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Warped Tour 2017: Alien Blood, Sweat, and….Squiggle Monsters?

What else would you expect?

It’s that time of the year, everyone. Warped Tour has been dragging itself all over the country, playing a show almost every day for the past month and it finally made its way to Charlotte, NC. This was not only my first time working on Warped Tour, but also my first time attending. To say I had no clue what to expect was an understatement. However, my experience turned out to be a very positive and memorable one!

First positive thing I noticed for Warped, even though there were countless people in attendance, some of which were there just to see specific bands, everyone was talking to each other no matter if they knew them before warped or not. The one guy who stood out to me out of everyone in attendance was named Banshee.

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“You know why they call me Banshee? Because I can scream like one!” I ran into this guy numerous times throughout the day, and each time he saw me he asked if I was okay, who I was seeing next, and if I needed water. He didn’t care if I was a newbie, or if I hadn’t heard of some of the bands, he wanted to makes sure I was okay, and even directed me to a stage a time or two.

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While I was in the various photo pits I didn’t have a worry in the world about being kicked in the back of the head by crowd surfers, or a fear of something happening to my gear because the amazing people working the barrier had our backs. If someone was coming our way a quick tap on the shoulder was given and we moved out of the way for everyone’s safety.

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Manners are the second thing that was brought to my attention at warped. To someone who doesn’t have a clue what Warped is, you would think that all these people dressed in Pirate attire, dark black clothes, and bright colored hair would be the rudest, meanest people on the planet, but in fact everyone at Warped Tour was beyond polite. If someone accidentally ran into you they apologized profusely. If you fell down in a circle pit you had at least three sets of arms grabbing your shoulders to pick you back up. Run out of water and no where near a refill station? No problem, “have some of mine dude, we’re all family here.” It actually felt like a huge family reunion with a lot of sweaty hugs.

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But the most family felt moment I experienced happened when a thunderstorm came out of nowhere. I am terrified of thunderstorms, so you can imagine how fast my heart was beating when I heard that dreadful clap of thunder over the band that was playing. I made the comment that I was terrified of thunderstorms and was immediately told by a fellow interviewer that he would be my thunder buddy until the storm passed.

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After the storm I was able to make it into my first photo pit, and the excitement I felt was indescribable. The first band I photographed was one of the heavier groups on the Warped Tour lineup. Carnifex. Earlier in the day I had the chance to sit down and interview their vocalist Scott Lewis (interview to come!) and realized that this dude was actually pretty chill. The moment I stepped into the pit, I wasn’t nervous as I usually am. It felt like I was at a local show, covering a friend instead of this famous heavy metal band. The feeling of family and friendliness continued from the Carnifex pit to Silverstein’s, then onto Being as an Ocean and then finally to the highlight of my day!           

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Have you ever been so nervous you feel like you’re going to puke all over your sneakers? If you haven’t, congrats. For those of us who have had this feeling, I felt a few times throughout my day at Warped. Not because I wasn’t having fun, but because I knew the moment the sun started to set, I would be meeting the group I was most excited to see. GWAR.

 

Cindy interviewing Gwar
In case you haven’t heard of them here’s a little info on this amazing group. GWAR was formed in 1984 in Richmond, Virginia. GWAR’S members are known for wearing distinct costumes and having one hell of a theatrical show, filled with spurting “blood” out onto the audience, as well as the mutilations of celebrities, and both historical and public figures such as Adolf Hitler, Marilyn Manson, and even OJ Simpson.

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The shock metal group has been nominated for two Grammy’s: one for Best Metal Performance and one for Best Long Form music video. So you can see why I would be both nervous and excited about talking with this band. Fast forward through our hilarious interview (coming soon) and I am once again in the photo pit with some fellow photographers I have known for years, or seen out and about. Let me tell you, you have not lived until you have had blood spewed on you with the most precious item you own in the crossfire.

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The second GWAR’s bloody set concluded, the opening chords to Hatebreed’s first song filled the air and I along with the crowd in front of the Mutant South Stage headed left to see the final band of the evening.

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In true metal fashion, countless crowd surfers were making their way over the barrier and giving vocalist Jamey Josta a quick high five before leaving the pit to do it all over again. After my three songs in the pit, I ventured to the top of a hill overlooking the crowd and watched as numerous circle pits formed to the heavy and fast paced songs of Hatebreed.

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At the end of the day my overall experience with Warped tour was a very positive one! Yes it can be hot, muggy, and dirty but the feeling of seeing your favorite band in such a intimate setting, surrounded by fellow fans who seem more like family it makes dealing with the sunburn and heat a little more bearable. I would recommend for anyone to go to Warped Tour at least once.

See full gallery of the day here.

Remaining Warped Tour Dates:

Born and raised in Winston-Salem, Cindy is the oldest of four siblings. When she's not nose deep into a new book, fanfiction, or obsessing about something in her numerous fandoms, you can find her at shows with her camera in hand. When she’s not at shows she’s binge watching Netflix with her significant other and fur babies. Ketchup is life to Cindy whose musical taste range from Acapella to Country and Death Metal. Her three go to groups are Home Free, Slipknot, and Pentatonix.

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