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This Is What It's Like To Attend The Vans Warped Tour One Last Time

"I'm afraid there might not be a place for us all to come together."

Posted on June 25, 2018, at 9:19 p.m. ET

Crowdsurfing is an age-old tradition at the Vans Warped Tour. Fans do it again and again and again.

Andrew Cullen

When the Warped Tour kicked off in California this past Thursday, Vans-wearing concertgoers were pumped despite knowing this would be their last. The tour, which began in 1995, is the largest traveling music festival in the US, and has drawn crowds of teens and adults to its shows for decades with the allure of dozens of punk and metal bands for an affordable ticket price, right in their own backyard.

The tour has long been a place for punk fans to come together to discover new artists, mosh to their favorite ones, and crowdsurf to their heart's content. I was at the Randall's Island show in New York City back in the summer of 2000 and I have nothing but fond memories, including losing my mind when a friend of a friend got invited on stage to play guitar with Green Day, and blowing dirt out of my nose for days afterward from all the dust kicked up from moshing.

Photographer Andrew Cullen was at Friday's show in San Diego to capture, for the last time, the spirit of the Warped Tour and what it's meant to the fans, who are left to wonder what will fill the void the end of the tour has caused for punk music lovers like themselves.

Andrew Cullen
Andrew Cullen
"Warped Tour is kind of its own thing," said Matthew Miller, 18. "It's a haven for people that are into the same stuff we are. I'm afraid there might not be a place for us all to come together." Alauna Ricketson, 23, with her sister-in-law Carly Ricketson, 21, loves stage dives and crowdsurfing: "Yes! Do it! Do it again!"Fans like Classy Cosplayer get dressed up for the tour.
Andrew Cullen

"Warped Tour is kind of its own thing," said Matthew Miller, 18. "It's a haven for people that are into the same stuff we are. I'm afraid there might not be a place for us all to come together."

Alauna Ricketson, 23, with her sister-in-law Carly Ricketson, 21, loves stage dives and crowdsurfing: "Yes! Do it! Do it again!"

Fans like Classy Cosplayer get dressed up for the tour.

Andrew Cullen
Andrew Cullen

At the Vans Warped Tour, the mosh pit is for everyone.

Andrew Cullen
Tiger Slavin and her girlfriend Adrianne Drewniak came from Las Vegas in matching Misfits shirts. "With the punk community, everyone acts like they're already your friends," Drewniak said. In the mosh pit, "if you fall, people will pick you up. If you're tying your shoe, people will form a wall around you. The bands will come down into the crowd. They don't act like they're too good for you... There's a guy in a wheelchair who crowdsurfs in Las Vegas every year. They lift his whole chair up and everything." "Smash Your Local Racist" shirt and Cheez-Its boxers in the mosh pit.Mike Fowler brought his 7-year-old son Ajay this year. "I was waiting for him to be, like, 10 — but this is their last year, so I had to bring him now."
Andrew Cullen

Tiger Slavin and her girlfriend Adrianne Drewniak came from Las Vegas in matching Misfits shirts. "With the punk community, everyone acts like they're already your friends," Drewniak said. In the mosh pit, "if you fall, people will pick you up. If you're tying your shoe, people will form a wall around you. The bands will come down into the crowd. They don't act like they're too good for you... There's a guy in a wheelchair who crowdsurfs in Las Vegas every year. They lift his whole chair up and everything."

"Smash Your Local Racist" shirt and Cheez-Its boxers in the mosh pit.

Mike Fowler brought his 7-year-old son Ajay this year. "I was waiting for him to be, like, 10 — but this is their last year, so I had to bring him now."

The crowd watches an early set at the Vans Warped Tour's stop in San Diego. Sometimes the early bands' sets are better than the later ones, when everyone's energy has been sapped by hours in the sun, said Noah Johnson (not pictured). "There's a small crowd. Everybody's pumped."
Andrew Cullen

The crowd watches an early set at the Vans Warped Tour's stop in San Diego. Sometimes the early bands' sets are better than the later ones, when everyone's energy has been sapped by hours in the sun, said Noah Johnson (not pictured). "There's a small crowd. Everybody's pumped."

Andrew Cullen
Trevor Phipps of the metalcore band Unearth.
Andrew Cullen

Trevor Phipps of the metalcore band Unearth.

Buddy Lieras, pictured at his fourth Warped Tour, loves crowdsurfing: "Just getting picked up out of nowhere and circling around, all these hands and fists in your back — it looks a lot more fun than it is, to be honest!"Adriana Herrera and Frank Acosta came from Los Angeles with their 3-year-old daughter Sky. Acosta had come twice before, in 2000 and 2001: "It was a great run."Eddie Quintero has been attending the Warped Tour since the mid-'90s. He said he hoped there would be a reincarnation. "I was there very early, and I saw it change, and the crowd change. There's a lot of first-timers, their first concert ever, and they're going to go home and absorb everything they saw here, the whole culture. This show makes new people."
Andrew Cullen

Buddy Lieras, pictured at his fourth Warped Tour, loves crowdsurfing: "Just getting picked up out of nowhere and circling around, all these hands and fists in your back — it looks a lot more fun than it is, to be honest!"

