As It Is performs at Vans Warped Tour preview. Photograph by Jessica Carreon.
Charter Oak High School

Up close and personal: Vans Warped Tour ’15

For the last 20 years, Vans Warped Tour has been traveling the world as one of the largest and most affordable music festivals. With over 70 bands on board to play in a variety of genres, it mainly appeals to those who are 13-19 years old. Also known for letting parents in free and launching some of the biggest rock bands into the spotlight, it seemed like many teenagers’ dream. To make it better they had a Kick-Off party and show for press in Los Angeles at Club Nokia. This year Vans Warped Tour teamed with MOXIE, an organization that brings music to schools by previewing new bands and helping any school journalists attend music concerts for free.

My school was lucky enough to be invited by MOXIE to attend the kick-off party to do press and pit photography. I got to go with my fellow journalism classmate Julian Castro, junior, and for a music lover like I am, it was heaven.

When we first arrived, it was nerve-racking to see around 50 other photographers and journalists there for the same purpose. Finally, after waiting for an hour, we were let in and taken to where the bands were waiting. They had private areas separated by curtains for interviews and an open area for socializing. About 15 bands and five YouTubers were available for interviews. The first band we met was New Years Day, a female-fronted rock band, who is one of the headliners. Then we met As It Is, the only English band signed to Fearless records and newest addition to the Vans Warped Tour. Throughout the interview they offered advice to students to find their passion because with anything in life, you have to like it to do it as a career.

Jessica Carreon interviews Kevin Lyman, founder of Vans Warped Tours. Photograph by Julian Castro.
Jessica Carreon interviews Kevin Lyman, founder of Vans Warped Tours. (Photo by Julian Castro)

Kevin Lyman, the founder of Vans Warped Tour, was passionate about the festival and said how he hoped that he was helping people the only way he knew how: through music. The last band we got to interview was with Our Last Night, who took pride in the fact that they were without a label and independent.


Three-fifths of Knuckle Puck. Photograph by Jessica Carreon.
Three-fifths of Knuckle Puck. (Photo by Jessica Carreon)

After press, we were able to watch the concert and take photos in the pit. We were told we can only go into the photo pit for three songs per artist. Trading off Julian and I chose what bands we wanted to take and switched. By the last band, many had already gone home. I was later told that it was being streamed online and hundreds if not thousands were still online watching.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience that will not be forgotten. We met many high school journalists, record label publicists, artists and photographers. This opportunity gave us an experience to improve skills and to get our names out. It was an experience of a lifetime.

The Vans Warp Tour starts on June 16 and will be at the Pomona Fairgrounds on June 19. Doors open at 11 a.m. Tickets are on sale now with general admission at $39.50 and a special 3-D Collector’s ticket at $49.50.   Bands that will be playing in Pomona, including New Years Day, Our Last Night and As It Is, are listed.

Candy Hearts lead singer. Photograph by Julian Castro.
Candy Hearts lead singer. (Photo by Julian Castro)

-By Jessica Carreon