Warped Tour fans waiting for the next band to take the Kia Forte Stage.
The long-running punk rock festival came back to Utah on June 29 at the Utah State Fairpark, bringing many bands who know the state and local fans well, and others here for the first time. We chatted with locals who have been coming to the show for years and a handful of artists and bands backstage to find out what it's like on tour, and more specifically, what it's like rocking out for a Utah moshpit.
For some Utahns, Warped Tour is a family tradition. “This is the third year we have come as a family,” says Kent Burges, a Layton resident who attended with his wife and three children. “The kids love it. There is something for everyone," says his wife Amie. "Our oldest is a fan of Emily’s Army, and I don’t miss an opportunity to hear Reel Big Fish play." Even the youngest member of the Burges family, 4-year-old Conner, was in tow, riding on his father's shoulders and flashing the rock 'n' roll devil horns to just about everyone who passed.
Fan crowd surfing during Forever the Sickest Kids' set.
For many bands at Warped Tour, Utah stands out. Rapper MC Lars told us out of the places he has performed, Kilby Court in SLC is among his favorites. “Utah kids are really generous and loyal," he says. "They buy your merch and come see you again, they always come up and chat with me after shows. It’s really fun—I’ve been coming here for almost 10 years. People here are so kind and sweet."
MC Lars backstage, showing off his video game chain.
When asked about his style of music, MC Lars described it as “lit-hop” or “literature rap.” He is inspired by Shakespeare and Edgar Allen Poe. “Poe was obsessed with sound and rhymes. He even lived in the Bronx, not far from where the first DJ started DJ’ing,” he says. “When I made the connection with literature and rap, I knew that I had to spend my life helping kids see it too.”
Others had a slightly different view of SLC concert goers. Silverstein drummer Paul Kohler says “Salt Lake crowds are known to be crazy. Some of the craziest mosh pits I’ve seen have been in this city. Concerts get shut down because so many fights break out.”
Motion City Soundtrack's singer Justin Pierre at the Van's Warped Tour.
Matthew Taylor, bassist for Motion City Soundtrack, has also seen some crazy crowds in Utah. “I don’t know what it is, but the Utah crowds seem to be really rowdy, and really excited," he says. "I don’t know why, but I like it. So keep it up."
Kazuki Takemure of Crossfaith
Utah does more than put on rowdy punk concerts—second time visitors Crossfaith, from Osaka Japan, are inspired by our own local breakout—The Used. They listen to the Orem band's music at home and on the road.
Crossfaith singer Ken, deputing their Japanese Future Metal style during at the Warped Tour in SLC.
Warped Tour veterans Reel Big Fish are celebrating their fifth time on the tour. Robert Quimby and Ryand Steen let us in on the secret—the band members love Utah's breweries and the mountainous landscape keeps them coming back. “We truly love playing here—our fan base is awesome in Utah. It doesn’t hurt that it’s gorgeous either. We can’t get enough of this view,” Steed says.
Fans creating a mosh pit during the Crossfaith set.
And we're sure that combination of wild and dedicated fans, local talent and just a beautiful place to play that will keep concerts like the Warped Tour coming back.