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Vans Warped Tour wows crowds at Darien Lake

People with multicolored hair alongside flower crowns, tie-dyed shirts alongside patched jean vests with studs, and parents alongside their kids all coexisting happily at one concert can only mean one thing: Vans Warped Tour is back in Western New York. 

On Wednesday, the all-day music festival brought more than 70 bands to Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. The venue welcomed Warped Tour veterans like Silverstein, who was at the Darien Lake stop for the sixth year. But newbies came along, too, such as the Kenneths, a punk band from the United Kingdom, who started their set by asking the crowd: “So are we actually in Buffalo? How far away from Buffalo are we? I’m so ... confused!”

The dreary morning turned into clear, sunny skies for the afternoon, leaving behind muddy puddles. That didn’t seem to bother music fans or moshers, not even Tristan Hughes, an 18-year-old who hobbled around the bumpy grass and gravel on crutches. 

“I just really wanted to see Pierce the Veil,” she said.

Hughes broke her foot while working at her local recreation center in Avoca playing a game with the kids. 

“A 60-pound girl was running and stepped on my foot,” she said. 

Her hour-and-a-half trek to Darien Lake was worth it; Pierce the Veil drew one of the largest crowds of the show for its post-hardcore performance.

Other dedicated Warped Tour fans didn’t think twice about costuming themselves for the event. Collin Drilling, 16, showed up in a fleece cow suit on the 67-degree day. Collin, who came to the festival with his older brother Alex, 17, said wearing cargo shorts was too boring for him.

“Why not wear a cow suit?” Collin said. “People are taking pictures. It makes people happy.” 

Another veteran band, We Came as Romans, blasted the fans with its metalcore sound during its afternoon set. Vocalist Kyle Pavone said the band likes playing Darien Lake because of the amusement park. 

“It’s really nice having something to do instead of sitting around the bus,” he said. 

We Came as Romans had an interactive set, with both vocalists continually talking to the crowd and Pavone crowd-surfing on a blow-up boat.

The Kenneths didn’t draw a huge crowd, likely because many concertgoers hadn’t heard of them before. But the three-person punk band from east London performed like it had an arena full of fans. For a band that has only been together for seven months, it had a strong English punk sound and real confidence on stage. 

Music fans crowd-surfed and screamed for their favorite bands until the sun went down, conveniently as the last bands were finishing their sets. 

Violet Perry, 19, of East Aurora, captured Warped Tour the best: “I love Warped Tour because of the atmosphere. Everyone just comes out for the love of the music and just has a great time being themselves.”


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