The Vans Warped Tour made its annual stop in Orlando on July 27, 2012, one what seemed to be one of the hottest days of the summer. Thousands of fans poured into the fairgrounds to see their favorite bands and hopefully get that sacred autograph during a signing.
A wide open grassy area with no trees for shade was the same event location just like every year. Luckily, the Vans Warped Tour provided pole tents to help provide shade and were even kind enough to have stationary tents in the grass parking lot for vehicles. The heat was almost unbearable at times. A scorching 102 degrees forced fans to remove most clothing except for their under garments. Among the thousands of fans one could see every ten seconds a person coming out of the crowd gasping for air and water while collapsing to the ground. Security would just stand there watching others collapse from exhaustion while offering slim if any help at all. The only help a sick one would get was from others near them offering them their water and a helping hand to either a tent or to get medical attention. The fire department stated that an average of 60 people an hour were visiting the first aid station.
The Vans Warped Tour offered a diverse amount of artists despite most of them never being heard of by most fans; however, that’s a big part of their mission. The tour introduces new artists to communities by allowing them to be on the entire tour or just parts of it so that they can self-market their music. For example, the group Blood On The Dance Floor, were emerging artists just a few years ago (originally from Orlando) and were able to perform on the small side stages of the tour. They were able to spread their music to new fans and just recently climbed onto the Billboard charts and were invited back to play on one of the main stages of the tour.
For the artists on tour it is a grueling eight weeks of driving, setting up, breaking down, no sleep, and hope. During those eight weeks there are typically over 40 shows. The tour is a mass production of a musical boot camp for these artists. Some of them are struggling to make just enough money from merchandise sales in order to eat and buy fuel while the top dogs on the tour go worriless.
If one didn’t arrive early enough then they found out that they should’ve left a little bit sooner so that they would not have been waiting on Highway 50 for an hour or more just to park. Traffic was backed up for almost five miles with fans waiting to get in. Traffic control was slim as the Orange County Sheriff Department stood near the entrance just chatting with each other instead of providing traffic control.
Unfortunately, there were plenty of fans that were scammed into buying fake tickets for the show and could not gain entry. There was also an incident of several hundred vehicles being towed from parking lots near the grounds after fans were directed to park there by people claiming that they were working for the tour. After the lots filled up tow trucks lined up to tow all of them away. Orlando Police stated they were “investigating” that unfortunate situation.