By Austin Green
| The Salt Lake Tribune
The Salt Lake City edition of Warped Tour 2013 kicked off with a breakfast of beer — or at least it did for the members of ska punk band Big D and the Kid’s Table.
"Real beer, too," lead singer Dave McWane shouted from stage just before noon. "Not Utah beer."
The festival ended with overheated yet dedicated fans dispersing from Delta Rose’s closing set about 9 p.m. In between the two shows was a hot, sweaty blur of a day that featured nine stages, 90 bands, 105 degree heat, and too many shirtless fans to count.
It was a melting pot of musical cultures at Utah State Fairpark, with everything from hip-hop to ska to metal on display. Ryland Steen, drummer for Reel Big Fish, said the level of variety at the festival has been the biggest change since his band first played Warped Tour in 1997.
"The whole Warped Tour, I think it was definitely more punk-rock based in the beginning, whereas now it’s a very cosmopolitan lineup of bands and styles of music," Steen said. "There’s a lot of hip hop artists on this tour, there’s some sensitive acoustic acts, there’s a lot of screaming from a lot of bands. And then you have us somewhere in the middle trying to hold it all together."
One band that embodies the new diversity of Warped Tour is RDGLDGRN (pronounced "Red, Gold, Green"). The Washington, D.C., trio plays an original style that they have dubbed "indie go-go." It’s essentially a fusion of punk-rock, hip-hop and funk that caters to wide array of concert-goers.
Red, the dreadlocked guitarist who, like his band-mates, refers to himself by the color of clothing he always wears, said that the Warped Tour allows musicians a unique opportunity to interact with fans.
"After we do our set earlier on, people see us wandering around throughout the day, and it’s cool to see the expression on their faces when they see us watching someone that they like too," he said. "I mean, we’re fans too, and so it’s easy to connect with our own fans that way."
"For us it’s a festival too," Gold, the bassist, added. "We’re spectators as well as performers."
The entire event lasted about 10 hours, and the prolonged heat exposure clearly took its toll on the fans. Crowds struggled to keep up with the bands’ energy by the end of the night, and first-aid crew was busy throughout the entire day, constantly dealing with people suffering from heat-related issues.
Not everyone saw the heat as a negative, though.
"I can’t tell if I’m covered in sweat or water," one fan said as he left The Wonder Years performance around 3 p.m. "I love Warped Tour."