By Bernice Pfluger
If you’re looking for a review of the how performers did, how the stages looked, how the acoustics sounded from 40+ bands, do not read this. This review is about my experience at the Warped Tour—the people and my take on them.
So, Gretchen, my 13-year-old daughter, and I arrived at Jones Beach at 9:30am. Doors opened at 11am but we got to skip the line because we donated food (a special promotion) and got in at 10am. The first thing I noticed about the crowd was that everyone was so young! I saw a few girls with flower headbands and I was confused…I thought I was at a Warped Tour not Coachella. Weird. 😉
Once we walked into the open space, it was overwhelming but only because everything seemed so disorganized. There was a big board that listed the time and place of where the bands would play. But if you wanted an 8×11 copied map, it cost $2. I didn’t buy that because I took a photo of the board but I wished there was map of all the booths that were there. It also seemed like no one who worked at Jones Beach or at Warped Tour knew where anything was. It was frustrating, but after three hours, we finally got a feel of the land. It was crowded but you didn’t feel claustrophobic. On the upside, there were a lot of meet and greets for fans to get up close to the band members; there were giveaways at a lot of the tents and a lot of merch on sale.
But the most important thing Gretchen wanted to see was the Warped YouTubers. I didn’t know that before we went, but lucky thankfully we found that tent. A couple of YouTubers like Bryan Stars, Dee Fizzy, and Johnnie Guilbert were going to be there. We were lucky because got there before there was a crowd. But as we were waiting, the crowd was getting insanely huge. When security told people to line up, we felt good since we were towards the front BUT people started squeezing in and instead of forming a single line, they formed an uncontrolled, nonlinear cluster. These latecomers quickly messed it up for everyone. Since it became a safety hazard, security told people to disband and that the YouTubers would not come out. After half an hour, the fans finally started to leave. Gretchen and I knew that they would eventually emerge, so we hovered and after a while, people started forming a real, civilized line. Gretchen and I were finally first on line (hell yeah)! When the YouTubers came back, we took pictures and it was a nice time.
I was surprised that Gretchen started crying afterwards. She was hysterical. When I asked why, she said, they changed her life. These were the only people she had to see. WHAT?! I was at a Music Festival and the most important people were YouTubers? Apparently, other attendees felt this way since this was the only line that was insane and mobbed. The kids were going crazy. When did Youtubers become celebrities?
Next, we saw a sign to meet and greet certain performers for a small fee. We signed up to see Jordan of The Ready Set do an acoustic show. This was with Bandhappy. You can sign up and get semi private lessons with Warped Tour musicians, learn about the music business or hear acoustic performances. This was pretty cool. Our cost was $40 for an hour with Jordan. It was an intimate affair. There were maybe 30 girls and me who walked over to a secluded area near the tour buses where there was a small tent set up. He performed a few songs, talked about his music career, answered questions, gave autographs and you could take photos. It was like a Meet and Greet but better because you felt close to the performer. It didn’t feel rushed and it felt exclusive. He was so sweet. If I wasn’t old enough to be his mother… jk.
Another person we signed up to see up close and personal was Fronz from Attila. He gave a talk about how to succeed in the music business. Now, Gretchen and I have no desire to be in a band but Gretchen is a huge fan of his. His songs sound scary to me and there is a lot of cursing (I think their genre of music is called Deathcore). One of their popular songs is “Middle Fingers Up.” Sure, I was prejudging. I thought he would be scary looking, wearing leather everything and having black liner. But I was so way off base. He has dyed light purple hair, wore big neon colored frames and wore fun shorts. He was very smart, funny and nice. He has been in the business since he was 14 years old. He even has his own clothing line!
So my take on meeting the musicians is this: they were both passionate and driven. They loved their fans and are loyal to them. It’s incredible that these guys both started at such a young age and have been doing this for over 10 years. But when you think that they are both in their early 20s, it is mind blowing. I am impressed by their dedication to their craft. I have new respect for them, especially Fronz since he was nothing like I expected. Of course, I will still cringe when I first hear the word “F*ck” in their song but I might put my middle finger up and bang my head.
Even though I did not see any stage performances from bands like Mayday Parade, Of Mice & Men, Sleeping With Sirens and the other killer bands, my experience was unique and enlightening
Bernice’s Takeaway: There was something that really bothered me, though. There was a booth where you could paint on your body and I saw one girl who painted on her neck “No Ragrets.” I thought it should be “No regrets,” right? Just to be sure I looked up those words in Urban Dictionary (in case I am too old and am the idiot). To my surprise there is “No Ragrets” in Urban dictionary. Another young girl had painted on her stomach “free butt hugs.” So, you basically could touch her butt. I don’t have a problem with women who say stuff like that but this girl was under the age of 15 and she was proud of that comment. What is wrong with society when young girls think that is appropriate?!