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Friday, June 15, 2012

Warped Tour Comes To The Great Park

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The Vans Warped Tour will be making it's first return to Orange County in 8 years. The last time it happened was in 2004 at the Cal State Fullerton Campus, with New Found Glory, Anti-Flag and Taking Back Sunday as headlining bands. Coincidentally enough, those bands will be part of this year's OC return as well, but they will be on stage at the ever-growing Great Park in Irvine.

Over the years my experience with Warped Tour has changed and evolved. I began attending as a young teenager, barely phased by the heat and crowds. As I got older I found shade in the less-crowded 21 and over tent, even if I was just drinking water. Now as a parent, I have made note of the family-friendly aspects of the event as well. While the Irvine city council may think it's a recipe for disaster, I think it's a great bonding experience for parents and kids of all ages.

For younger kids, heading into the crowd in front of the stage isn't really an option. There's plenty of room to watch the show from the back of the crowd, but if it gets too overwhelming, you can walk around and check out some of the other offerings. To keep cool in the heat, they offer shade tents throughout the venue, misting stations, free water refilling stations sponsored by Kleen Kanteen, and my personal favorite is the huge inflatable slip and slide they have every year. There are also all kinds of vendors throughout the area, some which offer kid-friendly fun and games. Truth (yes, the anti-smoking organization) is always there playing games and giving out prizes to participants.
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If you have an older kid, they're more likely to want to do their own thing, preferably without you there at all. Warped Tour always offers a convenient parent drop-off and pick-up right in front, but if you prefer to be on site they have their awesome Reverse Daycare Tent just for parents. Sit back and relax in the cool air-conditioned tent, chat it up with other parents, enjoy a beverage and other fun parent-friendly services.

As for the music, it's not just metal and punk bands screaming on the stage. Genres range from reggae and ska, to hip-hop, electro and even some acoustic bands. There's definitely something for everyone. Walk around and enjoy our beautiful Great Park and listen to some new bands.
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