Dust, blood, sweat and smiles don’t begin to describe a typical day at summer’s largest traveling music festival. Currently in its 23’rd year, the Vans Warped Tour returned for fans of all genres to enjoy their best day of the year on July 9 in Hartford, CT.
Originally created by founder Kevin Lyman as a festival for alternative rock music, the tour has adapted in it’s over 20 years of activity to cater towards a variety of music genres. This year, the tour made an effort to reign in metal and hardcore fans by featuring bands such as Gwar, CKY, Hatebreed, The Acacia Strain, Municipal Waste, Anti-Flag and Carnifex.
Alongside these musicians, bands such as Bowling For Soup, Goldfinger, Jule Vera, Streetlight Manifesto, Watsky, Neck Deep, Alestorm and Plain White T’s worked to showcase the festival’s diversity in musicians.
Besides showcasing bands and musicians such as the popular Andy Black, Never Shout Never, Beartooth and Dance Gavin Dance, the festival also had a knack for highlighting up-and-coming bands and bringing them into the spotlight. With this year’s Full Sail Stage, Knocked Loose, Trophy Eyes, Movements and Boston Manor are a few of the bands on the rise that were able to give everything they had to their performances.
Although the main stage bands tend to bring in the largest crowds at the festival, this year fans should focus their attention on the Mutant Party Zone, the set of two stages side-by-side labeled Mutant North and Mutant South. The two stages which focus more on heavy music, held hidden treasure performances by some bands that shouldn’t be missed.
Blessthefall, the five-piece metal band from Arizona, put on a genuine performance that kept fans entertained from start to finish. Whether it’s frontman Beau Boken jumping into the crowd to sing with his fans, or guitarist Elliot Gruenberg jumping and getting in fans’ faces with his guitar, Blessthefall were a highlight of the Vans Warped Tour lineup this year for many reasons.
Even for Warped Tour attendees who don’t enjoy heavier music, Blessthefall are a must-see band on this year’s tour. The consistent energy from every member of the band make watching Blessthefall a genuine pleasure. Besides the fact that they don’t miss a beat, there is not a moment of silence during their set. They will go out of their way to make sure everyone in the audience is noticed, and thoroughly entertained. Where some musicians may get on stage and play their instruments, Blessthefall showcase what a performance really means.
Another band that knows how to perform for their fans is Gwar. Fans will find themselves in a sea of fake blood while watching the legendary rock band takeover Warped Tour. Opening sets with a decapitation and then blood spewing onto the audience leaves nothing but smiles on fans faces as their white clothes turn into light shades of red.
The crowd became filled with smiles as fans chanted, “God what an awful racket,” and went out of their way to have their white t-shirts they bought for the show covered with blood. For the sake of the experience, make sure to watch Gwar on the Vans Warped Tour. Depending on where you stand, you will leave with minimal blood on your clothes, and an understanding of why Gwar are a once in a lifetime rock group to see.
Whether you’re a fan of pop, rock, heavy metal or rap, the Vans Warped Tour has you covered for a good time. For fans that attend to see multiple bands they adore, they will get their money’s worth for an entire day of meeting and watching their favorite bands they may not get the chance to see elsewhere. Although it’s difficult to get the entire Warped Tour experience in one day, you’ll understand why it continues to be the longest running music festival in the country, and continues to dominate the music scene as the must-see music festival of the summer.