comScore

Too old for Warped Tour?

This Sunday, Canterbury Park will be inundated by thousands of excited tweens guzzling Red Bull, sporting homemade puffy-painted t-shirts and lining up to buy concert merch from bands that are barely older than they are.

And then there will be me; the creepy 26-year-old guy standing in back.

Now in its 15th year, Warped Tour is one of the last surviving traveling summer concert festivals, featuring over 70 bands, multiple stages and plenty of awesome people watching. Originally hailed as the mecca of punk rock and extreme sports, the past few years have seen an infusion of musical diversity into the line-up, as well as a growing number of younger fans whose only knowledge of the Ramones is that they had a cool logo.

Still, nearly every year for the past decade I've made the trip out to Warped to enjoy an afternoon filled with veteran punk pioneers, nine dollar beers and a little game I like to call, "avoid having the teenage crowd surfer dropped on my skull." But as I've been gearing up for this year's festival, I've found it difficult to convince my friends to come along for the show, citing an increase in shitty pop-punk bands, surging numbers of underage kids and the fact that their girlfriends consider me to be a "bad influence" (fair).

This shift in opinion has forced me to do some serious soul searching over the past few days and ask the question--am I too old for Warped Tour?

I'll admit that there are certain time-honored Warped traditions that have passed me by. I distinctly remember being 16 years old and waiting with bated breath for a mosh pit to break out, allowing me to fly into the vortex of bodies and let the thrashing commence. Last year, however, I found myself standing on the outskirts of the crowd during one of the final performances of the afternoon, surrounded by khaki-clad parents who were counting down the minutes until they could collect their children and get home in time to watch CSI. The saddest thing? I was closer in age to several of the parents than I was to the kids smashing each other in front of the stage.

Additionally, I myself have bitched about some of the shit-tastic new bands that have overtaken my beloved punk fest, many of whom are considered to be "Warped Tour veterans" because they were a part of the festival back in 2006. However, with this year's line-up boasting a core group of old school favorites such as Anti-Flag, Bad Religion, and Bouncing Souls, it's safe to say that Warped's organizers haven't forgotten about their older fans while providing younger fans a look at those who laid the foundation for the bands of today. Throw in a mix of solid newer Warped mainstays such as the Detroit screamo outfit Chiodos, electronic wunderkinds 3OH!3, and Minnesota's own P.O.S., and now you can make the case that the line-up still embodies the range and diversity that a true "festival" is all about.

So at the ripe old age of 26, am I too old to be spending my day surrounded by a bunch of sweaty teenagers, screaming for the emo heartthrob of the moment? Probably. But if Warped Tour has done one thing consistently well over the years, it's exposed concertgoers of all ages to new bands that they would likely never have heard of was it not for this traveling punk rock circus. Let's get sweaty!

WARPED TOUR 2009

Sunday, August 2

11:00 a.m.

Canterbury Park

$37.00

3OH!3

A Day To Remember

A Skylit Drive

After Midnight Project

Aiden

Alana Grace

Alexisonfire

All Time Low

Anti-Flag

Attack Attack

Bad Religion

Bayside

Big D and the Kids Table

Black Saints Cartel

Black Tide

Bouncing Souls

Breathe Carolina

brokeNCYDE

Cash Cash

Chiodos

Conditions

Dirty Heads

Dr Madd Vibe Experiment

Echo Movement

Escape The Fate

Every Avenue

Forever The Sickest Kids

Gallows

Hit The Lights

I Set My Friends On Fire

In This Moment

InnerPartySystem

Inward Eye

Ivoryline

KIA Kevin Says Stage

Less Than Jake

Longway

Madina Lake

Meg and Dia

Millionaires

NeverShoutNever

New Medicine

P.O.S.

Saosin

Scary Kids Scaring Kids

Senses Fail

Shad

Shooter Jennings

Sing It Loud

Single File

Streetlight Manifesto

TAT

The A.K.A.s

The Architects

The Devil Wears Prada

The Fast Track

The Maine

The White Tie Affair

There For Tomorrow

Therefore I Am

TV/TV

Underoath

Valencia

VersaEmerge

We The Kings

Westbound Train

You Me At Six