Festival Review: Warped Tour - Hartford 15/07/2018

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The Vans Warped Tour is a touring music festival that travels around the United States and Canada. At each city and every city, the crew sets up and takes down the seven stages for all the bands to perform on. They have been touring the United States and Canada since 1995. It is the longest running touring music festival in North America, and the largest touring festival in the United States. Warped Tour has introduced thousands of fans at every show to bands they may not have necessarily listened to or watched had the festival not been around. This has led to bands gaining incredible momentum in their careers much faster than they would have normally. The most notable bands are Black Veil Brides, Blink-182, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Katy Perry, and Paramore.

Warped Tour landed in Hartford, Connecticut on July 15, 2018. The doors opened at 10:30, and the first band was on at 11am. The traffic backed up not just on the highway, but about a mile prior to the exit. Thousands of fans came to the Xfinity Theatre to see Warped Tour one last time. As of 11am, they were filling up their last free parking area before people would be forced to pay for parking. The weather was in the high 80’s with high humidity, which makes Warped Tour extra hard. It’s very important that when anyone is outside all day long that they stay hydrated. At Warped Tour, it is even more important because everyone is using up a lot of energy between dancing, crowd surfing, and moving from stage to stage. Security does a great job of making sure the fans stay hydrated, and they do have a first aid tent for all injuries. Because the show goes on until the evening, fans were still coming in at 1 and 2pm.

In the morning there was a threat or thunder storms, so Warped Tour made the decision to have the two main stages inside the amphitheater. By 4pm, they stopped letting into the seating area, and were forcing everyone up to the lawn area. They would occasionally let fans down into the seats as others left. But, this led to fans not being able to see bands that they had paid to see. It especially became a problem around 6:30pm and beyond, when Tonight Alive, State Champs, The Maine, Mayday Parade, and Simple Plan closed out the night. Normally, the main stages are outside along with the two metal stages, and everyone has the opportunity to see the bands because it is an open pit. Fortunately, there were no thunder storms. In the morning, the crew must make decisions based on the information that they have, and they need to keep everyone as safe as they can.

Issues started the day off on the Journey’s Left Foot stage. They played a ten song set, including their hits Hooligans, COMA, Never Lose Your Flames, The Worst of Them, and Mad at Myself. They started the day of right with the fans crowd surfing and singing the songs at the top of their lungs.

Next up was Everytime I Die on the Mutant White Lightning stage. They played their hits, We’rewolf, The New Black, Glitches, and The Coin Has a Say. Fans were crowd surfing their way through Everytime I Die’s ten song set. As soon as the fans got to the barricade, they would go to the back and crowd surf again.

As It Is played on the smaller Owly.fm, but that by no means meant that they got a small crowd. They played a six song set including, No Way Out, Hey Rachel, The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry), and Dial Tones. The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry) and The Wounded World are their two singles from their new album, The Great Depression out on August 10. The fans were belting out the lyrics for all their songs, even the new ones. As It Is always puts on an incredible show and is one not to miss.

The Amity Affliction was on the Mutant Red Dawn stage, and performed their hits Open Letter, All Fucked Up, Don’t Lean on Me, and Pittsburgh. They also played Ivy (Doomsday) from their forthcoming album Misery out on August 24.

Then it was time to head back inside to the Journey’s Right Foot stage for Massachusetts locals, Four Year Strong. They played an eight song set including We All Float Down Here, Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die, Maniac (R.O.D.), It Must Really Suck to be Four Year Strong Right Now, and Wasting Time (Eternal Summer).

Ice Nine Kills was on the Mutant Red Dawn stage and played a seven song set. They played their two new singles, The American Nightmare and Thank God It’s Friday. They also played their hits Communication of the Cursed, and Me, Myself & Hyde. The lead singer, Spencer Charnas, went into the crowd twice in the first three songs. Boston locals gave the crowd a performance fitting for the final run of the Vans Warped Tour.

Crown the Empire followed Ince Nine Kills on the Mutant White Lightning stage. They started their set with their new single 20/20, and continued with their hits The Fallout, Memories of a Broken Heart, Voices, and Machines.

Vans Warped Tour closed the night out with the heavy weight main stage acts performing one after another. First up was Tonight Alive with four songs from their new album Underworld, Book of Love, Crack My Heart, Disappear, and Temple. They also performed their hits Lonely Girl, How Does It Feel? and The Edge. During the Edge, lead singer Jenna McDougall jumped into the crowd to sing the song; much to the pleasure of the fans.

State Champs started their set with their hit All You Are is History, and continued with Dead & Gone, Losing Myself, Elevated, and Secrets. They also played three songs from their new album Living Proof out June 15, 2018, Dead and Gone, Criminal, Mine is Gold. They had crowd surfers coming down throughout their set, and had the whole amphitheater singing along to their songs.

The Maine came out in matching red shirts and pants and started off with a cover of Song 2 by Blur. They sang four songs from their latest album Lovely Little Lonely out April 7, 2017, Don’t Come Down, How do you Feel?, Black Butterflies and Deja Vu, and Bad Behavior.  They also played Am I Pretty? And during Girls Do What They Want; they invited a fan on stage to sing with and for them.

Mayday Parade was up next, and unfortunately for the first three songs Derek Sanders’, the lead singer, mic was not working. Fortunately for the crowd, they didn’t need it. They sang all the words to the songs, including their new songs from Sunnyland out June 15, It’s Hard to Be Religious When Certain People are Never Incinerated by Bolts of Lightning, and Piece of Your Heart. They also played their hits, Jaime All Over, Black Cat, Oh well, Oh Well, and Jersey.

And finally, at 8:25pm was the most anticipated band of the night, Simple Plan. They played a seven song set with songs from Still Not Getting Any, No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls, and their newest album Taking One for the Team. Their hits included, I’d Do Anything, Jump, Addicted, Welcome to My Life, Boom!, I’m Just a Kid, and Perfect. Crowd surfers were coming down left and right, which kept security very busy. Part way through their set, the lead singer Pierre Bouvier brought out a water gun and started spraying the crowd. Simple Plan never disappoints, and they didn’t start now. Vans Warped Tour has left a huge impact on the punk community, and on the country as a whole. Through all the ups and downs the tour has had over the years, they will be missed tremendously.

Words and Photography by Meaghan Brown