Back in 2001, I was just a kid and I had the chance to cover the Warped Tour in Montreal. It was a dream walking around with my press pass and being able to take some photos of all those great bands. My dream for 2014 is to hopefully get the opportunity to once again get a photographer all-access pass and live this great experience one more time.
My day at The Vans Warped tour
Written by Stephanie Dunn
When I woke up on the morning of the warped tour, I was expecting rain because they had been announcing 70% chance of thunder showers for Friday. So obviously it was a pleasant surprise to see the sun. The humidity that we had been suffering from for the last 10 days had almost disappeared. It was a perfect day!
I decided to take the subway to get to the show because I just knew traffic would be hell. Not to mention that there would be no free parking because let’s face it the show was taking place at Parc Jean Drapeau. (Home of Montreal’s amusement park: La Ronde)
I arrived at the site an hour early thinking that this way I wouldn’t have to wait too long in line at the press booth. Boy was I wrong! For some reason they had decided to put the “guest of the bands” and the media all at the same booth! There was an amazingly long line of young girls all “dressed” up waiting to get their backstage pass. You could all hear them say: ” So… who are you with? Really… me too! Where did you meet them?…” It felt like a scene right out of Almost Famous.
After an hour in line I finally got my ticket and press pass and I entered the site. The music was playing, people were waiting in line to get a $3 bottle of water, shopping for a $30 t-shirt, buying cds that were $10 more expensive than they usually are on the official website and of course enjoying the music and the sports.
I had some difficulties finding the press tent and the security guards weren’t what you would call really helpful. There most be a class that shows them how to be that rude! I ended up finding the tent after a little while. All that trouble to be told nothing more than: “honey use your charm! With your smile you can get anywhere over here!” So I did!
I decided to take a little tour of the place. I started with the skate ramps. People were watching and cheering. After a few pictures I decided to continue my tour of the place. I met some friends while I was looking around. Took some pictures and decided to go back to the main stage to catch some of the bands.
I was previously told that the press could only stay in front of the stage for the first 3 songs of each performance, but they never told us to leave so we stayed for the entire time! It was great because we were right there in front of the barricades with the security guards. No pushing, plenty of room… perfect! The only disadvantage was that the stage was incredibly high. Sure the people in the back could see better, but the ones in the front (including me) had to break their neck to see something.
I ended up spending most of my time in front of the main stage and backstage. The bands were great! The Bouncing souls, Big Wig, Less than Jake, H20, AFI, The vandals, Rancid, The Ataris, Pennywise, Sum 41… I also got to meet some of the guys from the bands backstage. Warren from the Vandals came to say hello and I got to talk with Kris Roe of The Ataris. All very nice. I took tons of pictures.
I think the best part of the day was when everyone started throwing bottles in the air during the Vandals show and David told everyone to start throwing their bottles at Warren. It was crazy! I’ve never seen so many bottles thrown at the same time! Security had to block access to everyone for 20 minutes just to clean all the mess! We also got to witness a striptease offered by who else but Warren!
Another highlight of the day was later in the evening, while Pennywise was performing. They managed to have everyone scream “fuck Bush” over and over. It was really funny because as you all know Montreal is in Canada! They really had the entire population of the warped screaming and singing their songs. I was told that you could hear people singing all the way to the back of the Jean Drapeau park (name of the place where the vans took place). It was wild! At one point they stopped playing and told the security guards to chill out because they kept pushing people away and stopping them from body surfing. That’s exactly at that time that one of the band member threw me a can of beer (as a gift not to hurt me…) and a fan threw a bottle at my back (which still hurts 2 days later). I decided I would watch the rest of the show from the side of the stage. It was safer…
As the last bands were playing I decided to take one last look around. I met some friends, checked out all the merchandise booths, talked with people that worked for the tour and finally went home to take a well deserve shower and finally eat something! My entire body was covered with black dust from all the dirt flying around all day. I was told that this was the first time they had seen so much dust flying around during the tour. Probably all that dry weather.
It was a long day, but what a great day it was! An amazing event and from what everyone kept telling me, one of the best warped ever.
Can’t wait for next year!