So Sunday, I went up to Toronto to go to Warped Tour.
The Vans Warped Tour started in 1994, and it focuses on punk, metal, ska, and other alternative music. It’s aimed at teenagers (being 22, I definitely felt old while I was there – but fortunately there was a beer tent :-)) and the goal is to bring favourite bands together so people can go see them all at once. It tours all over North America during the summer, with this year involving 50+ bands, band meetings/signings, and tons of band merchandise and other goods for sale.
Although the gates opened at 11:00 am, we didn’t get there until about 1:00 pm. The Toronto show was held at the Flats at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre – so it was in a huge space with 7-8 stages set up. No matter where you were at any time of the day, you could always hear someone playing.
Not a huge concern though, because the show was going right until 9:30-10:00 pm.
We immediately found a map/schedule and found the first band we wanted to see.
Not a band I had heard play before, but they came recommended to me by a friend of mine – and he was definitely onto something. Definitely liked them!
After their set, we immediately hurried across the park to see another set. There wasn’t any time in between bands, so if you wanted to see a band at a different stage, you had to hustle if you wanted to catch as much of their set as possible.
Again, a new band to me – but they weren’t too bad. A little too pop-punk for my taste, but they were really entertaining. They really talked to the crowd and kept everyone laughing.
After their set, we had a few minutes before the next band we wanted to see. So we took some time to go check out some of the merch tables.
One thing I appreciated a lot about the tour was the heavy emphasis on charities. They had a lot of charity booths set up where you could donate or buy merchandise in support of their cause. Keep A Breast, Skate 4 Cancer, klean kanteen…any kind of charity you support, you could find it there. I’m personally a big supporter of To Write Love On Her Arms – a non-profit dedicated to finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. I made sure to stop by their tent and buy one of their Love is the Movement bracelets.
We then made our way over to the beer tent.
As it so happens, I hate beer (I know, the horror). Fortunately for me, they did have some alternatives – even if it cost $8.50. Needless to say, that was the only drink I bought at the show.
Next band up!
I realize ska music is very 90’s – but I’m sorry, you cannot go to a ska show and not enjoy yourself. The music is so much fun and you can’t help but jump around and dance!
Mel and I had both worn bathing suits under our clothes – anticipating we were going to be overheating. At this point, we were down to our shorts and bathing suit tops, which in itself feels very freeing. A year ago, I would have had a lot of trouble running around in a crowd of people in a bathing suit top due to self esteem issues, but I decided to just go with it – and it was awesome.
It had started to rain a little bit by then, so we were dancing and bopping around to ska in the rain – it was easily my favourite moment of the show.
After the set, it had started to rain a little bit more – still no big deal. Bands were still playing, everyone was having fun.
Then…it started to pour. Absolute torrential downpour. That’s less fun.
The bands had to stop and everyone was running for shelter. Eventually, the festival staff herded everyone into the amphitheatre – good idea in theory, but not very practical because there was no way everyone was fitting in there (there were thousands of people).
The downpour started around 3:00. At 4:00, it was still pouring. There were rumours floating around that they were going to call off the show.
By some miracle, around 4:30 the rain began to let up. Then it stopped. The show was back on!
Unfortunately, they couldn’t extend the show any longer and they didn’t want to pull any of the bands, so the remaining bands all got their sets cut from 40 minutes to 25. But, the important thing was that the IT WASN’T CANCELLED.
Valuable lesson learned – if you wear a denim skirt and it gets soaking wet, it will still be damp when you go to bed about 9 hours later. Also, wearing wet shoes and socks all day is very, very gross.
Wearing bathing suits and throwing an umbrella in my bag last minute before I left the house ended up being the two smartest things I did all day.
Tons of people – lots of crowdsurfing, lots of moshing, lots of circle pits.
At one point, we saw a Spiderman and a Venom crowdsurfing – wish I had managed to get a picture of it!
At this point, I was definitely hungry. The only food they really had was a Pizza Pizza stand…yea gross. They were also charging like $7.00 for a hot dog, so I wasn’t going with that option. I had brought snacks in my backpack, so I just snacked through my usual meals…I had an apple, trail mix, pretzels and Mel’s crispie minies.
A lot of the bands on this tour were popular when I was in high school – Yellowcard, New Found Glory and Taking Back Sunday were all huge about 6-7 years ago. Considering that the last Warped Tour I attended was when I was 16, this was a huge throwback for me. I went to a lot of concerts back then, something I definitely got out of the habit of doing. Seeing these bands that I loved then and could still sing along with was the best sort of reminiscing for me.
We listened to the last couple of bands before our ride came to pick us up.
We went out for drinks and a 10:30 pm dinner at the Fox and Fiddle in Greektown. I don’t have any pictures – I forgot and was too busy enjoying the food and the company. I had two rum and diets (definitely my go-to drink in the bar) and an Asian Chicken Noodle Salad – mixed greens with Thai noodles, grilled chicken, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes and an Asian sesame vinaigrette on the side.
After our late dinner, we went back to the apartment, peeled off our still-wet clothes and collapsed into bed.
Definitely an exhausting, though fantastic day!
<– What charities do you support?
<– Best concert you’ve been to?
Unfortunately, the day wasn’t all fun. A 19 year old girl from London died of an apparent heart attack at the show – my thoughts and sympathies go out to her friends and family.