Warped Tour Rocks Hartford


Eric Uhl

Eric Uhl, Reporter

On an impulse decision last July, I drove up to the Xfinity Theater in Hartford and went to my first Warped Tour. I had heard about the nationwide traveling concert festival before but I didn’t know a lot about the show, other than it was the 20th anniversary and has featured bands like Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, A Day to Remember, and Green Day. I was quick to discover that  Warped Tour had grown tremendously in the 20 years since its founding in 1994. What started off as a purely punk rock show had evolved into a touring festival hosting artists from all genres including electronic and rap, while still maintaining its punk roots.  This year, Warped Tour’s stop in Connecticut featured over 120 bands on 8 different stages. Performers included metalcore bands Of Mice and Men and Parkway Drive, punk groups We Are the In Crowd and Four Year Strong, rapper Watsky, as well as a lineup of local bands.

The first band I saw was We Are the In Crowd, a punk band from New York. I didn’t know any of their music beforehand, but they gained a new fan afterwards. You can always judge a band based of their stage presence, and not only was We Are the In Crowd energetic and attentive to the audience but they sounded well-rehearsed at the same time. After the show, I purchased a copy of their album. A great part about Warped Tour is the merch. The official compilation album, featuring one song from each band, costs $5 and bands full albums cost no more than $10 each and can be purchased throughout the day. Its a great way for bands such as We Are the In Crowd to get their name out there and for concert-goers to go home with tons of new music. Some bands are also walking around during the day just like everyone else, so it gives new and old fans a chance to talk with them without the hassle of meet and greet lines

My favorite moment from the day happened during Four Year Strong’s set. During their set I was able to crowd surf for the first time, a well practiced “sport” among the punk rock community. Crowd surfing is when a person is held afloat by the audience and “surfs” over them towards the barrier by front of the stage, since the crowd is too thick to move through. Its an amazing experience that helps you develop trust in the people around, unlike any other concerts i’ve previously been to. While you do get thrown around a bit, its a chance to get as close to the band as possible without going on stage. Recent Mills graduate Ed Kloczko described his first experience crow-surfing at Warped Tour 2014 as “Nuts. I thought it was going to be way scarier than it was. It was so much fun, and you can feel the good vibes as you’re surfing; people do their best to keep you up and will try to get you back up if you get dropped”.

The last band I saw was Of Mice and Men. As the headliner set of the night, no other bands were playing on the other stages so the crowd was huge. Senior Taylor Copeland says that it was “At least 3000 people”. Ed Kloczko thinks that it was closer to “four thousand people”. The audience was radiating with energy, and Of Mice and Men was able to give it right back to them. The amount of crowd-surfers increased dramatically, but the audience was ready for them. You can watch a Go-Pro video of interviewee Ed Klockzo and reporter Eric Uhl crowdsurfing during Of Mice and Men’s set here.  Although Of Mice and Men were confined to a 30 minute set , they were able to play all their hits and leave the audience satisfied until next year.

My best advice for those who decide to go next year is very simple: bring a bag for your merch and bring friends too. For the amount of bands playing, tickets are relatively cheap- last year tickets were priced $45 per person and could be purchased online or at the door up until the last set, so it’s cost effective for everyone. Regardless if you like the music or not, there’s a little bit of something for everyone, from new music to meet and greets to volunteering opportunities and more. Summer dates for Warped Tour 2015 were announced earlier this month, with the tour scheduled to come to Hartford on July 12th. The lineup at for date and ticket prices will be announced in December. For updates and merch check out Warped Tour on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @VansWarpedTour and www.vanswarpedtour.com.