It takes a dedicated fan to stand in the sun all day in 106-degree weather for a music festival. On Friday, August 2, approximately 18,000 of these hardcore fans converged on Gexa Energy Pavilion in Fair Park for the 2013 Vans Warped Tour. They braved the heat with good reason: with over 100 bands on nine stages, this is one of the biggest live music events to hit Dallas every year.
For those who have never attended Warped Tour, the first thing to understand is that you will not be able to see anything close to all the bands. To make it even trickier, you won’t be able to plan your day out in advance, as the schedule is not available until you arrive at the show. There is a large sign with the schedule, but it’s probably a good idea just to spring for the couple bucks to get a printed schedule and map. Once you get a chance to check out the schedule, prepare to be overwhelmed by the number of options (and possibly disappointed to discover that two bands you wanted to see are playing at the same time on opposite ends of the festival).
While punk and metal bands made up the largest presence (including standouts like the UK’s Bring Me the Horizon, Chiodos, and Black Veil Brides), there was plenty of variety to be had. The Spotify stage featured hip hop acts, including crowd favorites MC Lars (complete with golden Zelda cartridge on a chain) and Big Chocolate. The Acoustic Basement provided a somewhat more relaxed atmosphere. Reel Big Fish and Beebs and her Money Makers brought out the brass instruments to add a bit of ska and funk to the proceedings. Lastly, representing the local boys, Bowling for Soup provided their infectious brand of power pop to keep things hopping.
While everyone was obviously enjoying the music, you didn’t have to look hard to see the effects of the heat on the crowd. Security was constantly lifting dehydrated fans over the barriers to escort them to the first aid tents. People were passing out in the concession lines. Both the tour and venue staff did an impressive job making the best of a tough situation. The aforementioned first aid tents were everywhere. A large hydration station was set up in the middle of the festival so everyone could refill with cold water. The temperature was certainly harsh, but things could have been much worse.
Dallas was one of the last stops on the 2013 tour, which has now wrapped up. If you want to enjoy a day’s worth of live music, though, and take care to stay hydrated, next year’s Warped Tour should not be missed.