Vans Warped Tour 2017

The pinnacle of Summer Music Festivals visited the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland on July 16th. Like a summer storm, the Vans Warped Tour swept into town quickly and provided its own version of thunder and lightning throughout the afternoon and evening as over 60 bands played on five stages.
Vans Warped Tour 2017 summer poster

I’m always amazed at how the festival organizers are able to setup an intricate layout of merchandise booths, stages and equipment in a short amount of time, only to tear it all down and do it all over again the following day. However, the Vans Warped Tour is the largest and longest running festival in North America and has been chugging along smoothly for over 20 years and organizers have the logistics down to a science, which results in a memorable experience for those in attendance.
 
The Merriweather Post Pavilion sits on a 40 acre wooded lot and strolling through the outdoor venue fans were greeted to many colorful merchandise booths filled with clothing, cups, pins, hats, bags and more. There were so many interesting booths, that you could spend the day browsing the booths and not ever visit one of the five stages.
 
This year’s show included the usual lineup of eclectic music, but metal bands seemed to be more prominent this year, especially at the Mutant North and South stages. The most frustrating part of attending the festival is deciding which bands to see and which bands to miss. It’s the musical Sophie’s Choice for festival goers.
 
I spent most of the day bouncing between the Mutant North and South stages and made quick visits to the Skullcandy, Hard Rock and Journey’s Right Foot stages. Fortunately, I was able to experience incredible music from Beartooth, Blessthefall, Being As An Ocean, Hatebreed, Sylar, The Acacia Strain, After The Burial, Hundreth, Silverstein, Barb Wire Dolls and Fire From The Gods. However, I missed so many other great acts. I Prevail, Hands Like Houses, Memphis May Fire, Candiria, New Years Day, Carnifex, Sworn In, Municipal Waste, Bad Omens and Sick Of It All were all on my must see list but unfortunately they’ll have to wait for another day.
 
The venue was packed throughout the day and the crowd was as diverse as the music. The twenty something crowd dominated the scene, but there were plenty of teens and the over 30 crowd was present as well. Dyed hair, shaved heads, punk rockers, metalheads, hippies and hipsters were a common sight. While the crowd was wild during sets, with mosh pits and body surfing in full force, festival goers were laid back as they explored the festival grounds. One thing I’ve never witnessed at a Warped Tour is fighting or aggressive behavior. Each individual present is there for the love of music, which is always represented well.
 
If you haven’t been to the Vans Warped Tour, it should be on your bucket list. The festival provides a great atmosphere, incredible music and plenty of shopping. If you go, be prepared to make difficult decisions as to what bands to watch. The show runs through August 6 and all information can be found at vanswarpedtour.com.

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