Metalcore summer 2014 hits Shakopee

SHAKOPEE That the saying “music connects people” really is true, was proved impressively at the Vans Warped Tour in Shakopee on Sunday.

Thousands of people attended the event at the Canterbury Park Festival Field. Despite the heat, people enjoyed the vibe, watched as many bands as possible, danced, moshed and sang along as loud as possible.

Richard “Rick” Isbell from New Ulm, and I, Elena Kretschmer, the Hans Joohs exchangee, joined the fun.

A short explanation for those who are not familiar with the event: The Warped Tour is a touring music festival. The tour is held in venues such as parking lots or fields upon which the stages and other structures are constructed prior to and for the duration of the event. The skateboard shoe manufacturer Vans, among others, has sponsored the tour every year since 1995. Therefore, the event is also called the Vans Warped Tour.

The tour began as a showcase for punk rock music, but its more recent lineups have featured diverse genres such as pop punk, post-hardcore, indie hip-hop and above all metalcore. Since the tour always takes place during the summer, Vans likes to refer to its event as “The Metalcore Summer.”

So as Sunday, July 20, the day the tour hit Shakopee, had finally arrived, there was no doubt that tons of people would be taking their chance to see about 100 bands play in one day for $45.

Gates open at 11 a.m., pick up your tickets at the will call and if you want to skip the long line trying to get in, bring canned goods (at least three cans per person) or an old cell phone to help kids in need that was all the information Rick and I had.

The band lineup was already announced on the Internet but no schedule. So after a little odyssey asking our way through to the bag search and finally into the festival area, we picked up a timetable including a map of the festival grounds a black-and-white printout for $2.

It was a hot, sunny day with no sign of rain whatsoever. Good thing we had brought enough water. We ended up seeing several dehydrated people that had to be carried out of the crowd during the day. But if the tour sponsors provide you with a free water refill all day long and you don’t take that offer, it is supposedly your own loss. Another option was buying water or other refreshments at one of the many booths, as well as food, such as cheese curds, quesadillas or cheese burgers.

It is quite hard to imagine the festival’s dimension if you did not see it in person But eight different stages and about 60 merchandise booths should make it clearer. It was probably a good choice to dig our way through the crowd one time in the beginning, just to know our way around.

The lineup was amazing at least in my opinion. Breathe Carolina, Mayday Parade, Bowling for Soup, The Summer Set, Terror and many more played.

For me, the highlights were two of my all-time favorite bands, Yellowcard from Florida and Parkway Drive from Australia.

I’ve seen Yellowcard once before on its European tour in Munich. But that was about eight years ago. Because their songs have always helped me through rough times, I was so happy to be able to see them again. The crowning moment was when I went to the signing after their performance and had four of the five band members autograph my T-shirt.

Parkway Drive at 8:15 p.m. was the culmination to a long, but amazing day with a lot of dancing, singing along and enjoying the atmosphere.

And even if Rick, who kept me company the whole time, does usually not listen to this kind of music, he also enjoyed this completely new experience.

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