Kennedy Brock, The Maine
It was so hot the blacktop could fry an egg. And despite the heat, my friends and I lasted all day. Although it was so influential for me, the details are a bit hazy. Maybe it's because I've been to, I don't know, 100.
Warped shows since then? That being said, I'm pretty sure that Taking Back Sunday headlined that night. It's crazy to think that we've toured with those great guys twice now. That first Warped Tour was where I got a glimpse of how you could do the band thing DIY. Some of my favorite bands at the time like the Academy Is… (William has been so great to us) spent so much of their time talking to fans like myself. It's people like them and sets from bands like the Used—who blew my fuckin’ mind, by the way—that made me want to be a part of this cult of misfits. Every Warped I've been to since has been a learning experience. I've loved it all, but that first experience is when it all began to feel attainable. Lucky us, now we get to call this circus our family.
David Alexander, Carousel Kings
My first Warped Tour experience, I remember distinctly, was in 2005 when I saw the Offspring jam! They pulled out a fire hose during their set to spray the crowd, it was unlike anything else I've ever seen or experienced. Very cool.
Tyler Dennen, Sworn In
In 2009 myself, Eugene [Kamlyuk] and Chris [George] went to Warped for the first time. I remember vividly falling for the bootleg tour shirt vendors that swarmed the walk to the gates. I remember a guy at a tent showing me a song called “The Greatest Story Ever Told” on headphones, and then buying a CD from Ice Nine Kills. I also vividly remember seeing Bring Me The Horizon play one of the smaller stages at the Milwaukee Warped Tour, and freaking out when Oli [Sykes] started teaching the crowd their new song “Diamonds Aren't Forever” and seeing a dude do a backflip in the pit and then immediately throw up. That day was inspiring as hell, and we got home that night and practiced until 4 in the morning on our Thrice and Avenged Sevenfold covers.
My first Warped experience was an experience I will never forget. It was Warped 2004 and a ton of my favorite bands were playing, such as Coheed And Cambria, Billy Talent and Yellowcard, to name a few. I had no idea what to expect when I went to my first Warped; I was only 13 years old, but the moment I walked through the front gates, I knew it was something magical. I instantly felt like I belonged. Time flew and hours felt like minutes. The highlight of this day, for me, was actually meeting Coheed And Cambria. I bought their new CD and went to the back of a long line so I could meet the band. Right after I bought the CD, one of their roadies grabbed me and started freaking out. He was like “DUDE, you’re coming to the front of the line because you bought the CD!” I couldn’t believe it; all I could think was, “Isn’t everyone in this line going to buy their CD and support them?” Regardless, it made me really appreciate the band even more, and now that I’m a touring musician, I totally understand how valuable it is when a fan buys your album.
My first Warped Tour was when I was 14 in the golden year of 2008. The friend that I always went to shows with back in Atlanta managed to get us tickets through the catering volunteer situation. Highlights were serving Katy Perry some potatoes, stalking All Time Low at the BBQ, and being waved to by Hayley Williams. Looking back on that lineup is fucking mind blowing!
Ollie Baxxter, Broadside
In 2010, I worked the entire summer on Warped Tour for a PETA2 campaign involving circus elephants. I moshed in an elephant suit to LMFAO.
Mark O’Connell, Taking Back Sunday
In 1997, Kevin [Lyman] let a band called the Swiftys play the show at Randall’s Island in New York City. The drummer named Vinny Rosebloom had just quit a week or two before, and my friend Nick called me and asked if I could fill in for him. I didn't believe him when he told me that it was going to happen. My brother picked me up from summer school in Oceanside, and we drove down there. On the way, he kept on telling me that my friend Nick was lying and we were wasting our time. But when we showed up, the security knew what we were talking about and I was let in. Playing the show was amazing, and I also got to watch the Bouncing Souls, Suicide Machines and Millencolin from stage. It was an amazing day. Thank you for that, Kevin!
Dan Clermont, Set It Off
My first Warped was back in 2004. Cody [Carson], myself and another close friend of ours had skipped school that day, not having any clue what I was getting myself into. I came home covered in dirt, sick and sore, but knew instantly that's what I wanted to do with my life.