How I Almost Attended Warped Tour 2009

How I Almost Attended Warped Tour 2009
Robert Fayette

My biggest media hero is Howard Stern. There are many valuable lessons one can take from him, but probably the biggest is simply how honest he is with his audience. In the old days of radio, the rule of thumb was that even if the building was on fire while you were on air, you would never let anyone listening know--you would just plow forward and keep acting like everything is fine. Stern, of course, changed all that. If something fell down in the studio and made a weird noise on-air, he would acknowledge it and explain what was going on and why it happened, often leading to hilarious digressions. Which is why I'm not ashamed to share this story, although by rights I probably should be.

They don't publish the Warped Tour set times in advance. You have to find out who's playing when where by checking out this inflatable, pictured, when you get there. I guess I sort of understand why: they want people there when the doors open, and they want to give the bands playing earlier in the day a fair shot. That's fine.

But it does make it sort of hard to plan out your day. Being a Friday, I had some other things to attend to first, but I definitely did want to check out Dear and the Headlights, Meg & Dia, local bands like Janu and the Whalesharks, and a few more. But since I didn't have any idea when any of them was playing, and I wasn't available to get there at 11 a.m., I kept pushing my leave time earlier. "I'll leave at 3, and get there at like 3:30, and that'll be fine." "OK, it's 4 now, but if I can get there by 5, I'll have plenty of time." Etc. etc.

By the time I finally left work, it was 6 p.m. Now, I'll still use the "I'm kind of new here!" excuse, but really I should know better. The only place I've ever been to in Pomona is the Glass House, which has never taken me more than a half-hour to get to, so, since apparently I'm unable to apply any rules of realism or logic, I figured it would take a half-hour to get to the Fairplex, apparently blissfully unaware of something called traffic. "Well, I'll get there around 6:30, then I should at least have two or three hours to walk around and check stuff out."

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Yeah. That didn't happen. It took an hour and a half to get to the Fairplex, and by the time I did get there, I had no idea where to park. I parked by the Sheraton hotel, because that seemed like a good idea at the time, but that was another 20 minutes of walking (uphill! feel sorry for me!) before I got to the main entrance. Once I was there, it was obvious that things were just about over for the day (I hadn't been to the Warped Tour in five years and forgot how early things shut down there). The box offices were closed, tired teenagers in gaudy outfits were waiting for their rides, and every security person I talked to basically laughed at me for getting there 10 minutes before it ended. They were right to do it. "Epic fail" is annoying, overused Internet slang, but it's appropriate in this instance. Driving an hour and a half in rush hour Southern California traffic only to park, walk 20 minutes uphill and then immediately drive back, can only be classified as such.

The bright side? I got to ride on a trolley on the way back to my car! Oh, and Robert Fayette, who did make it, came back with these lovely pictures.

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