the place down. There were also epic performances by Fishbone, Reel Big Fish, Dancehall Crashers, NOFX, Pennywise and CIV. Afterward, I hung around with Fishbone and NOFX inside the Stone Pony and had spirited chats with a drunken Fat Mike and an even drunker Norwood Fisher, who told me, ‘Warped Tour is like spitting in the wind…’ After that I went into the dressing room and had a one-on-one interview with Dicky Barrett from the Bosstones, which was an unforgettable highlight.”

All Time Low at 2009 Warped Tour (Photo by Victoria Morse via Flickr/CC by SA 2.0)

Allison E. said:

“I was 16. An angsty teenager whose ‘woe is me’ outlook on life had her shopping exclusively at Hot Topic. I had an awkward haircut, black eyeliner that was much too thick and a burning desire to see in concert all the punk-rock bands I listened to on my iPod Classic. My friend and I stocked up on sunscreen and bought tickets for Warped Tour’s Long Island date—July 21, 2012, at the Nassau Coliseum. A lot of firsts happened at Warped Tour. I smelled the sickly-sweet aroma of marijuana for the first time and was horrified at how the scent had permeated my clothes. I was asked if I got sprayed by a skunk when I finally arrived home. I saw All Time Low perform for the first time and my emo self nearly fainted at the site of Alex Gaskarth live in person. I survived my first mosh pit and begged my friend to never make me go in one again. I spent copious amounts of money on band merch and watched a video about chicken cruelty so I could get $1. But most memorable was sitting that night with cold, tea-soaked washcloths spread across my shoulders to pull the heat out of my sunburns because I didn’t reapply my sunscreen enough—a satisfying I-told-you-so moment for my mom.”

Alexis T. said:

“In Chicago 2005, I was in high school and went with friends. It was amazing to see a ton of my favorite bands—Paramore, Boys Like Girls, The Almost, Rocket Summer. There were probably four stages with bands playing at all times. And my younger sister crowd surfed and I lost my shoes in the mosh it. It was epic.”

Amy I. said:

“I’ve been to 10 Warped Tours. Your body hates you for it since you’re stuck in 90-plus degrees outside and water is a luxury—also, it’s $20 for a single chicken tender. But I waited around until 8 p.m. to see Bad Religion and The Casualties signed my T-shirt, so it was all worth it.”

Find the 2018 Vans Warped Tour dates at vanswarpedtour.com. Catch your favorite bands at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Amphitheatre on July 28.

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Steve Mosco
Steve Mosco, the former editor-in-chief at Anton Media Group, is a columnist for Long Island Weekly's food and sports sections. He fancies himself a tastemaker, food influencer and king of all eaters.

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