In honor of our annual Warped Tour special, we talked to your favorite bands about their very first Warped experiences and picked our favorites to share. After all, most of the bands that play Warped now used to be audience members every summer!

Don’t forget to pick up our Warped Tour ’16 issue, featuring Sleeping With Sirens, Waterparks, Tonight Alive, the Word Alive, Motionless In White, Real Friends and more! They told us all about their Warped disaster stories, how to survive the tour and so much more—but you’ll have to pick up the magazine to find out.


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What’s the story of your first Warped Tour? Let us know in the comments.

CROWN THE EMPIRE; Brandon Hoover (guitarist)
The first time I went to Warped was back in 2009. I remember the first band playing when I walked in was the Maine, then walking to the next stage and seeing the Devil Wears Prada, then going to the next stage and seeing Saosin. I was blown away by all the different genres playing at the same festival—I loved it. The moment I remember the most was watching Saosin play “You're Not Alone.” I was just getting into the scene around that time and that song was one of my favorites.

MAYDAY PARADE; Jake Bundrick (drummer)
My first Warped Tour experience was a brutal one. It was back on 2006; I wasn't even attending. Mayday was selling our EP, Tales Told By Dead Friends, in the lines to the kids waiting to get into the show. I remember watching the Bled from the fence outside of the venue. I could hear them clear as day and loved every second of that show. My favorite moment was finally getting to shower after about 12 days straight without taking one. It was rough.

NEW FOUND GLORY; Cyrus Bolooki (drummer)
My first Warped Tour experience was in 1997 at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater in South Florida. All of my favorite bands at the time were on the bill… Blink-182, Millencolin, Lagwagon, Less Than Jake, MxPx, the Suicide Machines, and I got to see them all at one show. It was amazing! Seeing all of my favorite bands in one place was almost too overwhelming for me, but I think my most memorable moment was when I was in the crowd getting ready to watch Blink-182, there were these random guys on stage throwing stickers out into the crowd. My friend caught one and gave it to me, and it happened to be for a band called A New Found Glory (I wasn’t in the band yet and they had just played their first show only weeks before that day). Little did I know that the person throwing stickers out was Ian [Grushka, bass player] and that I would soon become the drummer of the band!

LIKE PACIFIC; Chris Thaung (bassist)
I first went to Warped Tour in 2003 at Molson Park in Barrie, Ontario. It rained hard the night before and the park grounds were just a massive mud pit everywhere you went. I wanted to see MEST so badly, but Tony had thrown out his back and left the tour that day—I was so fucking bummed. From what I could remember, I ended up seeing Bowling For Soup, Rancid, the Ataris, Dropkick Murphys, Andrew WK, Pennywise, Simple Plan, and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. [My favorite moment was] seeing Rancid for the first time in 2003. Such an awesome experience as an impressionable youngster. Also seeing Good Charlotte in 2004, they played “Predictable” for the first time, it was so rad. It was awesome seeing GC handle the hecklers, they got bottled pretty hard that year but they played it off so well and professionally. I'm so glad that doesn't exist anymore and that festival goers are much more supportive of every band now.

SAYWECANFLY; Braden Barrie
The first time I ever went to Warped Tour was because I won a slot in the Acoustic Basement tent in 2013. Obviously I was super nervous because it was pouring rain and I had no idea where I was going, but it was pretty awesome experiencing that world for the first time as a small piece of it. I think the only band I got to see that day was Hawthorne Heights.

EMAROSA; Bradley Walden (vocalist)
I actually don’t remember my first Warped Tour specifically—it was years ago, I have a terrible memory but I remember feeling so free and experience a senses overload. There’s so much going on and everywhere to be. I couldn’t tell you who I saw or any specific moment. I just know that I was happy and felt at home. Last year was actually my first time on the tour. I was so overwhelmed by the demand of the day and how much actually goes into putting the Warped Tour together and continuing on throughout the summer. It was inspiring and motivating. The first thing I remember is how much I loved catering. Just food, really.

STATE CHAMPS; Tyler Szalkowski (guitarist)
[My first Warped Tour experience] was the Boston date of Warped Tour 2005. My mom drove me, my brother and a couple of our friends out for the day. The excitement was unreal. I parked myself at the main stage as that year was stacked and saw Fall Out Boy, Senses Fail, My Chemical Romance, the Starting Line, Hawthorne Heights, Millencolin, Relient K, Avenged Sevenfold and probably some more I’m forgetting. My favorite moment was seeing Senses Fail and Fall Out Boy. I was such a huge fan of both and was over the moon to be seeing each band for the first time. I also remember being very excited that my mom gave me money for a T-shirt. I just thought it was so cool that I went and I could go into 9th grade that year with something to talk about when asked, “What did you do this summer?”

THE MAINE; Kennedy Brock (guitarist)
It's all a blur now, I just remember feeling overwhelmed in the best way. Lugging in as much water as I could muster and getting stuck in seemingly endless crowds. Where else can you find all of your favorite bands in one place? The second year I attended, I had such a good time that my friends and I decided to drive to the next date because we couldn't get enough. I think Warped tour kick-started my desires for touring. [I saw] New Found Glory, Motion City Soundtrack, Taking Back Sunday, Atreyu and more I'm sure. The environment just grabbed ahold of me screaming at me to have fun, and sometimes literally. It was the counter-culture I was looking for. I just took it all in loving every second of it. I remember seeing and meeting bands like the Academy Is…, and wanting so badly to be a part of their world. If I could only tell myself we'd be touring together a few short years later. I still love everything about the dirty, sweaty, hot Warped Tour days where, for miles in every direction, music is the only thing on everyone's mind.

Watch more: Warped Tour Survival Guide