It’s 2:15 in the morning in Burbank, and I’m recovering from one of the most insane weekends of my life. I have Go To Warped Tour literally written on my bucket list, and living halfway across the world, I wasn’t sure if it was ever going to happen.
The night before, I got dropped off at my friend Nissy’s house because she lived closer to the venue. “I can’t believe you’re actually here,” she told me. Earlier this year, I was playing around with the idea of flying out to California to catch Warped. She probably didn’t think I was serious about it, and I don’t think I was either—but I ended up doing it anyway. We spent the night packing our bags and drafting up a schedule. The plan was to be up by 5 in the morning and be out by 6:30—which did happen, but we ended up missing the bus by five minutes. That worked out for us later on, though.
Warped gives you the option to skip the line by donating either three canned goods, a used cellphone, or $5. After giving our donations, we were about make our way to the skip-the-line-line. (It was really just a priority lane.) In the distance, I saw a couple of signs promoting The Maine’s set time for the day and I just naturally started gravitating towards it. It was Garrett, Pat, and Kennedy from the band, and Halvo, formerly of A Rocket To The Moon, who was helping them out this summer. I was slightly freaking out on the inside because I was at the venue for literally ten minutes and I already got to talk to my favorite band. They were selling a Warped-exclusive version of their latest album for just $5 so I bought a copy.
We took our place in the line and started drafting our schedule for the day. Bands play at different times for each stop of the tour and you only find out who plays when once you get inside.
After a bit of waiting in line, we were finally let in the venue. The first thing we did was buy the $2 map and schedule for the day because it was much easier than spending quite a bit of time jotting down set times in front of the giant inflatable schedule. As we were about to enter the merch tent area, Nissy pointed out someone in the crowd—it was Nick Santino.
We walked up to him and talked to him for a little bit, asked him about his set time, and he told us to check out the tent that he shared with The Maine. John was doing a signing at that time, so he walked us there. John’s signing line was a little too long though, and we got cut off and were told that the guys were doing a full band signing later in the day.
Nissy and I sat down in the middle of a field to write out our schedule for the day. Most bands we wanted to see were playing later in the day, which meant we had to make a few decisions on who to see and who to skip. The Summer Set and The Maine’s sets overlapped, and Yellowcard was playing the same time as Watsky. Kind of a bummer, but I just had to do a little bit of running around.
The first set we caught was We Are The In Crowd at 12:45. They’ve been to Manila a couple of times, but this was my first time to see them. They were great, and I’m pretty stoked that I’ll be seeing them again in August when they visit my city for the third time. After their set, I read on twitter that Travis from We The Kings was doing a signing. I walked over to the King Travis Clothing tent just to find an insanely long line, so I opted out of it. We decided to walk around to check the different merch booths before Nick Santino’s set at 1:45. I bought a Summer Set shirt for my sister, spotted Watsky’s Cardboard Castles on vinyl which I bought at the end of the day, and got a copy of Nick Santino’s debut full length.
We made our way to the Acoustic Basement tent where Nick was about to play. A different band was ending their set, and as their audience started to leave, we managed to make our way to the very front. Nick was incredible, and I have to say that I enjoy his solo stuff more than his A Rocket To The Moon stuff—and I loved Rocket. He was such an engaging performer, and the stories he told in between songs were hilarious.
He was going on about a certain crazy girl from LA who he wrote quite a few songs about, one of those songs being “Never Coming Back,” which is about hating Los Angeles. “I guess LA would be okay if that one girl just wasn’t there,” he told us. He almost didn’t play it since we were so near LA and he was afraid he would offend people, but the crowd managed to convince him to go for it. After his set, I asked if he could sign my copy of his album and he told me to follow him back to the merch tent where he would be doing a signing. While were walking back to his tent with a bunch of people, he gave some of us guitar picks. As I was getting my CD signed, he was telling me how that set was his favorite one in Warped Tour so far and was saying thanks for being part of it. (Heart eyes emoji!)
After Nick’s set and signing, we ran into Graham of Echosmith who is the most adorable boy on all of Warped Tour. He’s only fourteen—how freaking cool is it to be playing Warped at fourteen?!
I found out that Danny from We The Kings was also doing a signing at the King Travis Clothing tent, so we decided to come back. Travis was still doing his signing, though, and the line was still long. I decided to line up anyway, and my timing ended up being perfect. The merch guy came up to the last few people in line and asked if we were willing to buy a shirt, and if we were, he’d let us cut to the front. I thought I had to buy a shirt to do the signing anyway, so I went for it. I was taking a bit of time sifting through my wallet since I put a lot of stuff in it, and the merch guy thought I only had a 20 when I was looking for a bigger bill I wanted him to break. He whispered that he’d give me the shirt for 20 instead of 25, but I still bought it full price because he was being so nice.
