Vans Warped Tour 2016 – A Juggalo’s Experience
Normally, you probably wouldn’t expect to find a juggalo in the midst of all the participants of the annual Vans Warped Tour. In fact, you might even believe that there’s no way a juggalo could be at all interested in punk rock, pop punk, heavy rock, or any other related genre. However, as an established subculture, there is so much more to us than just running around with painted faces and bottles of Faygo. We all have differing tastes in music, movies, video games, and so many other hobbies. It makes absolutely no sense to try and categorize us all into one big, misunderstood label. That being said, allow me to also set the record straight about my own taste in music. Sure I love underground rap, but I’m also a metalhead, punk rocker, and so much more. I’ve never set myself to one standard of what I like, so I’ll never be ashamed to say what I do and do not enjoy in the music world.
Now when I arrived on the scene of the Vans Warped Tour stop in West Palm Beach, Florida on July 3rd, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Aside from being drenched in sweat and needing to drink gallons of water, I was essentially going in blind. I had only ever heard of what could be considered a handful of the bands that would be there, so everyone else was sure to be a surprise. After all, isn’t that part of what makes Warped so great? You get the chance to discover new artists, as well as reconnect with the ones that you already know. With that in mind, I will now give ya’ll my experience at the 2016 Vans Warped Tour, starting with the bands that I saw for the first time who really blew my mind…
I had previously written about Emarosa for one of my Artist Spotlight‘s, with the hope that the positive things I had heard about them would be proven right. They happened to be the first artist I would see that day, and I must say that I was completely blown away. The entire band was absolutely filled with energy, especially lead singer, Bradley Walden. He went so hard for the whole set, even doing a big backflip that made me question how on earth he was able to do that. Although I had never listened to their music before, I can honestly say that after such an energized set along with great music, I will be paying more attention to this group.
The Color Morale
I was very excited to see The Color Morale live, as I had always heard good things about their music. Even though I went into their set not knowing much of anything about them, I’ll be honest in saying that their catchy and vibrant songs really set the tone for wanting to hear more. I couldn’t get enough of how much soul is poured into everything that they do, especially when it comes to showing their fans some love. One moment that really stood out to me was when lead singer Garret Rapp told security to allow any fan that came over the barricade after crowd surfing to come forward and shake his hand. That is truly a moment that I won’t soon forget.
I had only ever heard of Vanna in passing, but never really thought too much about giving them a listen. After Warped Tour, however, my mind has definitely been changed. The energy and emotion that the band puts into every song shines through endlessly. It’s clear how much passion they have, as well as how much love and appreciation they have for their fans. The crowd in front of them seemed almost never-ending, and I couldn’t help but be happy for them. I know all too well how great it feels to experience your favorite artists live, so I felt a serious connection with the fans and the band.
Now this is a band that I could really learn to love. Young Guns are incredibly energetic and passionate, and it’s clear that their fans can feel this aura. I’ll admit that I didn’t know who these guys were before that day, but I know now that I won’t forget them. The band had smiles on their faces the whole set, and as someone who loves to see performers as happy as their fans, I absolutely loved this. In my mind, nothing is better than a band or artist who cares more about the enjoyment of their talent, than anything else that may come with it. As for Young Guns, I can honestly see them getting far within the music industry, and I sincerely wish that for them.
Now as far as talent goes, I was very excited to see some older bands live for the first time. With artists such as New Found Glory, Less Than Jake, Four Year Strong, Yellowcard, Reel Big Fish, and more, this year’s Warped Tour is a serious trip down memory lane. I couldn’t believe that I would actually be seeing some of these artists live, so when I finally did, I felt like a kid again.
New Found Glory
New Found Glory is no doubt a huge staple within the alternative music industry, so getting to be so close to them and experience their energy was incredible. Many of their set songs were personal favorites, and if you’ve ever been lucky enough to see your own seasoned artists live, then you know that containing your excitement is difficult. I found myself not wanting the set to end, so when it did, it felt almost like getting the most amazing Christmas present, only to have it taken away.
Less Than Jake
Less Than Jake are another band that I just couldn’t believe I was actually seeing. Their stage presence itself really sets a fun tone, but when they actually start getting into their set, you know that there’s no turning back. Their terrific charisma is unlike any other, right down to the energetic trombone and saxophone playing. Not to mention, who doesn’t love a group that shoots free merchandise out of a t-shirt cannon? I know I certainly do!
So although this has only been a small percentage of the awesome entity that is the Vans Warped Tour, I’ll end by saying that if you have the opportunity to attend a date this summer, please do it! There will never be another run like this, so be there while you can. Also, if you’d like to see more of my own experience, feel free to check out my full photo gallery!