2018 Vans Warped Tour Nashville
Starting off in traditonal Warped Tour style, thousands of punk rock fans of all ages flooded the Tennessee State Fair Grounds pumped to see their favorite bands. With a set up of six different stages, the fair grounds was covered in chances to see high energy performances, including acoustic sets here and there at numerous artist booths. With opportunities to purchase various merchandise from artists, random souveniers from vendors and local music sold by local artists pushing their self-funded recordings, there's no way you could leave empty handed. Having over 200 attendees treated for heat sickness, you know it was an intense day!
With this year being the last Warped Tour, the lineup showcased a variety of both new and nostalgic artists. Breakout UK artist, Yungblud, who is on several Warped dates this summer, brought a fun and passionate rock show to his sea of fans. Jenna McDougall, lead vocals for Tonight Alive, brought the stage into the center of the crowd during their song Temple. 3OH!3 took me back to high school performing classic hits such as My First Kiss, Don't Trust Me and Starstrukk which Travis Clarke of We The Kings joined in on stage. Their set was truly a huge party! Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band turned heads on the Journey's Right Foot stage. Styled in overalls and incorporating an old fashioned washboard into their instrumental lineup, they stood out in the best way amongst the rest of the performers.
Making a very bold entrance, Bert McCracken, lead singer of The Used, emerged dawning two vivid, purple smoke bombs in each hand. This made my photographer's heart go crazy! Who doesn't love a gorgeous smoke cloud? Kicking off their set with some of my favorite songs Bert had hands in the air with Take It Away, Listening and I Caught Fire. I've mastered the art of dancing, singing and photographing all in one by now.
Skimming the lineup this year, one band really caught my eye and I absolutely had to interview them. Doll Skin, comprised of Sydney Dolezal, Nicole Rich, Meghan Herring and Alex Snowden, is a group of bold, smart women you want to keep your eye on. Sitting in a cubby of much needed shade we discussed what Warped Tour means to the thousands of fans flocking to the festival each day and advice for anyone thinking about starting their own band. Sydney pretty much summed it up best with, "No matter who you are or where you are from, you belong at Warped. If you don't feel like you belong anywhere else, you belong at Warped." I think any can relate to and agree with this statement. We've all felt out of place but Warped Tour welcomes so many different people from such diverse walks of life, you're sure to fit right in and feel comfortable in your skin. Sydney loves Warped Tour because at Warped you don't have to be ashamed or afraid to show self-harm scars. "At school they have to hide it but here they can literally be who they are and not hide anything." As far as advice for starting your own band or just going after any dream in general, Alex advises, "Just do it. Just dive in and try it!" I have no doubt that these women will be taking the music scene by storm and actually, they already are!
Having attended several We the Kings shows over the years, it was a pleasure to hangout with lead singer Travis Clarke! We the Kings opened the festival early in Nashville taking the stage around 11:30 a.m. Playing to hundreds of long time and new fans, a chorus of voices rose from the crowd during huge hits such as Check Yes Juliet, Skyway Avenue and their newly released single from the album Six, On My Love. Six is We the Kings sixth album and also represents the fans, the sixth member of the band. Cool concept right? The album was completely funded by the fans and if you zoom in to each letter on the cover you will notice they are entirely made up of each fan's face that donated to the PledgeMusic campaign for the album. Playing new songs from Six on the Vans Warped Tour, the band wasn't sure of the reaction they would receive from the fans but if you know the We the Kings fan base you would know that isn't something they need to worry about. Travis shares, "Looking out into the crowd I see people singing the lyrics and these songs have only been out for a couple days so it's impressive! I don't know if we ever really expected that. It's awesome." The We the Kings fan family is nothing to underestimate and Travis fully agrees. When discussing tour and what it's like to visit each city again, Travis admits it's hard to know what to expect as far as turn out. "When we do come to a city that we haven't been to in months, or years, or whatever it was, and people do come out and are just crazy, its a really cool feeling because you know it kind of revalidates everything that we are doing." Wrapping up their performances for the day in Nashville, Travis and guitarist Coley O'Toole played an intimate, acoustic set under the FEND tent to a lucky audience.
Well guys, if you haven't purchased your tickets yet for a remaining date on the final Vans Warped Tour you still have time! Take a road trip and relive some of the best Warped moments in your life. If you've never been then make new memories! Go for a surf at the rock show! The Vans Warped Tour has been a tradition, a safe place and a home for thousands of people over the past twenty three years or so. This will always be our favorite past time forever relived.