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Vans Warped Tour Hartford 2013: Coming home

Motion City Soundtrack on the mainstage
Motion City Soundtrack on the mainstage
Kathleen Creighton

There are many times in life that people are reminded why they chose the path they are on and why they continue on it. Returning to the Comcast Theater to cover the annual Vans Warped Tour stop for the fourth year, was just such a reminder.

July 14th provided yet another beautiful Sunday for the music fests Connecticut show. The Weather Channel had predicted afternoon thunderstorms but there seemed to be a giant hole in the clouds that hovered over the Comcast. The temperature did rise into the 90's but most attendees and along with the entire Warped family were doing well staying hydrated and finding shade from time to time. One of the best parts about using this venue is that the amphitheater is in full use so people can get in out of the sun and hear great music at the same time. The main stage this year was divided into the Tilly's and Domo where bands like Forever The Sickest Kids brought their "A" games. But before even entering The Comcast, people got to meet musicians who were promoting their set times or hawking their music. Donations at the Feed Our Children Now tent helped the local food bank and got ticketholders "skip the line privilege" but for those where were on line and paying attention there was the opportunity to shake hands with Kevin Lyman, found of Vans Warped Tour.

This year's line-up included many old familiar faces to fans of the alt, punk, hardcore and ska scenes. The Used and Hawthorne Heights were back after more than a few years of being away. Relient K moved up to the mainstage. Reel Big Fish was this year's big ska band and in Warped tradition had Billy Kottage from Big D join in on trombone and Beebs (Beebs and Her Money Makers) do a little guest vocaling. Big D and Young London representing for New England while Bring Me The Horizon was along from Jolly Old England. Black Veil Brides added their metal-flavored rock to the mix. Other old favorites included Motion City Soundtrack and Silverstein. In the Acoustic Basement Brian Marquis, William Beckett and Billy Pettinger were among the daily offerings.

For those who say Warped Tour has seen its better day, the festival, in its current state should remain successful at least long enough to celebrate it's two-decade anniversary in 2015. Admittedly the line-ups have changed over the years to draw crowds of 14-20 year olds which people now in their 30s who were going to Warped in its infancy don't necessarily like, Lyman and his staff do a great job of offering a mix of old and new, alternative, punk, hardcore, ska and indie that just about anyone can find enough to fill their day and get their ticket price's worth.

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