I hurt today.

There’s not enough aloe in the world to make this sunburn tolerable. My throat is scratchy. I am still coughing up dirt. My legs feel like they will give out at any minute.

I hurt today but it is the best hurt you could ever imagine.

Yesterday was my favorite day of the summer… Warped Tour.

Growing up, I dreamed of the day I could go to Warped Tour. The closest the tour got to Iowa was either Minnesota or Illinois and I never got the chance to go. I would watch all the documentaries and live footage from the tour and pretend like I was there. It seemed like heaven. So many bands, so many cool people, so much to do, watch, see, hear… absolute heaven.

Now that I live in Minnesota, Warped Tour has become a summer staple, a dream come true, my heaven on earth.

Warped can be overwhelming. There are so many bands to see and so much to do. It can be dangerous. I can’t tell you how many people I saw passing out due to heat and dehydration. It can be expensive. All of the merchandise, food, and drinks. But most importantly, it can be the best day of your summer. Here’s my little survival guide to Warped Tour life:

  • Eat breakfast before hand.. and eat a lot. This year a group of us went out to Perkins early in the morning. It was the best decision I have ever made. Yeah, it sucks getting up that early but it gives you a chance to wake up, have some coffee and eat so you have energy the rest of the day. I know you’ve heard it a million times but I will say it again, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially on Warped Tour day.
  • Buy your tickets ahead of time. You’re already going to be standing in line for hours trying to get into the gates. Don’t add to that by having to stand in the ticket line too.
  • Bring your own bottle of water. Having to buy water inside the gates is expensive.
  • Spend the $2 and get a map and schedule. This will save you time so you don’t have to run back and forth between the stages and the inflatable schedule they have set up.
  • Bring a highlighter. This sounds dumb, I know, but seriously, bring a highlighter for the schedule so you don’t miss your favorites!
  • Have a game plan. Have your top 2-4 bands that you HAVE to see and work your schedule around those set times. There’s too many bands playing to see EVERYONE so just be prepared so skip some of the ones you wanted to see. Keep in mind that majority of these bands will go on tour after Warped tour so they will probably be headed your way again soon so don’t feel bad about missing them.
  • Find the one band that you will “lose it” to. This year, I lost it to Beartooth. I gave every ounce of energy I had left to this band. You won’t have enough energy to be in the pit for every band. You won’t be able to keep up. So pick the one band you’re going to go crazy for and go big.
  • Nobody is too cool for sunscreen. Seriously. I put sunscreen on close to every 15-20 minutes and still got completely roasted to the point where I already have blisters on my forehead. Granted, I’m a ginger and probably shouldn’t have been out in the sun anyway but seriously. Bring sunscreen. Warped always seems to fall on the sunniest day of the year and there is little to no shade for relief.
  • Water is more important than alcohol. I love to drink alcohol at shows. There’s nothing better than a cold beer in your hand when listening to music. I get it. This does not apply to Warped Tour. Drink water. I found myself running to the filling stations after every single set I saw. I must have filled my water bottle up at least 50 times. Warped Tour is always on the hottest day of the year. Don’t try to be cool and drink alcohol. There were numerous people passing out due to dehydration. Water is your best friend.
  • Bring a bandana. I don’t know how Warped tour is other places but up here it gets dusty. There’s so much dirt and dust kicked up during a pit that you’ll be coughing up dirt for days so bring a bandana to cover your nose and mouth with.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a breather. If you’re feeling overheated, go fill up your water and have a seat. Sometimes it’s more fun to just watch a massive mosh pit go off than to be in it.
  • Don’t waste your time with the signings/ meetings. Yeah, I get that you want to meet your favorite band but Warped Tour is all about the music. It’s stupid to spend half your day in long lines just to find out you can’t take pictures with the band, just have them sign something. It’s so impersonal and dumb. Wait until they come back to town and meet them then.
  • Don’t buy merch at the beginning of the day, but also, don’t wait too long. Keep in mind that the earlier you buy your merch, the longer you have to carry it around. But don’t forget, some stages close early so don’t wait too long to get it because it might be too late.
  • Did I mention to drink water and keep putting on sunscreen?

The biggest piece of advice I can give you about Warped Tour?

Have a great time and don’t hold back. Don’t be afraid of what other people may say about you going. Many of my friends think I’m far too old for this but you know what? I had a great time and will keep on going year after year.

I hurt today. I hurt so bad. Every movement sends a shock of pain through my body. It was so worth it. I can’t wait for Warped Tour next year.

Line Up:

There are too many to list so here’s a link

Venue: Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN

Sausage Fest Meter- 5 out of 10

Average Age of the Crowd- 17

Crowd Surfers- There’s no way to count this

Spotted Flying Through The Sky- bottles, hats, cell phones, sunglasses, shoes.. basically anything and everything

Broken Bones- I didn’t see any but I’m sure there were some

Drunkards Taken Out By Security- Security was too busy helping the kids out that were dehydrated

Found in the Pit- I saw so many lost shoes, cell phones, shirts, hats, sunglasses.. and so much more