For the Warped Tour, chaos is a feature, not a bug.
95 percent of the concerts you’ll go to in your life will be fairly straightforward. You’ll know the basics: who is playing and in what order, where you’ll purchase merchandise, where to go to pick up your tickets, and other things of that nature. But that’s never been how the Warped Tour operates. The placement of the stages can change from year to year. Trying to find the merch tent for the band you like is like a scavenger hunt. They don’t announce the set times until the morning of the show.
In that way, the Warped Tour has always been an experience generator in addition to a concert festival. Will two bands you like be playing at the same time? Should you try and get up close to see a band perform or try and get a good spot in their autograph line? Do you risk showing up late and missing someone you really want to see?
Few things are as chaotic as Warped Tour, but summer weather in Houston ranks right up there. Most years
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Now, yes, I know I just spent a whole bunch of words talking about the chaos of Warped, but it is organized chaos. They know how to handle storms. The parking lots holding the festival were cleared, and fans were directed to head over to NRG Center to
I would not be there to see the show. With more storms in the forecast and an outfit completely soaked through, I called it an early day. In theory, there’s no one on this tour that I wanted to see that won’t be back in the next 18 months, and at 35 my body isn’t built for damp days that give way to afternoon sun.
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And I even got to enjoy a band. It’s been a while since the Houston Press has written about Galveston’s To Whom It May, but they’re still great. I didn’t get to experience their full set, but their brand of metal works really well in the rain, and the band sounded really tight with a good stage presence. Would definitely check them out in less damp conditions.
There are things I’m not going to miss about the Warped Tour. I’m not going to miss that the lineups are still overwhelmingly male and still very white. I’m not going to miss having to grapple with my own complicated feelings about how the festival handles problematic artists. I’m not going to miss some of the more obnoxious, non-music parts of the festival.
But I will, at the end of the day, miss the Warped Tour, even if it stopped being for me long ago. Warped Tour, for all its faults, allowed fans to make their experience be whatever it is they wanted in a way that few other music events do. It was like a real-life Choose Your Own Adventure book, albeit one where you had a little more information about what was going on. I’ll miss following along online as the tour got closer, with people sharing setlists and merch lineups on social media and forums. Yes, Warped Tour could be a mess, but at the