I have always loved going to music festivals. Open air music is the best music, and I’m not just saying that because it takes me three days to recover my hearing after standing at the barricade in a club. I’m not just saying that because I’m old enough to have my knees crackle like popping popcorn when I get back out to the parking lot and sit down in the car. It’s just one of those things that’s true. Rain or shine, you’re always gonna have a good time hanging out with 10 000 or so of your really close friends — that’s only the close ones, mind you — listening to bands you love (and some that you fucking hate) and screaming your foolish face off.
So yes. Warped Tour 2018. Warped for the last time. Also, Warped for the first time, because those fuckers haven’t bothered crossing the border into Canada for the past not even God knows how many years. As a result I’ve had to make do with the sporadic Edgefests that haven’t really been good for a number of years and the other smaller festivals that sometimes pop up nearby. I have found this … unsatisfying. That said, it’s actually turned out to have been OK on the live music front, because over the past couple of years the shows at non-festival venues have totally made up for the relative rarity of decent day-long musical extravaganzas.
I remember those shows all those years ago. I remember working a twelve hour shift in the heart of downtown Toronto, then getting a call from my boys to haul ass up to Molson Park in Barrie, partying for about ten hours, then dragging ass back home with barely enough time to shower, dress my moshpit wounds, and to make it back into work for the next twelve hour shift. I barely remember half the bands on stage who played on those days, although I do quite clearly remember staring up at Courtney Love from in front of the barricade after crowd surfing my way to the front of the GA pit during a Hole set. I also remember Our Lady Peace stopping their set mid-song after a kid having an epileptic seizure dropped pretty much onto my head in the middle of the pit — that kid recovered and was fine, in case you’re wondering. But by now, my surfing days are over. I still dig hanging up front at the barricade, but now it’s with my daughter and most of the fun comes from being with her and watching her enjoy the music.
So yes … again … Warped Tour 2018. I’m actually pretty excited to see a bunch of the bands that are going to be out there this year. As an aside, the response to the lineup announcement has been really interesting. I see bands that are totally stoked to play alongside fans who can’t wait to see them, all of whom are interspersed with people who are totally unimpressed with the acts that’ll be touring this year. It seems that for the most part the responses to the announcement are very polarized. But whatever. I’m excited for the show, and that’s what matters. But what about that lineup? Not everyone will be at every show, and for the most part that’s OK. I’m not gonna miss Falling In Reverse, because fuck Ronnie Radke. But goddamnit, Beartooth … was it really too much for y’all to spend two extra days at the front end of your short Warped stint to take a jaunt across the border? Bowling For Soup is skipping only one date in their short engagement. Yes. It’s the fucking Canadian date. On the other hand, the only date that Sum 41 is playing is the Canadian date. We’re also getting Underoath and Silverstein, so I guess those things count as sort of a decent tradeoff. The one thing that really worries me is this: there are quite a few bands that I don’t want to miss, but there are also five different stages. I’ll be pissed if the acts I want to see overlap with one another, but I think it’s almost inevitable that there’s going to be some kind of a conflict someplace, considering that I can see probably about twenty bands in that lineup that I’d like to check out if I can. I’m not even counting the acts that the kid might want to see. Who knows what our list will look like when we figure all those choices in, plus trying to make time to stop in and actually see some of these bands if/when they come out to hang with fans (I’m looking at you, Sleep On It, and I’m pretty sure my daughter is going to want to give Patty Walters a hug).
It’s just the beginning of March, so I have four months to prepare for this show. I already have a couple of tickets, and I might buy a couple more before all’s said and done. I think it’s gonna be a good time. And although it’s my last chance to go to Warped, I sure hope it won’t be my last open air festival, ‘cause that’d be a tragedy.