I was telling Travis how I had just seen them last week in Manila and he got excited. “You’re from Manila?! Mahal kita!” He signed the shirt I bought and wrote the same thing. Their tour manager Duncan and (our new favorite tech guy) Sofie were hanging out at the tent as well, and Nissy and I got to talk to them for a bit. I asked if Danny’s signing was pushing through, and they told us just to wait by the tent. Danny ended up moving his signing to the We The Kings tent so we ran over there right away. His girlfriend Lindsey was with him, and I was just as excited to meet her because I love their vlogs on YouTube.
We decided to watch a little bit of Mayday Parade’s set on the Electric Soul (main) stage since it was near the Journeys stage where Echosmith was playing at 3:15—which was next on our schedule. I’ve had their debut album Talking Dreams on repeat for the last few weeks, so they were part of my Must Not Miss list. Can I just say that Sydney Sierota looks like a real life Disney princess? That girl is so beautiful. Echosmith plays a really fun live show, and I can’t wait to see them play a full set when they come to Manila later this year. They did a signing right after their set, so we ran to their merch tent and fell in line. I bought a copy of their new EP Acoustic Dreams and got it signed, and yes, I told Sydney she looked like a Disney princess.
The next set we wanted to catch was We The Kings at 4:50. Our water bottles were empty though, so we went to the refill station first. The line there was longer than any meet and greet line I’d seen, but it’s great that Warped gives out free water to everyone. (Also, bringing a 1.5L water bottle was a really smart decision. Doesn’t matter that it was bulky; I only had to refill once the entire day.) We walked back to main stage for We The Kings and it was packed. Travis joked, “It’s either you guys really like us or that pizza stall in the back is really popular!”
Most of the sets I caught were on the Warheads, Journeys, and main stages. Warheads and Journeys were right beside each other, and the moment a band ends their set on Warheads, the band on Journeys starts. I got to catch a few bands I’d never heard of while waiting for someone else by those two stages. A funk band called Bad Rabbits was playing just before The Maine began their set, and they were pretty badass.
This was my sixth time to see The Maine and I’ve yet to see them play a bad show. They’re one of those bands that just sound better live. There was a hilarious part of the set where John picked a guy from the crowd to sing Girls Do What They Want with him, and when he asked if the guy knew the words, he said no. “I was hoping you’d say that,” he said and told the crowd to not help him out.
I left in the middle of their last song and ran to main stage where The Summer Set already started playing. They were in the middle of Must Be The Music and I stayed for two more songs until it was time for Watsky’s set. The Summer Set is coming back to Manila in August with We Are The In Crowd and Echosmith, so I figured I could miss out this time. When I left to see Watsky, Nissy left to see Yellowcard.
I got to the Beatport stage right on time. On my Must Not Miss list, Watsky holds the top spot. I would’ve probably skipped The Maine for him if their set times clashed, but I’m glad I didn’t have to. He was actually added to the lineup after I already purchased my plane ticket, and him being on there confirmed that I picked a good year to fly out and catch Warped. I don’t listen to rap at all, but I freaking love Watsky. His set was—hands down—the best I’d seen all day.
The guy is an insane performer. I just about lost it when he freestyled over Tiny Glowing Screens pt. 1. After his set, he did a signing at his tent and I finally bought that Cardboard Castles LP I was eyeing earlier. I was one of the first ones in line, so I didn’t have to wait too long to meet him. He was such a nice guy! He signed my copy of his record and personalized it, and his signature made me crack up.
There was one more set I wanted to catch before the day was over—Real Friends at 7:15. I ran from Watsky’s tent to the Journeys stage to find that they hadn’t started their set yet, and Cute Is What We Aim For was still on their last song. They were one of the bands I had to skip out on, so I was really excited that I got to hear them play for a little bit.
Real Friends was the perfect set to end the day with. They’re a pop-punk band that reminds me of the stuff I used to listen to when I was younger, and listening to them makes me feel fifteen again even if I just got into them a few months ago. The whole day I was singing along to my favorite songs with a bunch of strangers, but this set felt different for some reason. I felt it—in a way I can’t figure out how to put into words. Dan, their singer, summed it all up when he said, “Music is one of the things left in the world that isn’t fucked up.”
After their set, I made my way back to The Maine’s merch tent where Nissy and I decided to meet up. As if the day couldn’t get any better, the band’s signing wasn’t over yet. I fell in line with her and we got to say hi to our favorite band one more time. I told her about the sets I just caught and she told me about Yellowcard. I was really jealous she got to watch them, but missing them for Watsky was worth it.
We sat down on the grass trying to recover from the crazy day we had. The last few bands were playing closing sets in the distance and crew members were packing up merch tents. Nissy and I talked about our favorite parts of the day, and even though we were tired, we were still so giddy. I lost my voice, was probably dehydrated and burnt from the sun, but I was so glad I was stupid and impulsive enough to buy that plane ticket to California. That’s one more off the bucket list, and I couldn’t be happier.