So much has changed since the Warped Tour’s initial jaunt 18 years ago. The world is so different thanks to the Internet, which was in its infancy during Bill Clinton’s first term as President. And then there is the social media phenomenon, which has become so pervasive over recent years.
And then there is the music industry with contemporary service charges that exceed what ticket prices were back in the day.
But it’s like stepping back in time when checking out the Warped Tour, which makes its annual stop Friday at the Susquehanna Bank Center.
Sure, the price is higher (it’s $31.50) than it was during its early days ($15) but it’s risen with regular inflation, not music industry inflation. Parking ($20 and $25 is almost as costly as a ticket, take the ferry and avoid the concert parking price and bridge toll) However, fans get a great bang for their buck, which is necessary since so many attending the event are too young to imbibe. The kids need a break from the price gouge.
The Warped Tour is a right of passage for the young pierced, tattooed punks and skaters in attendance. Fans can experience an overwhelming amount of music over the long day at the shed. It’s still quite a bargain.
Such heavy hitters as All Time Low, Every Time I Die, New Found Glory and Yellowcard are on this year’s bill, along with a myriad of other acts that are trying to make a splash.
It is fan and band friendly. What other tour is set up in such an egalitarian manner? The lineups are set up in a random manner every morning. So perceived headliners could be playing during the early afternoon. There is no rhyme or reason to who plays when and that’s a refreshing change from the predictable world of rock, in which everything is micro-managed.
The Warped Tour is also a great scene for the bands. The vibe is laidback and fun. Many of the groups are barbecuing with each other. The camaraderie is more like summer camp than summer tour.
The Warped Tour has evolved a bit. There is a ‘House of Marley’ stage, which is home to hip-hop and reggae. There is an ‘Acoustic Basement’ tent, in which recording artists get mellow and stripped down but the punk rock flag still flies high.