Friday Discussion: My First Warped Tour

by Zack Zarrillo - Jun 7, 2013


Warped Tour is eight days away. For most of us, this will not be our first time in attendance, but it will be for many. We thought it’d be a great idea to do a new PropertyOfZack Friday Discussion on our individual first Warped Tour experiences, as well as throw in a few experiences from bands as well. of our first shows, and our list includes some staff members and bands as well. Check out our Discussion below and feel free to reblog with your first Warped Tour!

Related Stories:
Warped Tour Preview: Our Must-See Bands And Acts 


2003, by Adrienne Fisher
Despite growing up in Pennsylvania, my first Warped Tour was in June 2003 in Indianapolis during a vacation visiting family. A quick fib to all of our parents, and my cousins and I piled in my uncle’s pickup truck to attend one of my first un-chaperoned festival/road trip events. As far as shenanigans go, though, it was fairly tame (although reading back on my old journal entry of the event, I can’t believe how I used to crowdsurf with such boldness and audacity). 

2003 Adrienne would definitely like you all to know how much she loved seeing AFI and Thrice for the first time, and how she made friends with some guy at the merch tables singing along to Rancid’s “Ruby Soho,” and how mad she was that her cousins were too wiped out at the end of the day to get in the pit with her for Less Than Jake. 

I also may or may not have cried during The Ataris’ set, witnessed (from afar) my first wall of death during the Suicide Machines, got a belt signed by Pierre of Simple Plan and bought my copy of Take This To Your Grave at a random distro. Definitely a day that 16-year-old dreams are made of, and now that I’m refreshing myself on how great that lineup looks, my 26-year-old dreams might be made of that day a little too.  — Adrienne Ray Fisher


2004, by Brandon Allin
Warped Tour has long been a staple of my summer. In 2002, I begged my parents to let me attend, only to have a slew of safety concerns thrown back in my face. The same debate took place one year later, but alas, once again I was shot down. 

It wasn’t until the summer of 2004 that my mom let me experience the summer circus first-hand. She bought me tickets for the Toronto date, which was at The Docks that year, a venue situated on the edge of Lake Ontario and overlooking the city of Toronto. I didn’t have any idea what to expect, but I can still remember the adrenaline coursing through me like never before. This was my chance.

When the day finally arrived, I was blown away by not only the sheer volume of incredible punk bands (many of whom I quite literally idolized at the time) all in one place, but also the endless legions of punk kids around me. I finally felt at home. I was able to catch sets from Yellowcard, NOFX, Good Charlotte, Bad Religion, and Fall Out Boy, among others, but it was a half hour performance by New Found Glory that cemented me as a Warped Tour junkie for life. A missing shoe, a pair of ripped shorts, and a pounding headache wasn’t enough to stop me from returning in 2005, and it still isn’t enough to stop me going today.

2004, by Jason Stives
Going to multiple Warped Tours throughout my teens and early twenties, everything starts to blur together, but I remember certain things about that first time back in 2004. It was at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ and of course being mid-August on top of concrete, it was really hot. I felt very out of place at first, considering the cast of characters you tend to see there, but the music united us all. 

Being new to a lot of the music at the time I went wherever, my friends took me but I remember the first band that day for me was Allister, still touring on 2002’s “Last Stop, Suburbia.” The crowd was explosive (one girl in the crowd did a cheerleader style flip just as a song was ending) and the band was on fire that day. 

I remember Guttermouth had just been kicked off the tour and The Early November was brought in as a last minute replacement to play on the Volcom stage with no proper barricades set up. I literally thought I was going to get crushed when they ripped into “I Want to Hear You Sad.” Again, all these memories come and go, but that’s what happens when you have so many fond memories over multiple years of attendance.


2005, by Ashley Dean
At the tender age of 13, I attended my first Warped Tour at Six Flags outside of Buffalo. I remember the day like it was yesterday: Warped Tour truly changed my life. Warped Tour-esque music wasn’t popular in my school, (is it anywhere, though?) so I was super excited to be around people that enjoyed the same bands I did. 

I was most excited for The All American Rejects, whose self titled album was buzzing, and of course Fall Out Boy, who are always incredible live. I was also very stoked for My Chemical Romance, The Starting Line, Gym Class Heroes, Cartel, and Skrillex…I mean From First To Last. 2005 was stacked with amazing bands; in my opinion, it was one of the best years that I have attended.

