Warped Tour Celebrates its 23rd Year as Summer’s Biggest Touring Festival

Written by Mario Corsaro, Photos by Rachel Meyers

Yet another Vans Warped Tour at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden is in the books, and what a day it was.

The Kevin Lyman founded festival, now in its 23rd year, was full of memorable moments.

Early in the day, the all-female California punk rockers, Bad Cop / Bad Cop, brought back the spirit of Warped Tours of the past, with their infectious stage presence and So-Cal skate punk sound. Tour veterans Memphis May Fire and newcomers I Prevail both had a nice early afternoon draw and were among the standouts of the metal acts on the day.

One of the largest crowds of the day was for Beartooth, a band that has seen rising success in their genre over the last few years. Fans rushed towards the Journey’s Right Foot Stage, turning the packed amphitheater floor into a sea of moshers and crowd surfers.

Another big draw was founder and vocalist of Black Veil Brides, Andy Biersack, and his solo project, Andy Black. Straying away from the hard rock and heavy metal roots of Black Veil Brides, Andy Black attracted a more diverse and younger crowd with their pop rock approach.

Municipal Waste, adding to already surprisingly loaded list of ,metal bands on this year’s tour, tore up the Hard Rock stage with their thrash sound, more comparable to bands one would not associate with Warped Tour such as Slayer, Exodus and Anthrax. After, the female-fronted New Year’s Day ripped it up on the Journey’s Left Foot Stage, combining their gothic, macabre look with raw guitar sounds and powerful vocals by Ashley Costello.

It was a homecoming for CKY,  natives of the West Chester/Philadelphia area. Known for drummer Jess Margera being the brother of skateboarder and reality star Bam Margera and their music being included in the likes of Viva La Bam and Jackass, many anticipated seeing the band play on the tour for the first time since 2000. Parents April and Phil were in attendance, watching from the side of the stage and receiving an ovation. Bam joined the band on vocals midway through their set to perform a cover of “Bite It You Scum” by GG Allin.

Silverstein, playing their eighth Warped Tour, had a nice surprise for the crowd at the end of their set. Beefcake the Mighty, bassist of shock rock legends GWAR, “killed” bassist Billy Hamilton, taking his place on stage.

As the sun set and Hatebreed took the stage, a strong wind began to pick up and following the band’s opener, “Destroy Everything,” a massive storm ripped through the area. As if the band had controlled the weather themselves, the pouring rain created an aesthetically pleasing sight of headbangers and circle pits, befitting of their aggressive, heavy sound.

One of the most unique acts of the day was GWAR. Those lucky enough to be in the front of the pit were baptized in fake blood, spraying from a stage prop designed after President Donald Trump. Accompanying the ‘execution’ of the president was a cover of AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood.”

The tour continues its summer trek across the United States. After Friday’s stop in Camden, many are already looking forward to next year’s tour. Let the speculation begin. Too soon?

Don’t miss the 2017 Warped Tour date near you! Tickets and dates available at http://vanswarpedtour.com/dates/

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