Vans warped tour, Canterbury Park, Shakopee Minnesota 7/23/17

Being a little bit older, for a long time I never understood this tour. But over the last few years of witnessing it, it’s finally sunk in to how incredible it really is. My first thought is why would you want to see a band play for only 30 minutes? Especially if it was one of my favorite bands. I came to discover that most of these bands, except for a small handful of them are still relatively new. That makes this type of a format perfect for visibility. In a time where downloading music has pretty much killed the music industry, the only hope for a new band to be discovered or noticed is on a tour just like this.

The festival is extremely organized with six different stages. Every 30 minutes a different band starts. There’s a lottery every day to see who plays at what time. Except for GWAR, you could play at 12 noon one day and 8 PM the next. Each set is 30 minutes long and as a concertgoer you can move from stage to stage and choose the bands that you most would like to see.

On top of the music, it’s a fantastic festival with all types of different artists selling everything from jewelry to T-shirts. There are several organizations there as well spreading the word of their cause like becoming a vegan. The kids/concertgoers really seem to embrace this festival. It’s very well organized and they even will let parents in for free with one paid ticket of a minor. They have a parent’s day care center which is a tent for adults only with free water, movies and air-conditioning. If your kids want to come to the event for the day you will have a place to sit and wait for them. My suggestion to you would be to get out there and watch some of the bands. You might be pleasantly surprised to discover something new that you’ve never heard of before.

The only downside to this format is, it’s impossible to see every band so I’m sure I missed a few that I would’ve really liked. This year more than years past it seemed like the variety of music was much larger. In the past, most of the bands were much heavier. This year there was a much wider variety to the point where some of those songs are even played on the local pop station. American Authors comes to mind with a huge radio friendly hit.

Of all the different bands I saw, the ones that really stuck out to me were Black Veil Brides front man Andy Black who is on a solo tour currently. Andy released a solo album last year of songs that were completely different from the traditional Black Veil Brides sound. With his hit “We Don’t Have To Dance”Andy Black brought a whole new audience to his music. You could even make an argument that Vans Warped tour helped to launch Black Veil Brides because they played that festival several times in the past. A newer band from Greece titled Barb Wire Dolls were throwback to the 70’s punk era. They were very energetic and got the crowd going.

Three bands that seem to stick out most for energy and crowd insanity would be Fit For A KingAnti Flag and Attila. They’re all very different yet similar. For someone who’s taking pictures like myself, they are a photographer’s dream. Jumping off amplifiers, coming down into the pit and whipping the crowd into a frenzy. This alone makes it worth the price of admission.

Last but not least, I can’t do this review without talking about GWAR. I’m not even sure what to say about them other than its one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen and I loved every minute of it. For those of you that are not familiar, take a look at the photos, it won’t be hard to pick them out. The whole concert is nothing more than an assault on your senses. Everything from the outrageous costumes to the fake blood. The crowd seemed to love all of it. They’ve been around for probably the longest of any act I’ve ever seen at Vans Warped Tour but they seem to be a perfect fit.

This was a great festival and I didn’t see any trouble at all. No fights, no arguments and no disruptions. If you’re concerned at all as a parent about letting your kids go to this festival, don’t worry. They will have nothing but a wonderful time and be grateful to you for letting them go. I would’ve loved to have had something like this when I was a teenager. Vans Warped Tour= fun.