Warped Tour makes stop at Blossom Music Center

Jenna Kuczkowski

Vans Warped Tour turned 21 this year and made its annual stop Thursday in Cuyahoga Falls at Blossom Music Center.

After taking a day off from the tour the day before for the Alternative Press Music Awards, the more than 80 bands resumed cross-country touring and performing on Warped Tour.

Micky James, vocalist and guitarist for alternative rock band The Karma Killers, said his favorite part about Warped Tour is performing every day for months at a time and meeting fans.

Formed in 2012 in West Patterson, New Jersey, this was The Karma Killers first Warped Tour, which James said is a different performance than the band is used to.

“We come from around New York where were playing 21-and-over clubs and where the audience is a little more closed-minded and it’s more of a challenge,” he said. “I love New York, but it’s tough in the music scene, and we’ve tried to come up from that. So to play in front of this demographic is an eye opener and really refreshing because people are so open-minded, and the audiences have been really receptive.”

Trophy Wives, a pop punk band out of Providence, Rhode Island, also formed in 2012 and made its debut on Warped Tour this year.

Mike Crawley, Trophy Wives’ drummer, said his favorite part about Warped Tour was being able to meet and spend time with stars from the alternative genre.

“You get to walk by them while they’re in their PJs and have the bedhead going and you’re just hanging out with them,” Crawley said. “It seems like a total mind trip to go from listening them in high school to actually playing on the same tour as them. It’s so motivating being on the same playing field as these guys.”

Jae Hamilton, who said he has been to going to Warped Tour for years, said he saw Carousel Kings, Trophy Wives and Seaway and thought they were all amazing performers and sounded even better than their recorded albums.  

Metalcore band Sirens and Sailors formed in 2005. Although the members were told Warped Tour is one of the most grueling experiences for a band, Sirens and Sailors singer Kyle Bihrle said the hard work pays off.

“Getting up every morning and loading in is the hardest part, but other than that, it’s fantastic, and we’re really happy to be a part of it,” he said. “We get about 4 to 5 hours of sleep every night, wake up at 7:30 and we start unloading, get merch set up, get breakfast, maybe take a nap before our set if we can, play, have a signing, maybe lunch or dinner, maybe even see a band we want, then pack up and repeat.”

Although the schedule can get repetitive, Bihrle said he loves playing on Warped Tour.

“That is my highlight of my day every day, is playing Warped Tour,” he said. “It’s a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to play Warped Tour, but I never thought I’d actually get there.”

Fans at Warped Tour said they loved the performances.

“I got to meet the guys from Bless The Fall, who were super friendly, and see Juliet Simms and Night Riots perform, who both were incredible and are now on my iPod,” said Holly Tecco, a junior visual communication design major at Kent State,  who attended Warped Tour for the first time this year.

Long-time Warped Tour attendee Adrian Leuthauser, a sophomore magazine journalism major at Kent State, said the performances are always amazing because everyone is there for only one reason: to enjoy the music and immerse themselves in it.

“While She Sleeps, Pup and Being as an Ocean are just a few bands I saw that absolutely killed it,” Leuthauser said. “The energy they all had was insane, and I loved it.”

Warped Tour will run through Aug. 8 in the United States, with an added date in London on October 18.

Contact Jenna Kuczkowski at [email protected].