Jul 21, 2010, 09:55AM

The Worst of the Worst: Summer music festivals

Vans Warped Tour: A day with shitty tweens and horrible music.

Untitled.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Ted Van Pelt

Yesterday, July 20, the Vans Warped Tour descended upon Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD, and I was unfortunate enough to work there all day selling water and Gatorade. I’m not complaining—it’s a good gig, and I like those I work for and with. But often, the people who come to the shows are the biggest pains in the ass. Just an FYI, concertgoers: asking “Can I have that for free?” or trying to buy something for a few dollars less is never funny and won’t get you any Gatorade. Although every show has its share of the impolite and unintelligent, the Warped Tour featured the worst crowd that’s infested MPP all season.

Aside from the fact that the median age was somewhere around 15 (read: no tips), the festival itself and the people who attended were infuriating and upsetting. My cart was stationed on a strip of vendors and obnoxious advertisers that were there only to milk as much money out of the stream of people that wandered through the area. It was an all-day parade of questionable fashion and horrible hair, of braying tweens and lost adults, of cheap sunglasses and stupid t-shirts. Throughout the day I saw countless girls with slogans like “I <3 Sex” and “I <3 Sluts” temporary tattooed on their navels, no doubt the product of some pervert Vans executive. One fat kid in particular caught my eye: a t-shirt with the text “LET US FUCK” in big bold black letters.

Ultimately though, fashion is fashion, and I can’t knock someone too hard for dressing how they choose. It’s a personal choice. But the Warped crowd fully demonstrated that it was just as clueless as their haircuts: by the middle of the day, a surprising amount of litter was strewn throughout the grounds. By day’s end, Merriweather was covered in garbage, the most litter I’ve ever seen at the place. Litter gets on my nerves; it’s completely selfish, lazy, and indefensible. Merriweather has plentiful garbage cans and recycling units, and someone who litters simply conveys how much of a fucking idiot asshole he or she is. The bands were just as bad the crowd: posters and signs advertising different sets were taped, often five or six in a row, to the ground, ready to be walked on and gawked at. Trucks and stands were giving away free stuff everywhere, items like chicken wings and condoms that were just waiting to become trash on the ground.

Make no mistake: this was the rudest and most crass crowd I’ve ever served. We were told to take the caps off of all drinks sold, as the bands were worried about people throwing the caps at them. This was a good indicator of the douche quotient present. Bad music and bad fashion is one thing, but to me, littering is just inexcusable, and the Warped Tour’s ethos, such as it was, was best exemplified when Merriweather was covered in its useless, abundant garbage.

  • So, just to make sure I understand: you're a guy who apparently dislikes watered-down, crowded, mainstream arts and music festivals, so you decided to go to Artscape and work for the summer at Merriweather? Why not just lump all these into one big article, "Top 5 easily avoidable shitty situations I walked right into this summer."

    Responses to this comment
  • A job's a job, John. The pay is good and not every show has a shit crowd. I worked a Phish show last month and it was a really great experience. The fans were really nice and Phish provided some pleasant background music. Same goes for Jazz Fest earlier in the summer. Besides, my main point of contention wasn't the music - the littering is what really got to me. I've worked a lot of shows at Merriweather and no other gig and its fans showed as much disrespect to the venue and its staff as the Warped Tour did.

    Responses to this comment
  • you're selling gatorade and water from a cart, bemoan the fact that teenagers don't tip well, and follow up immediately with the implication that you rise above your fellow vendors who "milk as much money [as they can] out of the stream of people". pretty carelessly tossed off. like litter.

    Responses to this comment
  • you captured exactly the reason i don't really love going to outdoor concerts - people acting a hot ass mess. and for no reason, either. there are free shows in mccaren park right down the block from my house and...im nervous.

    Responses to this comment

Register or Login to leave a comment