Vans Warped Tour: Uniondale, NY, July 21, 2012
Nassau Coliseum Parking Lot
July 21, 2012
The Warped Tour has a very interesting dynamic. The festival (which began back in the mid-'90s) features new bands on their way up the charts, gaining buzz among both fans and industry. The festival also tends to catch bands on their way down. These performers still have a core fan base but, alas, their stars do not burn as brightly as they once did. Additionally, The Warped Tour features longtime bands that have remained at their peak. These bands/performers are not superstars; they aren't on their way up or down. They are semi-starsa known entity whose music sells, but by no means superstars. They've reached a place on the musical food chain where they have remained for a number of years. Sponsored by Vans, the 2012 tour featured the best in pop/punk, good old-fashioned punk, electro-punk, ska, emo, screamo, hardcore, rap, post-hardcore, hip hop, new metal, Christian metalcore, and so much more. In the almost twenty years since its inception, the Warped Tour has thrived by delivering the best of these genres, as well as the prerequisite skateboarding stunt exhibition that has become synonymous with the festival.
In addition to the music and skateboarding, the Warped Tour offered an extensive number of tents where attendees could indulge themselves in retail therapy. In addition to the official Warped Tour merchandise booths and Van's merchandise booths, participating bands, record labels, energy drink companies, makers of condoms, specialized T-Shirt manufacturers and musical instrument companies were but a few of the other vendors with onsite booths/tents. Crowd members could also avail themselves of temporary tattoos (courtesy of Long Island's world famous Tattoo Lou's). Lastly, the Warped Tour had some annual rituals that have become part of its legend and loremany idealistic concertgoers either wear their own home-made T-shirts or getting their bare midriffs painted with an offer of "free hugs" and/or "free kisses."
Because many of the fans were quite young and unable to drive, the tour had a special "Reverse Daycare" section, where concerned parents could relax have and stay refreshed. The area allowed them to get away from the festival's insanity while their progeny moshed and enjoyed the festivities.
On Saturday, July 21, The Warped Tour touched down on Hempstead Turnpike in Uniondale, NY (Long Island), in the parking lot of the Nassau Coliseum. Following what had been a blistering hot week where temperatures reached the mid-nineties and the heat index (due to the humidity) hovered around 100, the crowd was treated to a temporary break in what had been mostly miserable weather.
The Long Island version (not all performers and vendors make each of the tour stops) of the 2012 festival featured more than one hundred performers spread across eleven stagesfive of which were large, some were small, some were miniscule (an area where one could fit a microphone and perhaps a stool), and some were even rolled in as a part of specially designed truck stages (actual trucks were used), whose sides rolled up to reveal stages large enough to accommodate a full four- or five-piece band. Headliners on the main stages were All Time Low, New Found Glory, Bayside and local heroes Taking Back Sunday ( from nearby Rockville Centre, NY), who headlined and closed out the show with a remarkable and strong set. Bands and artists featured throughout the day on both the big and small stages included: The Como Brothers Band (playing traditional pop-rock), Face The King, Falling In Reverse, Yellowcard, Cold Forty Three (who killed it with their version of The Beastie Boys' "Fight For Your Right" on the Ernie Ball Stage/Truck), For Today, They All Float (featuring Cheyenne Sniderdaughter of Twisted Sister's Dee Snider and whose music sounded as Evanescence would, if they played hardcore), Stepdad (an electro-pop band from Grand Rapids, MI), Justina (from New Jersey), Transit (a post-hardcore quintet from Boston), Senses Fail, The Ghost Inside and Sleeping With Sirens, to name but a few.
Though the music and musical genres of The Warped Tour are tweaked every few years (as tastes and trends change and emerge), certain things remain constant. Skateboarders and skateboarding exhibitions will always be a major part of the festival, and the music speaks to the current generation. Moshing and crowd surfing is encouraged for both the attendees and the performers. New music is promoted and given an opportunity to be heard. Unknown bands and performers are given what is, in many cases, their first national exposure. The party atmosphere is a chance for the bands as well as the audience to express themselves. Oh yeah...and the music is heartfelt, vital, energized and, in a word, awesome.
All Photos: Christine Connallon