A Parent’s Guide to the Vans Warped Tour

Note: Alizen, one of our great interns decided to do research on the Vans Warped Tour to give parents insight into the concert scene, why teens love music and what adults should and shouldn’t be worried about when teens make music their priority.

As the third day of the Vans Warped Tour kicks off its sixteenth year of business, concert-goers and fans alike gather on a surprisingly clear and sunny day to Seaside Park in Ventura, California. The line wraps around from the entrance filled with people with neon bright extensions and metal jewelry. The clock strikes eleven and the crowd exchanges a jubilant cry of excitement while the performers prepare for the long day ahead. Those who were lucky enough to bring canned food to support Punk Junk and Feed Our Children receive a front-of-the-line pass. As for those who didn’t? Well, let’s just say the myriad of PETA supporters and music promoters kept them easily entertained.

Radical Parenting interns Alizen Rodriguez and Tashnia Hossain had the opportunity to learn more about some of this year’s performers, thanks to the MSO Company and Vanessa Van Petten. The object of the day: to get to the nitty gritty information about concert-to-parent disputes. Before the interview session began, Alizen and Tashnia took the time to ask people a few questions. While many fans go to concerts for the music and the chance to engage with strangers who share a common interest, parents seem to have a different opinion on the atmosphere. One of the biggest misconceptions parents tend to have is the presence of drugs and alcohol that ultimately lead to general violence.  Many events like Warped Tour keep a strict policy that prohibits entrance to the park if caught with such materials. Other events that are more lenient with the idea designate areas for smoking in an attempt to appease those who do not enjoy its presence.  These actions are made to prevent discomfort, injuries, and other occurrences throughout the duration of the concert.

Far From Finished’s rhythm guitarist Oscar Capps, who is a father of two sons, says, “Expose them to drugs! Alcohol! All the bad stuff! Be honest with your kids. You can’t hide them from everything, you just got to guide them in their own way and let them make their own decisions.”

While he may hold true, does exposing the truth keep teenagers away from using them? One concert-goer says, “My parents always trusted me not to do drugs and stuff. I mean, all my friends were doing it and sometimes I kinda just felt like trying it out, but if my mom trusted me enough to know I wouldn’t do it, then I don’t wanna go behind her back and do drugs. My friends think I’m weird, but I just don’t see how doing drugs and drinking makes people cool. It isn’t, it’s stupid.”

And she’s right, doing drugs and drinking alcohol isn’t an easy way to be cool. But illegal substances aren’t the only problems parents care about when it comes to concerts. Mike Posner, who is best known for his song Cooler Than Me, says, “Well concerts really aren’t that bad to begin with. It’s not what you’d expect. The movies definitely make it worse than it really is.”

Tarcy Thomason, lead singer of Artist VS Poet, replies, “Well it’s always a good idea to bring kids if they’re old enough. You know, just so they get a feel of the whole concert idea. I mean if they’re not old enough, then just give them some headphones or something. But definitely bring them to a concert if it’s possible. Teach them about music, so that they know if it’s right for them or not.”

The misconception parents have about concerts may be thanks to concerts that are best known for their rather lenient rules of regulation such as Coachella and Electric Daisy Carnival, two events 10 out of 10 teenagers agree they would never let their children attend. But is keeping children away from these bad influences the real reason parents are so harsh, or is it a lack of a close relationship?

Cassadee Pope, lead singer of Hey Monday, advises, “Don’t lose touch with your family, talk to your kids. Definitely talk to them. Be there for the worst and best time of their lives and maintain that connection.” As a high school graduate who opted out of attending college, she knows about the benefits of being close to her parents, who were supportive of her decision to start a band.

One may wonder, what exactly does a concert have to do with parenting? It may seem odd, but allowing your child the ability to go places they are eager to go to will help build a stronger relationship. 100% of teenagers surveyed agree that they are closer to their parents because they are allowed to attend concerts, parties and other such events.

“This is a changing world. Kids are growing up faster with changing minds. All we have to offer is unconditional love and support, because love is what will take us places,” says Christofer Drew of NeverShoutNever.

Do you love your children enough to give them that luxury?

Far From Finished

Alizen: Well it seems to me as if you guys are newcomers to the whole tour, so let’s do a brief bio before we begin. Where are you guys from and how did the band form?
Oscar Capps: We are originally from Boston, Massachussetts, and we actually formed a little bit near the end of high school. We just grabbed a bunch of guys and figured we’d rather make music than go to college and ever since then we’ve been trying to do that. We’ve been together for four years.

Alizen: Wow, that’s quite some time. How did your parents feel about you leaving high school to pursue your passion?
Oscar: Well we all graduated, and I went to college for three years. I guess this is relevant to parenting, since I wasn’t really close to mine.  They didn’t like the whole idea.

