Truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life: Vans Warped Tour (2013). Mary actually purchased tickets for the tour without me knowing and ended up surprising me right before we left for a California family trip! What an amazing fiancé.
This was our first music “festival” (if you want to call it that) and has been on our Bucket List for years leading up to its fulfillment. We’ve seen bands come and go in Hawaii but nothing as epic as THE Vans Warped Tour. Here are some tips on how to survive an epic Warped Tour:
1. PREP THE DAY BEFORE
- PACK YOUR BAG. Bring a backpack! More specifically, a backpack with buckles so it stays in place while moving around vigorously. It enables you to jump up and down without having to hold anything in your hands – nothing better than rocking out to your favorite bands hands-free!
Pack the day before. Prepping the day prior will limit forgetting anything and help you be on time to beat the main crowds! Be sure to leave some room in your backpack because you will get a lot of free stuff and for those ‘just-in-case’ purchases such as more water!
- BUY BOTTLED WATER. Bring two water bottles for each person, MINIMUM. Do not open the water bottle! It needs to stay sealed or security will have you leave the water bottle before entering the venue. You’ll be able to refill the water bottle all day at the water stations throughout the event. The other water bottle is to drink while you’re in line and throw away before walking in. Waiting in line can be the hottest part of the day.
- PULL OUT CASH PRIOR TO THE EVENT. There will be ATM’s on the grounds to withdraw cash but keep in mind there will be fees (usually a few dollars extra). Bring enough cash for band merchandise, food, and drinks. Budget your cash wisely if you don’t want to deal with those ATM fees! On top of that, taking a detour to withdraw cash takes away from the experience and may result in missing out on something.
- EAT BREAKFAST. Breakfast is the most important part of the day. Do not skip it, especially for this event! The last thing you want to be is hungry after standing in line all the while getting burned out by the sun before lunch.
2. WHAT TO WEAR
Wear something comfortable and something for hot weather. You WILL sweat, a lot! (if you’re the type to be in the crowds/moshpits) Bring an extra top in your backpack. Wear closed toe shoes, do not wear slippers or sandals. Being that you will be sweating, bringing a small towel to wipe your face down is not entirely required to our standards but recommended if you like to stay dry and less sticky.
To protect against the sun, for accessories, bring sunglasses and a hat. For added defense, sunscreen is also important – We applied all day and still managed to get sunburned a little.
To stay germ free, bring hand sanitizer and use often – you will be in crowds most of the day which increases the chances of sickness by tenfold.
Lastly, bring a ziplock for your wet clothes in case you do decide to change.
3. PLAN OUT YOUR DAY
- SET TIME SHEET. This is the first thing we did upon entering. For $2, this is the most beneficial piece of paper you will have that day. You’ll have set times in your hands which frees you from going back to the inflatable board. Use a sharpie or pen to mark which sets you will want to go to.
- PLAN OUT YOUR DAY. Using the map/set time-sheet, plan out your day to see which of your favorite bands are playing at what time and stage. Throughout the day, if the specific band you want to see is not playing at the moment, go to other stages to support the up and coming artists. You never know, you may end up adding new bands to your favorite list – Mary and I both did. Seeing your favorite band is awesome but discovering new ones are even better!
You can also use this extra time to use the bathroom, eat, and hydrate! Yes, we even scheduled ourselves bathroom/food breaks. You have to be detailed and accurate if you don’t want to miss your favorites!
I’d say the hardest part in setting your schedule is choosing which bands/artist you want to see while sacrificing not seeing others you’ve always wanted to see – this comes down to your personal preference of who is more important.
4. CAPTURE THE MOMENTS
You won’t be allowed to bring in your DSLR. However, you can bring in a very small camera and your cell phone. The best one to use for these kinds of events is a GoPro (if they still allow it!) or any type of waterproof-action camera. This gadget can take your photos and videos in wondrous 4k resolution. Great for sunny weather, rainy weather, and even sweaty warped tour attendees .
5. HAVE FUN!
With so many different types of people representing different cultures, religions, morals, and ethnicities, humans will be humans and find a way to cause harm whether physical or psychological. The final advice I have for you is to be mindful of others and disregard those that don’t necessarily agree with you and vice versa – to each their own. Be respectful and appreciate the experience for what it is. After all, everyone else is there to enjoy it, just like you.
For more information on Vans Warped Tour, click here.
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”
– Billy Joel