So today was Warped Tour…

And it was the first one I’ve missed since I was 15.

Pictured are the crazies that I always went with. We had a tradition: stayed up way too late, got up way too early, munched on bagels, and waited in line in the July heat.

Last year the other three didn’t accompany me, it wasn’t the same. This year, none of us made it. It was a combination of not being in town (me), no bands we wanted to see on the line up, and having real jobs the next day.

I have to say, I made some of the best memories at Warped Tour over the years. I also learned that you can survive on a bagel, multiple bottles of water, and sweat so much that you don’t have to go to the bathroom (they’re gross any way so that’s really a blessing in disguise).

I believe that music festivals, of any kind, are something that everyone should experience. There’s Firefly, Burning Man, Bonnaroo, and, of course, Warped Tour just to name a few (I’m sure there’s many more internationally that I don’t even know about).

You reach new levels of bonding when you’re about to pass out from heat exhaustion and just plain exhaustion. Not to mention, surviving crowds.

To quote one of my friends, “There is a special place in hell for crowd surfers.” Seriously there is.

I’ve been stomped on, kicked in the head and face, nearly had my eyes gouged, and been knocked to the ground. It’s always good to have friends, those you came with and those you’ve made, to protect you from flailing limbs above you.

I will admit, I have crowd surfed. But I’ve done it once and that’s enough for me. So hopefully that one time I did it doesn’t put me in the running for that special place in hell.

Another benefit of going to music festivals is being exposed to new bands, singers, and styles of music. Up coming artists pass out demos and stickers for free just to get you to listen to them (I’m a sticker junkie so I’ll take any as long as they’re appropriate). You never know who will see them or who will stumble across them in your iTunes. Who knows, you might discover the next big band before they make it and you can consider yourself one of those hipsters who always say “I knew them before…” And who doesn’t want to do that every once and a while?

Music festivals, whether they’re one day or one week, give you something that other experiences don’t. My Mom was TERRIFIED the first time I went to Warped. But, she let me go and I’m so glad she did.

To me, there’s no better form of music than listening to it live. I want my kids to have that experience too. So they might get kicked in the head by a crowd surfer and probably get a little dehydrated, but they’ll be making incredible memories and friends along the way.

So, Warped Tour, it’s been a great run. Hopefully it’s not over yet. I hope to see you during a summer in the near future.

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