Warped Tour is a long-standing rock and alternative music festival that has been around since 1995 (Wikipedia). This reputable tour is visited by an average of 570,000 people across the country (BloomConnections). Their audience and range continues to influence new generations as more people become interested in attending music festivals.

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Photo courtesy of Lani Panico

Lani Panico, a future 2017 Albright graduate majoring in English and communications, described Warped Tour as, “packed” when she attended. The average attendance, as of 2016, at each show ranges from approximately 8,800 to 18,000 people (The PRP).

Panico had attended Warped Tour in 2011 and 2013. When she went her first year, she was surprised that most of the people there were her age. Her experience was, “really great both times.”

One singer, at Warped 2013, decided to climb on top of the speakers.

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Andrew Oross, Navy Personnel Specialist, has attended Warped Tour five times. He describes his experience as being, “very exciting and definitely brings a lot of people together in a way to express themselves with their type of music.”

Panico explained that her favorite part of Warped was seeing, “all these people come together and be so friendly and bond over something.” She describes her experience at Warped, “The bands were really good and interesting. I learned a lot of new bands that were there and all of the people there both years were just very friendly. Everyone is just so nice to each other in that kind of environment.”

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Nicole Pinadella, future 2018 Albright graduate majoring in sociology and psychology, would like to attend Warped because it is rare to, “find people who like the same type of music.” She likes the idea that, “You meet new people who have the same interests in bands as you do.”

This video shows part of the enormous crowd for Pierce the Veil at Warped 2015. You can hear the crowd collectively sing along to the band while people crowd surf.

Oross said that at Warped, “There’s always a bunch of people every year which makes it even more fun, especially when you’re crowd surfing.” Panico enjoyed attending Warped because, “There were a bunch of people that liked exactly what I liked and I really liked being a part of that.”

Pinadella is a fan of rock and alternative music because, “The music is actually real.” She thinks that the music is not generic and, “each song is different.” Panico believes that rock and alternative music, “really reaches out to a different crowd that isn’t just radio music.” 

Oross likes rock and alternative music because, “there’s more feeling than other genres” He continued, “It doesn’t isolate to one topic. . . and it’s constantly changing especially with Warped Tour. As the years go by, the music always changes and Warped Tour always changes but it’s always the same format of music.”

Complaints for Warped Tour from Panico and Oross have a common theme: it was cramped and hot.

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We the Kings at Warped 2016

It is suggested that music festival attendance may be declining. This past year, Bonnaroo experienced its lowest attendance rate in 15 years (Consequence of Sound). When asked if she thought that this idea was accurate, Pinadella said, “I dont think so.” She explained, “I still hear about people still wanting to go to Warped Tour, like my friends talk about it every year.” 

Regarding attendance, Panico feels that, “Musical festival attendance is not decreasing, but I feel like Warped Tour attendance is decreasing.” She argues, “I feel like the festival hasn’t been promoting as many big artists as they used to.”

Oross has a different perspective. When asked if he thought music festival attendance was declining he said,  “At warped, no because they do bring new acts all the time.” He also feels that festival attendance is increasing. Regarding rock and alternative audiences however, he said,  “I feel like its going to decline in the future.”

Eric Danton, from Paste Magazine writes,

“Over the past 15 years, though, the number of marquee weekend-long music events has exploded. Now there’s Firefly, Hangout, Forecastle, Boston Calling, Governors Ball. . .”

He explains that,

“As the market corrects and we ease down the slope from peak festival, it’s clear that plenty of them will survive.”

People argue that music festival attendance is growing. Due to sponsors and social media, people are subjected to this advertising of new music and tours. An article from Digital Music News claims,

“Given that in 2012 alone, brand sponsorship of music festivals in North America reached over $1 billion, it’s easy to see how companies from a variety of sectors would be persuaded to dedicate part of their marketing and branding budget to supporting public events, helping them to expand in scope and popularity.”

Alessandra Giovarruscio, from Digital Music News, writes about the increased number of music festival attendance. She explains,

“With it being so easy and cost-effective to hear a vast selection of high-quality music on demand, it’s the experience more than anything that drives attendance”

Because there are so many festivals and audiences have various choices, attendance may seem to be declining for some tours. This does not mean people are not going to music festivals; on the contrary, it is because there are so many to choose from. Festivals that regularly receive thousands of attendants may see a decline because people choose to attend other concerts or tours.

Social media plays a role in promoting music festivals, thus the possible increase in attendance. The writer from  Digital Music News says that Millennials like sharing their music festival experiences on social media thus increasing awareness and promoting the event.

This is the beginnings of a mosh pit during the band Four Year Strong during Warped 2016.

Forbes uses multiple graphics to compare Coachella to other music festivals such as Warped Tour. The graphics show that Coachella ticket prices are higher than the Vans Warped Tour exponentially. The article by Emily Canal continues to show prices paid per band and beverage prices.

Panico hopes for Warped Tour to, “bring … more current bands in.” Pinadella had heard about Warped from her friends and listened to their experiences. If she would attend this year, she would like to see bands such as Sleeping with Sirens, Bring Me the Horizon, and Yellowcard.

Regarding Warped, Oross said, “I like it because I can relate to it and I can relate to the bands.” He is influenced by the tour because it provides a message that, as a band or musician, “Anyone can make it.” He also believes that for these artists, “Warped Tour is a good starting point.” When asked what bands at Warped were his favorite, he replied, “It’s not about the band it’s about the music.”

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Warped Tour has an immense fan-base and has continued to grow and reach different audiences with new bands and old favorites. People who have attended believe that Warped has been an influential part to their music experience. Their experience at Warped has been positive, filled with bands, music, and lasting memories.  While some speculate that music festival attendance may be declining, Warped Tour will always be there for all musicians and those who love rock and alternative music. For those who are interested in attending Warped tour, visit their website http://vanswarpedtour.com/ to find dates and the lineup which will be announced in March.

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