The amazing thing about Warped Tour is that you not only get to see your favorite bands, but you also have the opportunity to discover your next favorite band. For me, this was a very eye opening experience which began with The Academy Is… I recall walking around and hearing “Attention, attention. May I have all your eyes and ears.” I thought, “Whoa, this guy has an amazing voice.” I proceded to watch the rest of the set in awe of the band and, of course, William Beckett’s good looks. What 13-year-old girl wouldn’t go gaga for Beckett? Later on in the afternoon I had the opportunity to meet Beckett, who was incredibly nice. The Academy Is… went on to become one of my favorite bands of all time. Almost Here is still a favorite throwback of mine. 

Vans Warped Tour in 2005 made me realize that music was going to be a bigger part of my life than just listening. I craved the experience and have attended every Warped Tour since 2005 (except last year). Partaking in the “Earn It Yourself” talks with Kevin Lyman (who’s a genius) made me realize that my music experience needed to turn into a career. Fast forward 8 years, and I’m working in the music business and seeing friends I met along the way playing Warped Tour. Never stop going to Warped Tour: my boss goes every year too.

Go to Warped Tour, discover new music, meet your favorite bands, tell them how much they’ve changed your life, buy merch, and love every minute of the 100 degree weather. You never know how a one-day music event may change your life. 


2007, by Donald Wagenblast
The first time I went to Warped Tour was, without any doubt, the best concert experience of my life. After walking a mile and a half because my friend’s father was fed up with sitting in the one-lane traffic leading to the festival grounds, my friends and I got there just in time for Underoath.The songs were incredible live, and it went down as the only time my brother ever crowdsurfed.
The heat proved to be our rival that day, but every time one of us said, “I’m done, this is too much,” the next band came on, and our adolescent adrenaline took over. This occurred on back-to-back main stage sets, beginning with Chiodos, and right after with the budding superstars of Paramore, who opened with their new hit single, “Misery Business.” I can still remember the forty-somethings littered throughout the crowd chaperoning their children, singing along to every word.
The reason Warped 2007 is still my favorite concert experience of all time is because it was the day that forever became known as The Day I Decided Who My Favorite Band Was. After watching Amber Pacific bounce through their set, I jetted back to the main stage by myself to see Circa Survive, who were touring behind On Letting Go. I had yet to see the band live before, despite hearing great things from a close friend. After the mind-blowing set, I called that friend, hysterically crying, to share with her what I had just experienced. Out of breath and in between sobs, I said to her, “I just… they were so good…I can’t…they’re my new favorite band of all time…okay, I have to go.” Circa Survive has been my favorite band ever since.
There’s a reason I remember all of these stories from a concert that took place six years ago. Though the tour changes every year,there’s always something that pulls me back. I always look forward to the summer and the Warped Tour, and this year is no different. I’ll see you in New Jersey. Let’s make some memories together. Meet me in the mosh pit.


2008, by Zack Zarrillo
I didn’t know much about Warped Tour. I was young — 14 or 15. It sounded really cool, but it was pretty far away from me. I had only been allowed to go to one show six months earlier, and my dad was going to have to drive me. Why did I want to go? Well, Angels & Airwaves were doing Modlife meet and greets every day, and I really wanted to meet Tom DeLonge (I like blink-182, remember?)

I walked into the parking lot through the lines and I was…mesmerized. I consider that day, July 28, 2008, to be my first true experience inside of our incredible scene. There was so much that I never knew that I began to find. Bands, music, clothing companies, the phenomenon of mesh shorts, etc. 

I really only went to meet AVA. But I did get to see really cool performances from Relient K, All Time Low, Mayday Parade, Story Of The Year, and Against Me! I also met Tom DeLonge. He signed a Cheshire Cat CD (that I was terrified to give him out of blink-hatred) and he smiled and said, “Man, I haven’t thought about that in years.”  Best day of my life, right?