Adriana Herrera and Frank Acosta came from Los Angeles with their 3-year-old daughter Sky. Acosta had come twice before, in 2000 and 2001: "It was a great run."

Eddie Quintero has been attending the Warped Tour since the mid-'90s. He said he hoped there would be a reincarnation. "I was there very early, and I saw it change, and the crowd change. There's a lot of first-timers, their first concert ever, and they're going to go home and absorb everything they saw here, the whole culture. This show makes new people."

The hardcore band Harm's Way performs.

Andrew Cullen
Andrew Cullen

When the Vans Warped Tour began in 1995, there were no smartphones. During the first week of its final run, smartphones were everywhere, even in the mosh pit and in the hands of crowdsurfers.

Andrew Cullen
Tom Barber of the deathcore band Chelsea Grin.Chris Barnes requested "special liberty" time off from the naval base where he is posted to attend the Vans Warped Tour stop in San Diego. This is his eighth Warped Tour and he's been attending since 2004 or 2005. "I went not knowing anything," he said. "I had never heard of that in my life. The first band I saw was Zao. It was wild. I watched them from a tree. I was like, 'What is this?'... I literally got into 10 bands at Warped. That's what got me into going to shows."Kane Houfek and Dean Lee, from Los Angeles, at their first Warped Tour. The tour is important to Lee because it's welcoming to all. "Being able to see visibility of other people with chronic pain, or queerness, means a lot to me," Lee said. The tour is known for partnering with mental health education and suicide-prevention groups like Hope for the Day.
Andrew Cullen

Tom Barber of the deathcore band Chelsea Grin.

Chris Barnes requested "special liberty" time off from the naval base where he is posted to attend the Vans Warped Tour stop in San Diego. This is his eighth Warped Tour and he's been attending since 2004 or 2005. "I went not knowing anything," he said. "I had never heard of that in my life. The first band I saw was Zao. It was wild. I watched them from a tree. I was like, 'What is this?'... I literally got into 10 bands at Warped. That's what got me into going to shows."

Kane Houfek and Dean Lee, from Los Angeles, at their first Warped Tour. The tour is important to Lee because it's welcoming to all. "Being able to see visibility of other people with chronic pain, or queerness, means a lot to me," Lee said. The tour is known for partnering with mental health education and suicide-prevention groups like Hope for the Day.

Andrew Cullen
Jordan Havens and Riki Salmond dance in line at a food truck far from the stage.
Andrew Cullen

Jordan Havens and Riki Salmond dance in line at a food truck far from the stage.

Unwritten Law drummer Wade Youman.
Andrew Cullen

Unwritten Law drummer Wade Youman.

Nicole Barncastle came from Gilbert, Arizona, to attend her seventh tour. "I look forward to this," she said. "It's cool — everybody's so different, but accepting."Jordan Havens stopped moshing in line at a food truck to let the photographer take this portrait.Punk rock love.
Andrew Cullen

Nicole Barncastle came from Gilbert, Arizona, to attend her seventh tour. "I look forward to this," she said. "It's cool — everybody's so different, but accepting."

Jordan Havens stopped moshing in line at a food truck to let the photographer take this portrait.

Punk rock love.

Andrew Cullen
Iker Pujana, Cecilia Rivas, and Alejandra Perez Siete (right) came from Mexico City and sat in line with a few other friends for three hours in the heat to meet the members of Simple Plan. "Worth it," Pujana said.
Andrew Cullen

Iker Pujana, Cecilia Rivas, and Alejandra Perez Siete (right) came from Mexico City and sat in line with a few other friends for three hours in the heat to meet the members of Simple Plan. "Worth it," Pujana said.

Ska-punk veterans Reel Big Fish. The band first played the Warped Tour in 1997.

Andrew Cullen
Fans find shade anywhere they can.
Andrew Cullen

Fans find shade anywhere they can.

John O'Callaghan of the Maine kneels at the edge of the stage while performing in the headlining slot.
Andrew Cullen

John O'Callaghan of the Maine kneels at the edge of the stage while performing in the headlining slot.

Chrissy Deforest (not pictured) remembers crowdsurfing during her favorite song by Sleeping with Sirens a few years back: It was "slightly terrifying, but really fun. Like, don't drop me!"
Andrew Cullen

Chrissy Deforest (not pictured) remembers crowdsurfing during her favorite song by Sleeping with Sirens a few years back: It was "slightly terrifying, but really fun. Like, don't drop me!"

Andrew Cullen
Steven Zendejas takes a poster home with him as he leaves the show.
Andrew Cullen

Steven Zendejas takes a poster home with him as he leaves the show.

UPDATE

A photo was removed from this article to reflect BuzzFeed News’ editorial standards.


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