The 19th annual Vans Warped Tour — invading Salt Lake City on Saturday with 90 bands on nine stages — will stay true to the event’s punk-rock roots, while also offering plenty of diversity.
Everything from ska to metal to hip-hop and EDM will be on display during the 10-hour musical marathon at the Utah State Fairpark. Some of the big names on tour this summer include Goldfinger, Reel Big Fish, The Ataris, Motion City Soundtrack and headlining band Hawthorne Heights.
Eron Bucciarelli, drummer for Hawthorne Heights, said the tour has surpassed his expectations thus far.
“The tour so far has been amazing,” Bucciarelli said in a recent phone interview. “We were expecting some good crowds, but it’s topped our expectations because the crowds have been incredible and it’s been a lot of fun so far. More importantly, the weather has been pretty mild so far this summer.”
That will likely change for the Salt Lake City stop, with high temperatures forecast that approach 100 degrees.
Regardless of the weather, Bucciarelli said fans can expect relentless energy from Hawthorne Heights as the band attempts to jam its way back to the forefront of the American rock scene. The band released its first album in three years, “Zero,” on Tuesday and is traveling with the Warped Tour for the first time since 2007.
“We are definitely approaching [the tour] in the same fashion that we did when we first played, because we’re sort of looking at this album and the tour as a fresh start for us and an opportunity to sort of get back out there to the masses,” Bucciarelli said. “Obviously several years of hanging around in the doldrums, there was no real emotion behind us, so we needed this to sort of rejuvenate us.”
Bucciarelli said some of the other must-see bands this year include Forever Came Calling, Handguns, Silverstein and The Wonder Years.
Another band worth checking out is Art of Shock, a hard-rock outfit from Hollywood that has the privilege — or burden — of being this year’s BBQ Band.
Every year, the tour brings along a relatively unknown band that gets to play every night in exchange for cooking when the shows conclude. This summer’s burger-slinging crew hopes to follow in the footsteps of bands like Dropkick Murphys, who became internationally famous after breaking out as the Warped Tour BBQ Band.
Art of Shock drummer Adrian Geezar said the best and worst part of being the BBQ Band is meeting every single artist on the tour.
“Everyone really appreciates the gesture that, after the show when you’re super tired, you have to cook for 600 people,” Geezar said. “It is a very nice position, but it is a very tiring position at the same time. It is really hard to hang out with that many people that [are] traveling together, especially when you have to take care of your own stuff.”
Geezar, a native of Mexico City, has attended the Warped Tour several times as a fan. After experiencing the tour as a performer, he said he has a newfound respect for the bands that brave the exhausting schedule. This summer, the tour is playing 40 shows in a 52-day span.
“We haven’t stopped, literally,” Geezar said. “We’ve been sleeping two hours every day. You have to start at 7 a.m., you have to leave at 3 a.m., you have to drive like five hours in a row before you perform. But for me it’s a very special thing because when I was a kid I used to love to go to the Warped Tour and see Bad Religion and NOFX and Rancid … but now I understand why they say it’s the tour of tours — it’s hardcore.”
Vans Warped Tour
P The 19th annual mega-tour, featuring 90 bands on nine stages.
Where • Utah State Fairpark, 155 N. 1000 West, Salt Lake City.
When • Saturday, June 29, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tickets • $30 in advance at www.vanswarpedtour.com; $40 on the day of the show at the Fairpark box office.
Information • For a complete list of bands, go to www.vanswarpedtour.com.