2009, by Connor Sheehan
I attended my first Warped Tour in 2009, the summer before my senior year of high school. My ex-girlfriend convinced me to go with her, and like any other embarrassing memory from youth, my mother drove us. Walking into the venue (a dusty fairground in Portland, Oregon) was a bit of a culture shock, I had been to a lot of shows before, but never with that many people in outfits that ridiculous.The lineup that I ended up seeing was a juxtaposition of the ultra pop like Forever The Sickest Kids alongside metalcore outfits A Day To Remember and Escape The Fate (if I could describe my taste that year in one word, it would be ‘embarrassing.’) 

All Time Low headlined the night and they put on a show. The crowd of mostly teenage girls, my girlfriend included, rushed to be as close to the barrier as possible. Up until this point I had never seen All Time Low and I was not prepared for the reaction of their fangirls: a constant barrage of bras flew towards the stage while what seemed like every attendant that day screaming along to all the words. At the end of the day we walked back to my mom’s car covered in dust and sweat with our voices raw, but with an experience well worth the week of showers it took to finally get clean again. 

2009, by Mike Sheffey
I went to my first Warped Tour with my friends Ryan, Collin, and Dan in 2009. I had no idea who most of the bands were and had never heard of it, but it was an experience that forever changed me. I saw goofy, crazy, fun people in an amazing setting and while I had been to shows, the “scene” was new to me. 

We saw The Maine, The Devil Wears Prada, A Day To Remember, and some others, but mainly, I just followed my friends around. At the time, they knew way more than I did. But wow. Warped Tour introduced me to a whole new world of music and turned me from a radio rock listener into an honest music lover. I learned about music’s deeper message and the DIY scene. I learned about another sphere of music and from then on, I’ve frequented shows, tours, festivals, and now even work with those same friends (plus Ben, another great guy) to book touring bands and locals in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

I love the scene. I love its message of inclusion, tolerance and standing up for what is right. And for my awkward high school self, it stuck: it’s still with me today.  While this year’s lineup is not my cup of tea as much as last year’s, I still want to go. It’s become a sort of tradition. 

And FCC is on it. That should be enough for anyone. Those guys rock. 


2010, by Sydney Gore
July 16, 2010— one of the sweatiest summer days of my life.

See, I was a late bloomer— I didn’t start going to Warped Tour until I was a junior in high school. My main reason for attending the event was solely so I could see The Summer Set with my concert crew for what had to have been the third time in the same year. (I had a huge crush on John Gomez at the time, so no one could talk me out of riding the PATCO into Camden and exposing myself to endless humidity). I have no shame, but everyone who knows me won’t ever let me forget it.

The whole day felt like the summer camp experience I never had growing up. Buying merch in the tents, getting pushed around in mosh pits, freaking out before and after I met bands, and listening to live music all day long with my closest friends— there was never a moment where I didn’t have fun.

My other priority bands for the day had included Motion City Soundtrack, The All-American Rejects, 3OH!3, The Pretty Reckless and Mayday Parade. Obviously, my taste in music was in its prime way back when. Looking back, I can’t believe my ridiculously high level of devotion for someone who didn’t even know I existed caused me to overlook bands that I like so much more now. I mean, I missed out on an opportunity to watch Fake Problems, Automatic Loveletter, You Me At Six, The Rocket Summer, and MIKE POSNER. (I still facepalm  about the one that got away…) 

In conclusion, don’t ever compromise your music morals for a boy in a band. I totally changed my ways the following year.


2011, Zac Lomas
I saw a lot of awesome bands in 2011 when I finally made it out to my first Warped Tour, but my most vivid memory was the fact that I was not prepared in the least. No matter how much advice your friends give you, there is no way you’ll be ready to tackle the monster that is Warped until you experience it firsthand. To start things off, my friends and I were late (we made up for this by blasting Tenacious D on the ride there) and because of our tardiness, we missed half of August Burns Red’s set. After that, I lost my crowdsurfing virginity to Warped veterans Less Than Jake and also circle-pitted to the Spongbob Squarepants theme song. Later on David McWane of Big D and the Kids Table opened up their set by stage diving directly onto my head. 

After Pepper mellowed out the mainstage crowd with a wonderful set I ended my first Warped Tour with A Day to Remember lobbing toilet paper rolls at me as I contemplated how I could have ever liked them. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I didn’t eat the whole day, but three water bottles, two Gatorades, an Arizona Iced Tea, and a Monster Energy Drink kept me alive. So if my first Warped Tour experience teaches you anything, I hope it’s to stay hydrated.


