Showcasing talent from the full spectrum of modern rock music, Van’s Warped Tour 2016 offered participants an enthralling and entertaining experience not soon forgotten. Hosted at Tinker Field next to Camping World Stadium (formly known as the Citrus Bowl) on July 2, the music festival attracted thousands of fans to listen to over 75 bands ranging from punk to ska and metalcore. The event ran from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Lines started forming early that Saturday morning around 7:45 and wrapped around the Citrus Bowl. Outside the event, vendors peddled their wares and several animal right’s activists went around to those in line offering to preach their mission and hand out informational packets. While the main line was for those who bought a regular ticket online or at a venue, there were secondary lines for those with guest, VIP, vendor and volunteer passes. Security was tight but fluid as they moved through the line at a rapid pace once the first set of doors opened around 9:45.
Around 10:30 the field’s doors unlocked and attendees were greeted with rows upon rows of clothing vendors, merchandise representatives and food stalls. Scattered among the vendors were the seven stages that the bands would play on. Bands were assigned to a stage based on popularity and general importance. For instance, Yellowcard and Sum 41 were assigned to the first main stage because of their popularity while lesser known groups like Ghost Town and Young Guns played on the stages not sponsored by Monster Energy or Journey’s. Security for these shows was in strong force as groups of guards stood in front of every stage to catch crowd-surfers and protect the photographers.
Of the shows that I got a chance to see Yellowcard was by far the best. The band knew how important they were to their fans and the tour itself, and the amount of people that came out to see them was further testament to that. The group formed in ‘97 and built up a rabid fan base over the course of their successful career. The band opened and closed with two of their biggest hits, “With You Around” and “Ocean Avenue.” During the middle of their set, frontman Ryan Key made the announcement that the band’s 10th and final studio album would be releasing this November, much to the audience’s excitement and dismay.
Yellowcard had one of the early sets at 11:30 on the Journey’s Left Foot stage. Both Journey’s and Monster Energy had two stages directly next to each other, so while one stage performed the other would soundcheck and prepare to play a half hour later. This was not the case for the other three stages as they were spread apart from one another and did not have to worry about overpowering their neighbors. About halfway through the day overcast skies gave way to a light rain, but the absence of lightning meant that the performances continued as normal. Around 5 p.m. the rains finally cleared and those seeking shelter underneath Camping World Stadium rejoined the festival.
Van’s Warped Tour 2016 was one of the best music festivals I’ve attended. The attendees were well-behaved and the music was fantastic. It was an overall positive and uplifting environment for those who were fans of the genres represented, and the fluidity of each transition and set meant that there was never a dull moment throughout the entire day.