Warped Tour 101?

Photo Credit: Invisible Children


It’s that time of year again… the sun is out and today is the first day of the 2014 Vans Warped Tour.

I have been attending Warped since the 2012 tour and since then I’ve picked up some tips that every “Warped Tour Virgin” should know. While I haven’t been attending the festival for years like some others, I have two years of experience to offer. I know that I was a bit nervous my first year because the atmosphere is a bit intimidating and you often here horror stories that can be unsettling. Fear not, I have compiled a list of things you will need to bring, do when you get there, and the bands I plan to see this summer.


  1. Water and Snacks. Water is the most important thing to bring or purchase at Warped Tour. Personally, I don’t recommend purchasing it from the vendors because they can run up to $4.00 per bottle. In the hot summer sun (especially if you are in Florida like I am) water is absolutely dire. I always bring two-three bottles in my bag that I can refill. The best thing about Warped Tour is the free water refills they offer. If you are smart, bring a couple bottles because you will inevitably lose one or more in the pit and then you will be forced to buy one. Another mistake people tend to make is not eating in the heat. If your body doesn’t have water and nutrients then you will pass out. Bring an apple or some other lightweight snacks for throughout the day.

  2. Drawstring bag or Backpack. Most people, myself included, bring simple drawstring bags but a large number of people also opt for backpacks. In short, you need something to carry your supplies and money. Just make sure the bag is comfortable to you. Lots of people have trouble with the drawstring bags because they dig into their shoulders. While I never personally have this problem, it is best to test your bag out with all your supplies in it and then account for the fact that you will be jumping and sweating for 9+ hours.
  3. Money. The amount of money you bring strictly depends on what you want to buy the day of. I would highly suggest buy the list of set times. Its $2-3 at the most and that way you will have every bands time at your finger tips. I will get into this more later. If you are interested in buying merch, that’s roughly $20.00 per shirt and about $50.00 for sweatshirts (prices vary by band but you can check their website to gauge it). You should always bring an extra $20.00 for emergency water and food. Personally, I plan every year to eat dinner at the venue and spend money on their food. Nothing like a good meal can pick you up when you’re feeling sick.
  4. Sanitation. Here is where we get to the nitty-gritty of the day. The bathrooms are disgusting. If your venue has a real bathroom in addition to port-a-potty’s, use the real bathrooms early in the day and port-a-potty’s as the day progresses. TRUST ME. The real bathrooms are what most people want so they get more disgusting than the portable ones by the end of the day. Pro-tip: if you’re not peeing, you’re not drinking enough water. You should be going to the bathroom throughout the day and staying hydrated. As far as the bathrooms go, you will need toilet paper and odds are there will be a lack of it. Bring a small plastic bag with toilet paper in it so that you don’t have any trouble. I also recommend bringing wet wipes or hand sanitizer for the day. You get super dirty and will want to clean your hands before meals.
  5. Sun Protection. How did I get to number 5 without mentioning sunscreen?! You NEED sunscreen. Nobody likes skin cancer. Seriously though, being out in the sun all day is harmful to your skin and you need to protect yourself. SPF 50 is my recommendation (although I am pretty fair, this is a time that you don’t want to mess around with “getting a tan”). BLOCK UP. Especially if you have tattoos, this is probably the most important part of your day. You also might consider wearing a hat or sunglasses for the day as well.
  6. Ticket. Duh. Bring your ticket to get into the show. Do not try to depend on buying it there. Never buy it from anyone other than an official Vans Warped Tour worker. There are always people trying to sell fake tickets. Don’t fall into their trap.
  7. Sharpie. If you want your favorite band to sign something, don’t expect them to be carrying a marker around. Come prepared. Also this is useful for jotting down set times.
  8. Clothing. No, don’t bring extra clothing. This is more of a what to wear. The clothing you should bring on your body should be minimal. Yep, it’s hot at Warped. By the end of the day, you will not care how cute you looked or anything of the like. You will want to be comfy. Dress in light-weight clothing and leave the jewelry at home. You don’t want to accidentally rip out an earring (or belly ring, yep I’ve seen it happen) in the pit. And for the love of all things good in the world, WEAR TENNIS SHOES. Your feet will bleed if you wear flip-flops.


  • When you get to the venue, bring canned goods, an old cell phone, or $5 cash to donate. By doing this, you will receive a skip the line wrist band and you will get in the venue before everyone else
  • Once you’re in the gates, buy a sheet that lists the set times. I know most people discourage this but it is only $2.00. Warped Tour has a giant inflatable with all the bands and their set times and most people just take a picture of this but if your phone dies (which is likely) you won’t have access to the set times and you will have to walk back and forth to the inflatable. I usually star the bands I want to see on my set sheet and then I have my full day planned out.
  • Don’t neglect the booths. Bands will have signings that are posted at these booths and lots of the non-profits have free stuff and also a lot of cool information.
  • Follow the bands you want to see on Twitter and follow the Vans Warped Tour twitter (@vanswarpedtour). They will post signing times, secret acoustic shows, set changes, and other important information.
  • Locate the area with shade: you will need it. Come 2 o’clock when you feel like you just might faint, this area will be your friend. Most venues have a shaded or cool area and if not, there are always the mist tents. If you feel sick and need to see Medic, there is a tent for that as well.


  • See bands you don’t know! If you have heard of a band but never got the chance to check them out, go do so. Warped Tour is a great place to find new music to listen to and simply enjoy a good show.
  • Once you see when each band is playing, odds are that if two of your favorite bands are on different stages, you will have to sacrifice one to see the other. My tip, if there is even ten minutes of one band playing when the other is not, run over and see it. The more bands you see, the better a time you will have. Don’t miss out on seeing another band because you are worried about where you will be standing when seeing the next band.
  • That leads in to my next tip, at Warped people are all trying to see different and new bands. A lot of the time, people will simply hang out by main stage so they can catch another band. If you have a band that you are dying to see and want to be in the crowd for, say excuse me and move to the center. Don’t push or freak out. Everyone at Warped understands that you want to be closer. If you have never been to a concert where this is normal, prepare to be in for a surprise. It is actually quite awesome.
  • Eat food, drink water, and make sure you’re peeing. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you feel faint, take a minute and sit down. Warped Tour is HOT. Neglecting these things will only make your day less than stellar.
  • Mosh pits will happen. If you are afraid of a pit, don’t go in it. It is really that simple. Mosh pits generally happen towards the center of the crowd and can be avoided. Known your strength. If you have never been in a pit, give it a try! Crowd surf if you want to. Don’t limit yourself because you are afraid.
  • In the same respect, help people out. If someone looks faint, ask if they need help. If someone needs help up, grab their hand. And my god, boys, leave girls’ body parts alone as they crowd surf.
  • Warped Tour is arguably the best concert of the summer. Make it fun. See as many bands as possible and don’t hold back.


 Here is the list of bands I will try to fit in at Warped Tour

  • Breathe Carolina (they always provide a good time)
  • Less Than Jake
  • Mayday Parade
  • Neck Deep
  • Parkway Drive
  • Real Friends
  • State Champs
  • The Maine
  • The Ready Set (7th grade me is wiggin’ out)
  • The Story So Far
  • The Summer Set
  • We The Kings
  • 3OH!3
  • Bayside
  • Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!
  • Cute Is What We Aim For
  • Four Year Strong
  • Front Porch Step
  • Light Years
  • We Are The In Crowd
  • Yellowcard

Have an awesome summer at the Vans Warped Tour and enjoy the music!