Ryan Neff of Miss May I’s first Warped Tour
I was an avid warped goer in high school. My first recollection of a Warped Performance is getting to stage early, right after doors, and watching Bullet For My Valentine walk from their bus, to stage, and shred my face off. That year I also saw My Chem, Thrice, Fall Out Boy (with a sweet broken bass guitar spin trick I must add), saosin, motion city soundtrack, and So many others. The coolest part was coming full circle and rocking that shit myself with MMI in 2011 and 2012.


Lou Miceli of Palisades’ first Warped Tour
My first Warped Tour was definitely not the most common experience. At the time, I was living in Florida and was fifteen and working at a family owned pizzeria. I had just recently began to get my first band started after the previous year getting into bands such as Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, blink-182, and so on. I had heard about Warped Tour so many times and really wanted to go but unfortunately didn’t have the money to get in. At the pizzeria I worked at, there was a woman who also worked there named Freddy. She had overheard from my mom, who also worked at the pizzeria, that I was getting into all of this music and really wanted to go to Warped Tour. It just so happens that her son was Jeffrey Pereira, who has tour managed bands such as blink-182, My Chemical Romance, Midtown and, ultimately, Taking Back Sunday. She called her son up and asked him if there was any way that he could get me into Warped Tour. He wound up not only taking me to Warped Tour, but guest-listed me and got me on stage for Taking Back Sunday. I thought that my day couldn’t get any better, but he proceeded to take me to their bus to hang out. I wound up talking to my idols and eating lunch with them. 

I told them that I was starting a band, and they gave me a lot of encouraging words and signed my poster and CD. That right there was enough to make my entire year. After that day and the whole Warped Tour experience, I knew that this is what I wanted to do with my life. Jeff and I still remain close, and we meet up whenever we’re both back in Florida or if we can meet up on the road. I can honestly say that it was the best first Warped Tour experience I could have ever asked for.


John Bee of American Opera’s first Warped Tour
The first time I went to Warped Tour was in 2002. I went with my best friends to see some of our favorite bands like Thursday, Something Corporate, and Reel Big Fish. I got the most gnarly sunburn of my life, which worked out perfectly because I had to take senior pictures for the high school yearbook the following day. My mom and dad were so proud of their little tomato.

It was an incredible experience. I got to meet some of the guys in Thursday and Reel Big Fish. I asked them questions about how to make it as a musician. They were so cool and friendly. I couldn’t believe it. My favorite bands were giving me advice on how to make it as a touring musician.

Fast forward to 10 years later and I’m actually playing Warped Tour alongside Geoff Rickly from Thursday. I parked my van next to the Reel Big Fish tour bus (I was quickly informed that I was not supposed to do that). It was unbelievable. I was on the same bill as my heroes. I still felt like that same kid back in 2002, sunburn and all. And I can’t wait to get sunburnt again this year.


Matt Rhoades of Young London’s first Warped Tour
My first Warped Tour experience was in 2000. I went with a bunch of my close friends and we were stoked. We were super young and so overwhelmed by the amount of music. That year Sum41 had just blown up and I was most into Bigwig, No Motive and AFI. Its really fun to remember how that day felt because its easy to get jaded with touring and being around such amazing bands.”

  1. anchordowndarling reblogged this from propertyofzack
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  3. etothethird reblogged this from laa-dispute and added:
    I’ve never been, this is my first year, but holy fuck am I excited. I’m also like suuuper nervous.
  4. laa-dispute reblogged this from propertyofzack and added:
    My first Warped was in 2005 at Randall’s Island in NYC. I think that may have been the last year Warped was held at that...
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  6. infinityblues reblogged this from propertyofzack and added:
    I’d say this pretty much summarizes Warped Tour ‘03 for me.
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  9. bgarrett813 reblogged this from propertyofzack and added:
    My first warped tour was in 2009 and I almost died from the heat.
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  11. find-the-light-in-the-darkness reblogged this from propertyofzack and added:
    Gosh, Warped Tour had such great lineups back in the day.
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  15. cantseeformiles reblogged this from propertyofzack and added:
    I can’t believe it’s already been 9 years, but my first was back in 2004, when I was 9. I remember at the Scranton, PA...