Vans Warped Tour needed a bounce back year. The 2015 installment saw much controversy attached to it that took away from the music and essence itself. With that, it also brought awareness and calls for better treatment of women in the scene. It was time to get back to the music and glee. For many, this is the high point of the summer for those looking to get into their first huge music festival. Given some of the missteps that happened, “the scene” was proclaimed dead and in order for Warped Tour to get back some of the enamor it had, it had to ensure that it was a safe place for people of all ages. Many music fans have that story of walking into a Warped Tour date – ecstatic to get to the big inflatable board to check out the set times for the day.
There are only two sure things for the Camden, NJ Warped Tour stop – heat and a chance of thunderstorms. Thankfully, the spot of rain came after the outdoor bands had wrapped up their sets. At the BB&T Pavilion, the summer heat was in full swing and the threat of rain thankfully held off until the last band played on the outdoor stages. We got back to the frantic energy where people run from stage to stage to see a piece of bands they know and bands they are seeing for the first time.
With so many bands throughout the day, there were a fair share of powerful performances. Emarosa, on the release day of their much acclaimed new album, 131 brought out a choir to sing their single “Cloud 9” with them. The ever charismatic front man Bradley Walton took to the crowd early and often – even on top of a fan’s shoulders. Those are the types of performances that will always stand out to you when you recall how the day went. Buffalo, New York’s own Every Time I Die gave a pummeling performance that matched the intensity of the humidity that was present throughout the outdoor stages.
Within the amphitheater, there was an influx of old and new bands. Yellowcard played to a packed stage in a set that was almost bittersweet given the recent news of their breakup coupled with a final tour and album. Sum 41, which saw the return of original lead guitarist Dave Bakesh uncovered the nostalgia with songs like “Still Waiting” and “Fat Lip”. Yes, everyone still knows all the words and breakdowns to “Fat Lip.
There was a “passing of the torch” that occurs with every festival. For every Reel Big Fish and New Found Glory, there are bands like The Story So Far, Avion Roe, Issues, and The Maine who are going to be ready to take the mantle to be the elder statesmen of their genre. The beauty is that you can often walk the Warped Tour grounds and it be a learning experience. There’s a live element that cannot be encapsulated on a playlist. At the end of the day where many shirts and hats were sweat drenched and skin was sun kissed – Warped Tour managed to be a music getaway again.
You can check out the full gallery here.