Last week, the Vans Warped Tour hit So Cal with a few dates. I had not been to the Warped tour before, so figured I should try it out. Friday I went out and shot the show at the Fairplex in Pomona. I should start by saying that my son had warned me I may not like the “Emo” type crowd – or the music. He was right, and wrong. The Warped tour – for those that have not heard of it – is a festival type concert with about 9 stages. Each stage hosts anywhere from 4- 15 bands throughout one very long day. Along with the band performances, there are various food and merchandise vendors.
The image above is from the Fairplex race track grandstands, and it only shows about half of the setup. This is one big show, and I really enjoyed it. Yeah, not all of the acts are my type, but most were great. And the crowd was…. younger than me. Emo? no, but not a Van Halen crowd. Still, they were great and it seemed everyone had fun.
When I first walked in, another photographer suggested I see an English band called Skinny Lister. They said they were “kind of Punk English folk music”. WTF? Had to see that, and I was surprised. These guys were great. We’re talking accordions at the Warped Tour. Enough said, totally unique.
Next up was The Ghost Inside, which had a huge crowd and sounded great, but I wanted to shoot Anti-Flag so I started walking. Warped Tour is big… and getting from one side to the other through the crowd can take awhile. Bands like Anti-Flag are the main reason I went. I wanted the chance to photograph some bands that might be good photo opportunities, and these guys supplied a ton. I have to say, I want to see them again. Great performance.
I had not heard of Breath Carolina before, but another concert photographer, who’s work I like, was touring with them, so I decided to check them out. Enjoyed them a lot, and again, the energy of the band was a great for photos. And they had a HUGE crowd:
One downside of Warped is the number of photographers. There were people in the photo pit with iPhones, and some with no camera at all. It made for a tough shoot at times.
One of the fun things at Warped is the crowd surfing. When you are in the photo pit there is a constant flow of people across the barricade. They surf over, security catches them, and they head back. Very cool, and a lot of the bands jump in!
The shot above is of New Found Glory’s lead singer in the crowd. Dangerous? Maybe. Fun? Oh yeah.
Pierce The Veil
Next up was Pierce The Veil. This band I knew, and they lived up to the hype. Great sound, attitude, and performance. The shots above say it all.¬†The guitarist Tony Perry was a blast to shoot, but the whole band was killer!
New Found Glory
Next, I caught New Found Glory. I knew of the band, and they are not one I really cared about, except that I wanted to shoot the bigger name bands. They were good and all, just not my taste.¬†As you can see from the crowd in the shot above, they are popular.
Miss May I
Last I went to check out Miss May I. I had not heard of them until I started planning for shooting the show. Man, I am glad I saw them. Great band, and a great show. Singer Levi Benton (pictured above) rocks.
So, over all I would say the day was a success. The festival was well run, with lots of food and drinks available. The only real downside was the heat and dust. The heat was tough on the people, and the dust on the camera gear.
If you went, or have been before, let me know your thoughts below.