Another phenomenally hot and sunny summer day in Toronto and excited fans have been waiting in line for the gates to open to The Flats at Budweiser Stage since the wee hours of the morning. “Why”, you might ask? The answer is simple. Vans Warped Tour is in town and this sold-out event is THE place to see and be seen. Unlike this “old fart” who actually remembers the early Warped days , the majority of today’s fans weren’t even born when this festival spectacle began some almost-25 years ago. back then, it seemed as though Warped was more geared towards skateboarding and punk music. Today, it’s all about the music, merchandise, and good vibes.

With some 5 or 6 stages spread amongst the waterfront “Flats”, the music was nonstop throughout the day. As soon as one band completed their set on one stage, the next was revving up on another. Unfortunately, that meant having to choose, at times, between which show you wanted to see the most. All bands had merch tents, which seemed to be everywhere. A very cool set up indeed, with bands signing and selling stuff for throngs of adoring fans lined up to meet their favourite artists. (Which on occasion caused total gridlock with no one being able to move in any direction.) Food and drink concessions were also everywhere, and sucked the money out of most of the festival-goers’ pockets at some point during the day.

Check out this Vans Warped Tour “Last Call” video.

That all said, one nice thing offered were free water refills. Of course, you had to first buy the $5 bottle of water. For anyone that didn’t want the standard festival food staple of hot dogs or pizza slices, there were amazing food trucks, and even ice cream trucks, scattered across the grounds. It made no difference what your craving was, however, you were going to be in line for whatever you desired for a long long time. The only place that I didn’t encounter a huge line… the men’s washroom.

Nervous parents that didn’t want to let their kids loose in the festival on their own were offered a free parent pass for any under 18 concert-goer ticket purchased. I thought that was really nice touch too. This is also the final Warped Tour, after almost a quarter century of Warped, this “right of passage” festival is calling it quits. Although their are hints of possible 2019 celebrations of some sort, for the 25th anniversary. Keep your fingers crossed.

With 60ish bands performing during the day, we found ourselves running back and forth from one stage to another in an insane attempt at trying to catch as many artists as possible in the allowed amount of time. The bands that we managed to see this year included: Bedouin Soundclash, Broadside, Courage My Love, Every time I Die, Issues, Mayday Parade, Motionless In White, Palaye Royale, Reel Big Fish, Silverstein, Simple Plan, Sum-41, Tonight Alive, Twiztid, Underoath, and Unearth.

Remaining Warped Tour Dates:

07/23 – Milwaukee, WI
07/24 – Indianapolis, IN
07/25 – Darien Center, NY
07/26 – Scranton, PA
07/27 – Mansfield, MA
07/28 – Wantagh, NY
07/29 – Columbia, MD
07/30 – Charlotte, NC
07/31 – Atlanta, GA
08/02 – Jacksonville, FL
08/03 – Orlando, FL
08/04 – Tampa, FL
08/05 – West Palm Beach, FL