Sunday, July 3rd was the glorious day where all the rock gods met under one festival called The Vans Warped Tour. This was a very expected day for many music lovers, and especially for me since this was my first time back since 2006. The Perfect Vodka Amphitheater in West Palm Beach was the chosen venue for us in South Florida, and this year’s lineup was pretty extensive, with veteran names in the music industry like New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Good Charlotte, Pepper, Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish, as well as newer artists.
While the day commenced with heavy rains almost reminiscent of a hurricane, 20 minutes later (and in all Florida fashion) the sun was shining bright like a diamond, and the lineup of almost 40 artists was ready to rock everyone’s socks. The first band to play that day was the Cali ska boys of Reel Big Fish, which delighted everyone with their trumpets and happy beats. The pop punk quartet of Falling In Reverse performed, followed by the Coral Springs natives of New Found Glory, who played a 30 minute set that included songs from their beginnings as well as their new music.
Assuming We Survive, We The Kings, The Story So Far, Emarosa and Four Years Strong were also among the performers this year, and while I personally was not able to see all of these bands on stage, it was an excellent surprise to see We The Kings tear down the house and give their all during their set. Newcomers Ballyhoo!, Waterparks, State Champs, Mother Feather among others also serenaded the crowd with their melodies, and added the perfect mix to the tour.
By the time 5pm hit the clock, the Hawaiian boys of Pepper rocked the crowd with their punk and reggae tunes, and made every single person get up from the floor and wave their hands to the strum of the guitars. Soon after, the Jacksonville natives of Yellowcard came on stage an despite delivering the sad news of their breakup, they gave their all to each and every one of their fans on stage, and brought us back to 2003 by singing hits from their “Ocean Avenue” album.
In spite of the extreme temperatures that covered the entire city of West Palm Beach, this day was filled with mosh pits, band sightings, dancing and people from different backgrounds coming together under the name of rock. While I disappeared from this scene for a long time, this day surpassed all the expectations that had been building up for ten years. It was then it all clicked again and I understood the beauty of this festival is the chance it gives to small bands to tour all over the country, and expose themselves in the best possible way. As well as having the big dogs play and interact with their loyal fans, and that in itself is heaven on earth for all of us music junkies.