Joe Volpe is the vocalist for Bethlehem’s Cedar Green. His band earned its way onto the Ernie Ball Stage at Warped Tour’s July 21 Scranton stop through an online battle of the bands. This is their first time playing the tour, but they already have an idea of what to expect.
“I expect it to be very hot,” Volpe said. “It’s always hot at Warped Tour. I expect to see a lot of familiar faces. We’re going to be playing in Scranton, we have a great following in Scranton. Other than that, (I’m) really just expecting it to be a really cool, energized crowd for us to play in front of for that 25 minutes that we get.”
Dan Campbell is the vocalist for Lansdale’s The Wonder Years. His band earned its way onto the 2015 Warped Tour main stage through the steady production of critically acclaimed material that helped jump-start the pop-punk revival. This isn’t their first time playing the tour, and knowing what to expect hasn’t been that big of an advantage.
“It’s helped a little bit, but really, you can’t help but be destroyed,” Campbell said. “For awhile we were averaging over 100 degrees. We were getting ripped up by thunderstorms almost every day. It was either hot and dusty or it was raining and muddy (and) it was a hard couple weeks to deal with, especially with no days off. We’ve had three days off on the tour so far (but) we really only had one that wasn’t a working day.”
Artists and fans brave the Warped Tour elements for one reason: the love of music. That love has to run deep if someone is willing to throw themselves to the tour on repeated occasions, and for Campbell, it does. He attended his first Warped Tour in 2001, and his odyssey began as soon as his mother dropped him off at the train station.
“It was really exciting because there are all of these other punks on the train with you and then you get off and you mass exodus,” Campbell said. “In Philly, you go from the train station in Market East, walk eight blocks to Penn’s Landing and take a ferry across the river to Camden. It looked like the Oregon Trail of punk dudes.”
Campbell’s motivation to go punk rock pioneering was his desire to see Less Than Jake, but his very first crowd surfing experience would get between him and the punk/ska stalwarts.
“I was crowd surfing for the first time in my life to Alien Ant Farm and security missed me. I fell over the barricade and cracked my head open,” Campbell said. “I went to the hospital in Camden and I waited an hour (or) two for someone to do anything. I thought, ‘I’m going to miss Less Than Jake. F— this, I feel fine!’ So I stood up and walked through Camden, bleeding from the head, asking people for directions back to the amphitheater. They let me back into the show (but) I missed Less Than Jake. I still have that scar.”
The Vans Warped Tour doesn’t have headliners, but Campbell, his scar and The Wonder Years had the distinction of closing out this year’s Philadelphia date. He remembered walking out of Warped Tour as a young fan and seeing bands like Taking Back Sunday, Thursday and Glassjaw closing out the night. He said he looked out into the crowd in Philadelphia and thought, “Holy shit. I stood right there. That was where I was watching these bands play and now I get to be up here.”
Cedar Green will get just as much time to play as any other band. Volpe and Cedar Green guitarist Ryan Holzer were excited to go to Warped Tour this year as fans and see bands like Senses Fail, Simple Plan and Neck Deep, but now they get to share a bill with those acts. Holzer said it has been a dream to play Warped Tour, and to see that come true is, “unreal. It really does show that, whether it’s luck or hard work, if you really believe in yourself it’ll happen.”
The Oregon Trail of punk dudes is open to well-traveled, scar-sporting veterans and wide-eyed newcomers and on July 21 it leads directly to The Pavilion at Montage Mountain.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
We’ve spotlighted two Pennsylvania acts playing Scranton’s Warped Tour, but the 2015 Vans Warped Tour features more than 80 acts. That can be daunting, but Weekender is here to help. We’ll be tweeting and posting throughout the day on July 21. Follow us on Twitter, @WKDR and Instagram, WeekenderMagazine for set times, photos and more from The Pavilion at Montage Mountain.