Alizen: Yeah, I can see where you’re coming from. Most teenagers don’t have very close relationships with their parents.
Oscar: Right. I would definitely recommend talking to your kids, ‘cause my parents never did. I guess, you know, if I were closer they’d understand more about why I chose to do this. I’m actually a parent though, have been for eight years.

Alizen: You’re very young to be a parent, or maybe it’s just my assumption that parents should look like middle-aged people, haha. From the looks of it though, I would assume that you were going out during high school?
Oscar: Yeah, we were…. I guess you would call it high school sweethearts. Got pregnant during high school, but I never saw it in a bad way. I’m still with her and we have two sons now.

Alizen: That’s good to hear! How do you feel about your children have a famous dad? I guess, how you deal with tours and being apart from them?
Oscar: Well the boys go to school, so it isn’t very bad. I mean yeah, it kind of sucks that I’m not always with them, and my wife’s just home with them, but I do what I can. I don’t really stick to the whole rules of parenting. I try to be my own. Try something new.

Alizen: Sounds like the makings of a great foundation!
Steve Neary: Yeah, and actually we like to call ourselves the DIY Band, the Do it Yourself band, because if no one will do anything for you, you gotta do it yourself to be famous.

Alizen: You’re absolutely right. Well, seeing as how you guys are from Boston, Ventura must be some new ground. Who would you say is your favorite performer in the tour?
Oscar: Definitely a fan of the Bouncing Souls. We love to watch them perform.
Steve: The Sparring, they’re also great. They’re one of good friends.

Alizen: Now because we work with Radical Parenting, an organization that teaches parents how to be better parents through the teenage perspective, what advice do you have for them regarding concerts?

Oscar: Expose them to drugs! Alcohol! All the bad stuff! (laughs) Well all joking aside, like I said, try to be your own kind of parent. Be honest with your kids. You can’t hide them from everything, you just gotta guide them in their own way and let them make their own decisions.
Steve: And talk to your kids. That’s one of the most important things, building a strong relationship with them.

Mike Posner

Mike Posner, best known for his hit song “Cooler Than Me”, was lucky enough to earn a spot on The Vans Warped Tour. While the tour is best known for its rock genre, Posner was added in the hopes of bringing a fresh atmosphere to their sixteenth year of existence. Tashnia and I had the pleasure of meeting this warm character after being interviewed by CBS.

Tashnia: I have read that you’re the son of a pharmacist and an attorney; have you ever felt compelled that you must follow the same career path?
Mike Posner: Not at all. My parents were very supportive of my decision. I love music, and I started making music at a very young age.

Tashnia: What made you want to become a singer, songwriter, and producer at such a young age?
Mike: I started very young and I can’t imagine my life without it. I love it.

Tashnia: Your new single, “Cooler than me,” has become quite successful and has climbed the Billboard Hot 100 to reach No. 8. What other hit singles can we be expecting?
Mike: My new song “Please Don’t Go” is going to be airing on the radio very soon, so you can expect that.

Tashnia: Your debut album entitled “35 Minutes to Takeoff” is to be released in August; what kind of music influences will be featured on the album?
Mike: Since I’m from Michigan, I kind of have that mo-town influence, but I listen to everyone: Jay Z, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead. It’s a totally unique sound.

Tashnia: Because we work for Radical Parenting, an organization that teaches parents how to be BETTER parents through the teenage perspective, what advice would you give regarding concerts?
Mike: Well concerts really aren’t that bad to begin with. It’s not what you’d expect, the movies definitely make it worse than it really is. Be supportive of your children because life is about two H’s: Health and Happiness. Follow your dreams and do something now. Looking back on it a few years later, you may laugh about it.

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6 Responses to “A Parent’s Guide to the Vans Warped Tour”

  1. Norma Gajowiak
    July 29, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

    I am an employee at one of the venues that hosts the Van’s Warped Tour. In this capacity I have attended at least five Warped Tours in the city of Detroit. It is for this reason that I say the writer of this article must have been at a different show that I was at. This show is full of teens, half-naked teens smoking pot, drinking booze out of hidden flasks they skillfully sneaked in to the show. I’m sure that the organizers of the show are not responsible for this, but to allude to the fact that this show is a wholesome, milk and cookies type of event is way off base. And to answer the writer’s question, my child and I are close because he understands that it is my job to say “no” as his greatest protector. And yes, I love my son enough, and taking him to a concert full of filth will in no way make him love me any more; he can’t love me any more.

  2. Susan
    August 5, 2010 at 8:08 am #

    Thanks for the info! Planning on bringing my son to Warped next year (he’ll be 13) in Boston and wanted to start researching it now. He loves music, I love music so it should be good (let’s hope)!

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