Vans Warped Tour '17: Pomona

Band: American Authors Photo by @instaxhype/@guerraxhype

This past Sunday marked the end of the Vans Warped Tour, an on the road tour playing all overthe country featuring hundreds of rock bands. It started in summer of 1995 and has ever since been a punk rock festival showcasing some big names as well as up and coming bands and artist. It's final destination was at the Fairplex in Pomona California which I was lucky enough to attend and experience the show first hand.

Band: American Authors Photo by @instaxhype/@guerraxhype

This was my first time ever attending and it was one of the best experiences of my life to date. The music, the people and the atmosphere made the experience all the more memorable for this first timer. I must confess however that I am not the most savvy when it comes to punk rock music, but it has always sparked an interest in me that I can not explain. You literally say that I was going in partially blind because I did not know many of the artists performing. However, this gave the experience that much better because I didn't know what was coming up next. At the end of the day I came out with a new discovered love and new recommendations for my playlists.

Band: Memphis May Fire Photo by @instaxhype/@guerraxhype

Just to throw a few names out there, I managed to witness Attila, CKY, Futuristic, New Years Day, American Authors, Andy Black, Beartooth, Neckdeep, Creeper and TiLLie. Some of these names I had only heard of recently when I discovered that the lineup had been chosen. For example, Creeper who's song "Black Rain" has gotten me feeling all types of ways, was a band I had never heard of up until now.

Photo by @instaxhype/@guerraxhype


So lets move our focus more to the layout itself and how Vans Warped Tour is set up. The festival is divided among several different stages. You have Journeys Left Foot, Journeys Right Foot, Mutant North, Mutant South, Skullcandy, Hard Rock and Full Sail University. The most popular stages and hosting the more "bigger well known bands" play at Journeys Left and Right Foot Stages (not always true). Then you have the up and coming bands play at stages like Full Sail University and Skullcandy. One thing to note, is that all the larger stages seem to be right next to each other but more on that later. One thing I did wish was for there to be some map system saying where each stage was at, especially for a newcomer like me, but it did make me go out and explore. Maybe there was a map and I didn't see it?! But after walking around for a bit you got a sense of where everything was located.

Band: Falling in Reverse Photo by @instaxhype/@guerraxhype


One of the interesting things about Vans Warped tour are the set times. The times are posted the day of the venue which seems odd to me. This means that you can't really prepare before hand because you don't know who plays when. However, because of the crazy tour schedules I can see why they do this. For example, before they arrived at Pomona they previously performed at Mountain View California one day, San Diego the next and then finally Pomona. That's three days of non stop playing!!

@Lovecrew Mural Photo by @instaxhype/@guerraxhype

If you want to know what bands play what you have to see their inflatable set time sign or buy one from a person selling them outside. When you take all into consideration it made sense and think of all the paper being saved!! All I did was take a photo of the set times displayed and a few alarms and I was set.

Band: Andy Black Photo by @instaxhype/@guerraxhype

The other thing that is pretty awesome is the way the stages are right next to each other. My first thought was "how" and "why" then I realized what was happening. When one band ended on one stage within a few minutes, if not right away, the next band began on the next stage. This is something really cool and gets rid of the whole waiting for half an hour before you hear another thing. For a photographer it made it a breeze to go from stage to stage.

Band: New Years Day Photo by @instaxhype/@guerraxhype


One of the things you notice at Vans Warped Tour are the vendors. You notice the Vans Merch tent, food trucks and tents, information booths and the bands merch tents. Then you notice that a lot of tents are for noble causes. One of the messages shared through out the concert is support for one another. And every tent there had a message to share and time to listen out if you need help. Getting on the serious note I really do appreciate such dedication and the time people take to listen and lend a hand to others, especially when its a stranger.

There always seems to be this negative stigma that follows people who listen to this genre of music. That they are up to no good and sometimes outcasts, but in reality they are all people going through day to day life who take music as a positive way to cope with it all.

Some Tips

So as you know this is my first time actually attending the concert and I've decided to make a quick tips list to get you ready for future Vans Warped Tours.

1. Take a bottled water (sealed) or empty. Like most venues and large festivals, anything with liquid inside is always never allowed. That's why a sealed water bottle is recommended or any empty water bottle because you can refill it at the hydration station. This festival allows you to take a sealed bottle which is always never allowed anywhere, so definitely take advantage of it. I used the hydration station at least six times when I was there. Water is important so keep hydrated!!

2. Sunscreen!!If your familiar with California summers, especially here in SoCal, you know how hot it can get. You may not feel it then but believe me it will hurt later. You definitely don't want to show up to work or school the next day looking like a bright tomato. Cool thing is there are plenty of shady areas to cool down at the festival but still take care of your beautiful skin.

3. Get there early and plan. Like I said You don't know who's playing at what time until the day off, so its best to be there early and plan. Know when your favorite bands are playing and when they might be doing signings.

4. Bring money for food. Music festivals are an all day thing and while its great to wait and try to get to up close and personal with your favorite band, don't forget to eat. I can not say how many times I have seen people pulled out of the front because they fainted from hydration and not eating. This can easily ruin an amazing day but also easily avoidable.

5. Enjoy and let lose!! Seriously! you are there with hundreds of other people who like the same things you probably do and enjoy it. Clear your mind and just let lose. Just enjoy things and also be on the lookout for crazy things you will only see at Warped Tour.

Overall I am just so grateful to have been able to attend this festival. I came out with wonderful memories and a deeper respect for punk rock. Vans Warped Tour is definitely a festival that everyone should check out. It gives you the ability to be yourself and let lose. I can honestly say that I will be going next year in 2018. As a photographer or attendee I'll definitely seeing some of you there again. Big thanks to the people who made this possible.

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