After walking fifteen minutes from Snap Kitchen to 15/16 Locust Street Station to catch Patco, I felt at peace walking through Rittenhouse Square Park. Mountain Chickadees playing in the fountain, preening their feathers with the spray from the waterfall, while taking their pictures seemed to remove any anxiety I had about walking through Camden. After shooting a few pictures, I knew it was time to get on my merry way to catch the Patco from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Camden, New Jersey.
The walk to the Patco Station from Rittenhouse Square wasn’t far, maybe about ten minutes, though it was a nice day and I didn’t mind the walk. The humidity hadn’t settled in yet and there was a refreshing breeze that made the walk even more beautiful. However, the train station and the train itself was air conditioned and that was nicer; New Jersey Transit is a lot cleaner and cooler than SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority), that I wished I could bottle up some of the cool air to bring to the concert with me. In the fifteen minute train ride, I saw a few people that looked like they were going to Warped Tour as well: dressed in black or plaid, coloured hair, your ultimate punks and goths. As soon as I saw them, I knew I wanted to stay close and follow them to the venue once we hopped off of the train.
I caught up with a couple as we hopped off the train and we walked to the Warped Tour together—since the last time I went to see a concert in Camden was eight years ago and a friend at the time drove, I wasn’t sure which way to walk. I know I could have used GPS, but I didn’t want to get stuck in a wrong neighborhood in one of the most dangerous cities in the US. The couple I met was kind and they were fun to walk with in the thirteen minutes it took to get to the venue. Before we were separated for bag check, I asked if I could get a selfie with them for my Happiness Box. Of course they agreed and were friendly about it. We shook hands, wished each other well, and headed into the venue.
After I made it through bag check, I bought a schedule—$2 for a printed piece of paper; I could have installed the app, but I wanted to save battery. I sat down at a table in the shade and saw that Twiztid was last to perform at 8:10. I checked Instagram and saw that their meet and greet was at 5:45. I jotted the time down and began to plan my day. As I was planning, there was a band standing on a table next to mine with a megaphone announcing their performance time. They sang songs, cajoled crowd members, and anything else that would grab attention. Their voices, though loud, were slightly silenced by the voice in my head that was planning the day.
Ice Nine Kills were on during the meet and greet, but the stage was in Twiztid’s area; I could listen to Ice Nine Kills as I was waiting to meet Jamie and Paul, then see Ice Nine Kills after the meet and greet. Reel Big Fish coincided with Hatebreed, but I could see both by dedicating 20 minutes to each. Warped Tour has five different stages since they have dozens of performers that the tour needs to accommodate; the stages were in different locations and for some groups, I knew I couldn’t make it in time. Bowling for Soup was one, but I was only familiar with 1985 and wanted to see Motionless In White instead.
All of the headlining acts were scheduled for around the same time in the evening, but all of the lesser known or unsigned bands played first. I love supporting up and coming artists and decided to walk over to the Mutant Red Dawn stage since most of who I like would be performing on that stage, I wanted to get an idea of where it was located and how much time I would need to allow myself to get there from other performances. Once I had it figured out, I decided to stay and watch a heavy metal band by the name of My Children, My Bride. I am glad I stayed because I ended up loving their performance.
I rocked out and I loved watching—at a distance—the mosh pits that were starting. Standing at 4 feet, 10 inches, mosh pits scare me and the idea of claustrophobia send chills down my spine. I was caught up in the moment that when the performance ended twenty-five minutes later, I was taken by surprise. The performers announced a meet and greet at 2:10 complete with sweaty hugs—sounded like a date to me and I jotted it down on the schedule.
I had two hours until the My Children, My Bride meet and greet, I decided to walk around and as I began walking, I heard hi-hop coming from a tent. A female rapper was breakdancing and I enjoyed her sound, I decided to check out the Transform tent. The nice thing about Warped Tour is that there isn’t one genre of music playing, there is something for everyone (as someone who listens to everything, this is heaven). Dark Matter, a hip-hop group from Reno, Nevada, was performing their hearts and souls out. They performed for fifteen minutes, followed by a ten-minute interlude of breakdancing. That was fun to watch and photograph. I thought about trying, but decided against it for health reasons.
Next a Linkin Park styled group that combined hip-hop and metal performed. Sky Swamp Orange, a New Haven, Connecticut based group, was amazing. I was bouncing and jumping along, it felt nice to groove to the beats and their sound. For one of their songs, “Eastside,” the lead singer wanted us to sing “you can meet me on the Eastside” and singing along was fun too. I loved their sound so much that I bought their CD and the band signed it for me (as well as my Warped Tour ticket).
