The 2017 Vans Warped Tour kicks off today in Seattle, Washington and will make it’s way around America with tons of vendors, over 80 bands, and lots of sweaty fans. I can’t wait to go again this year (it will be my fifth time) and taking my sister for the first. I was giving her some tips to make the most out of the one-day festival, and thought that I should share them! So here’s my list of the top ten things you should do in order to have the best time you can at Warped Tour.

1.) Pack The Essentials (aka water, sunscreen, and snacks)

I guess it depends on the venue, but from my experience at PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey, Warped Tour lets you bring in a small bag with some items to help you get through the day. I know your first thought might be to pack a black and silver Sharpie for possible autographs, but you NEED to remember to pack water, sunscreen, and snacks. If you don’t want to lug around a big bottle of SPF, then go buy a 99 cent travel size sunscreen. Nothing will ruin your day like sun poisoning. As for snacks, pack some granola bars to tide you over because, trust me, everything else is so expensive.

2.) Freeze Your Water Bottles Beforehand

This really makes a big difference. Even if you do remember to bring water, you’re not going to want to drink it if it’s warm after the sun has been beating down on your bag for hours. If you freeze the water the night before then by the time you’re thirsty the ice should’ve melted, and still be cold.

3.)  Splurge For The $2 Map

Trust me on this one because it’ll make getting from stage to stage a whole lot easier. I’ve been going to the same venue for years and still don’t know where the stages will be. This will help you navigate, and that really comes in handy when the bands you want to see are playing 10 minutes apart, making you sprint across the lawn. Another plus to the map is that it lists the times of every band’s set, which will save you the wild-goose-hunt that is looking for the big blow up setlist hidden among the crowd (it’s not really hidden but I can never find it).

4.) Dress Comfortably

Please don’t spends hours getting glam to go to Warped Tour because you’re just going to sweat it off anyway. You’ll either be getting pushed against bodies in the pit, running around, or just sweating from dancing in your own space. None of that results in looking that great. Just wear a t-shirt, crop top, whatever will make you the most comfortable throughout the day. Most importantly: wear close-toed shoes (preferably sneakers)

5.) Don’t Be Afraid To Take A Break

Warped Tour’s atmosphere is so fun that it can be a bit overwhelming. If you’ve been going hard from 12-4 and you start feeling dizzy, then listen to your body and rest. You won’t regret sitting out of a band you kinda like’s set if it keeps you from passing out and missing the rest of the day. There’s also a medic tent that you can visit if you really don’t feel good.

6.) Don’t Be Afraid To Go Crazy

At the same time you shouldn’t be afraid to go a little out of your comfort zone. If you’re usually tame at concerts, then this is the place to go a little wild. If you’ve always been afraid to mosh: try here. If you’ve always wanted to crowd surf but never have: do it here. Everyone is there to have a great time a listen to a ton of music, so no one will judge you.

7.) Take Advantage Of The Amphitheater

I know this won’t apply to everyone, but for those of you whose venue includes an amphitheater: I really recommend you chill there for a part of the day. After running between stages for hours you might start to get a headache, and the amphitheater is a place where you can rest your head and only have to listen to one band (not to mention it provides shade). It’s also a good place to check out some new music, since the bands that play there are usually smaller.

8.) Don’t Worry About Staying With Your Friends

The odds of everyone in your group wanting to see all of the same bands is possible, but small, so don’t let staying with your friends ruin your time. Bands that you want to see tend to play at the same time (because the universe is cruel) so if all your friends want to see Band A but you really want to see Band B, then go see them. You can catch up later, and it’s just as fun seeing a band by yourself.

9.) Help Your Fellow Music Fans Out

Just be a nice person to those around you. Obviously they have the same music taste as you do, so why not be nice? If someone falls, pick them up; if someone is lost, let them see your map; etc.

10.) Don’t Get Hung Up On The Meet and Greets

Unless that is your reason for going. If you bought your ticket to meet as many bands as possible, then awesome! If not, don’t let the temptation of meeting a band you like mess up seeing other bands. Usually you have to line up an hour or so in advanced (depending on the popularity of the band) and it could really make you miss out on the true experience of Warped Tour. I did that my first time going and I missed out on so many cool acts. You’ll enjoy the memory of the setlist more than bringing home a torn up poster (because it will get torn up in your small bag).

I hope these tips help you out, and I hope you all have an awesome time at Warped Tour! Let me know in the comments who you plan on seeing this year.

Warped Tour Tickets/Dates/Bands

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