One of the biggest nationwide music events of the summer is in motion, and millions of fans across the country are in a frenzy. Vans Warped, an outdoor tour that moves about 90 bands around the United States, hit the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden on July 12.
Nine stages were set up, and each had about ten bands lined up to play. The entire event was more like a festival, with vendors selling food, games being played and prizes being handed out while the music blasts in the background. The artists also had individual tents where souvenirs stamped with the band’s name are sold and an hour for CD signing is scheduled.
The tour was created to showcase bands that are seeking publicity as well as bands who have already made it big in the music world, like 3oh!3 and The Used. Forever the Sickest Kids, a band from Texas with a large fan-base world-wide, had made their musical debut in the Vans Warped tour of 2001.
“We were asked to do Warped Tour in 2007, and we were a new band back then. We got to jump on from Kevin Lyman asking us to play the East coast Indie stage, which is no longer a stage. We formed in December of 2006, and have played this tour several times since then,” said Kyle Burns, the drummer of Forever the Sickest Kids.
A vast majority of the musicians in the show played some form of rock music, but this year a few new genres have been thrown in the mix. A dubstep duo hailed all the way from Germany to join the tour, and hope to make Vans Warped their shot to remain in the United States. Their name, Kairo Kingdom, was created after one of the band members saw a spray painted wall in Germany.
“We had to come up with a name quickly but didn’t like anything we thought up, and then I was walking in the street in Frankfort one day when I saw the word ‘Kairo’ written on a wall. The word kingdom popped into my head, and that was it. It was perfect for us,” said Frank Ellrich, one of the DJs in Kairo Kingdom. “It’s different here than in Germany. Back home we just make people put their hands up and dance, but here you have to interact with the crowd.”
Another surprising addition to this year’s tour was a hip hop artist by the name MC Lars, who writes raps about Shakespeare. He writes his lyrics with a completely different twist on today’s definition of what rap music is.
“I do hip hop music. I’ve been doing it for a while. Then all of a sudden I get a call from Vans Warped, and they’re telling me, ‘Uh dude, we totally want you because you rap about Edgar Allen Poe.’ So I said, ‘Cool. I’m all about The Black Cat. Take notes. There’ll be a test at the end of this interview.’ The Black Cat is real mean,” said MC Lars, who plays music with his drummer, John.
Just outside the gates, many unsigned bands walked around holding T-shirts and fliers to promote themselves to potential fans. Some even walked around with a set of headphones and asked people to give them a listen. Since tickets were being picked up and lines were long, people took the time to listen to tracks and even took down the names to check out later.
Rain hit the venue around 4 p.m., but this far from deterred the fans. People pulled out umbrellas, converted bags into ponchos and rocked on. The bands kept going even as the rain hit them. None of the music anywhere in the venue faltered. The concert continued through the downpour and the crowd didn’t thin until night fell, showing that for hardcore music fans, the show must always go on.