After bouncing around in the hot sun, I knew it was time to eat the gluten-free turkey sandwich I packed. I walked across the train tracks and saw that the BB&T Pavilion had places to sit. I sat outside, underneath the awning and pulled out not only my gluten-free sandwich, the schedule as well. As I was planning my afternoon and resting my feet (Converse All Stars are not the shoes to wear for lots of walking, bouncing, and jumping), a group of teenaged boys approached me and asked if they could take a picture of the schedule—the print-out was $2, I know teens don’t have a lot of money—I graciously let them borrow the schedule. They handed it back within a few minutes. I decided to rest my feet some more and checked my phone. I had a text from Christina and we swapped locations, but she wasn’t where I was, I turned my phone back off to save battery, and wandered to the Journey’s Left Foot stage.
May Day Parade was performing and about half-way through, I had a novel idea: I wanted to see if I could find Simple Plan’s booth. While they are not one of my favourite bands, I thought it would be cool if they signed my Warped Tour ticket. As I walked over the train tracks to the other half of the venue, I wondered if I missed their meet and greet; I didn’t even know where their tent was! As I was wandering aimlessly, Doll Skin handed me their set time sticker and other groups handed me swag as well.
I couldn’t find Simple Plan’s tent, but Moral Support’s tent caught my attention: their logo of a paper bag with a smiley face made me smile. I missed their set; they performed while My Children My Bride performed. I bought one of their CDs and the guy selling the merch agreed to a selfie. I thought he was in the band, but who knows if he was or not. I then walked over to the Journey’s Right Foot stage and watched a heavy metal band that was performing. I liked their sound and I liked watching the moshers groove.
I knew I needed to visit the hydration station for more water and I wanted to cool off a bit. I had an hour until My Children, My Bride’s meet and greet and after seeing two bands, I wanted to cool off. The air conditioned venue was opened. While inside, I asked about gluten-free options, but they couldn’t tell me if they had any; I was glad I still had my food left and I am glad I was able to bring it. While cooling off, I met a kind family that I chatted with until 1:55 when I headed for the My Children, My Bride meet and greet.
Making my way over the train tracks again, I found My Children, My Bride’s tent was two tents up from Twiztid’s tent, I stood at the back of the line and made sure my Polaroid camera was ready—the girl managing the merch table told me earlier in the day that pictures with My Children, My Bride and Twiztid were cool, but Motionless in White doesn’t allow photos. When it was my turn, both guys in the band thought the Polaroid camera was the coolest thing since sliced bread. The one had just bought his sister a Polaroid camera and couldn’t wait to see how the photo turned out. The picture was snapped, he started shaking it and the other one said, “dude, you can’t shake those, it says not to.” We laughed and they signed the undeveloped Polaroid (before I left, it was developed and it looked great). I also asked if I could have a sweaty hug, like what they promised after the performance. They both laughed and said, “well we’re not sweaty anymore since we just showered, but a hug sounds great.” I have found musicians love bear hugs.
While I was waiting in line, someone standing next to me said I could get free monster if I was willing to wait in line—people could try as many flavours as they wanted and that caused long lines. I had no wait time and could watch two separate performances. I tried two different flavours of monster; I liked Mutant Red Dawn over the White Lightning flavor. I had the perfect spot to rock out to metal bands sharp tooth and Harm’s Way; I could also watch the crowd surfers float on a sea of hands. I texted Christina and she was near. We met up and watched the Amity Affliction. I missed Simple Plan, but I enjoyed the Amity Affliction and I enjoyed watching a set with Christina.
I headed over to the Owly.fm tent to watch Doll Skin. Doll Skin is an all-girl punk band from Phoenix, Arizona. They almost reminded me of Joan Jett mixed with the Donnas and the Gits, and I liked jumping to their music as well. I didn’t follow them to their merch tent because it was time to catch Reel Big Fish. I loved Reel Big Fish in middle school and I left when they started playing the same song over again, but had different dance moves. I went to watch Hatebreed, but watched as I waited in line for the Twiztid meet and greet.
I was fangirling and hyperventilating a bit after meeting Twiztid again – I know I was crying tears of joy. I decided to eat, then made my way to see Motionless In White. I didn’t have a great view of Motionless in White, but I decided to wait where Twiztid was playing and listened to Motionless in White as I waited for Twiztid. I could see Motionless in White since the stage was next to Twiztid’s stage, and I loved Motionless In White’s performance. I also loved Twiztid’s performance and by the end of it, I was front row since taller people let me get to the front from the second row, especially since I am not a fan of mosh pits. Twiztid killed it, but they always do.
Twiztid was the perfect end to Warped Tour. When the tour was over, the streets near the venue were closed. I had to walk to the main strip and before I exited, I was walking with a father, son, and two of his son’s friends. They were familiar with Camden, walked with me, and waited with me until Lyft came. They said, “we don’t want you waiting alone in Camden. We don’t mind staying with you.” They were super kind and I was grateful. They made sure I arrived home safely.