As a kid who grew up in a small town, listening to angsty punk music and obsessively scrolling through tumblr accounts about bands like Paramore and All Time Low, Warped Tour was absolutely fundamental to my youth. Every year I prepared for weeks, memorizing song lyrics and deciding what outfit would be perfect for meeting my favorite musicians, and counted down the days until the tour reached me. I rallied my best friends and drove out to the venue early to wait in super long lines. I spent 10+ hours running around from stage to stage, singing and dancing and getting sunburned in a way that, today, would make my dermatologist cry. Later in my life, when I began photographing concerts, getting a ticket to photograph Warped Tour was truly so exciting. Between the band’s personal photographers and all of the local artists, I was truly so happy to be a part of this little group of people who loved this scene as much as I did.
When the announcement was made that Warped Tour would be ending for good, I was crushed. Even as an adult who had grown out of the scene, my heart hurt for the kids who would no longer get this special thing to look forward to every year; for the small bands who would never reach larger audiences on this tour. Most of all, I was upset that this pivotal part of my youth was gone.
When Kevin Lyman made the announcement that there would be one final (mini) tour to honor the 25th anniversary of this magical event, I was so excited to learn that one of the dates was only two hours from me. I knew it would be much smaller than years past, but knowing I would be surrounded by people of all ages who were ready for one last celebration was totally worth it. Then, when I was asked to be on the photography team for this last festival, I almost cried. So many artists I adore (musicians and photographers alike) made their start here. Just getting to meet the people who made this all happen was so gratifying, and so special.
So here are the photos. Of the very last Warped Tour, of everything I dreamed of in my childhood. I hope my teenage-self is obsessing over these on her tumblr page.