Warped Tour returns to rock all ages

The Vans Warped Tour has been punk-rock summer camp since 1994. Camp will be in session Sunday at Sam Houston Race Park, 7575 N. Sam Houston Pkwy West.

This year the tour continues to blend genres, booking acts from ska to electronica. The Warped Tour has been on the road every summer since 1994 and began as a hybrid of skateboarding demos and punk-rock music. The tour has since expanded its musical horizons as hip-hop, emo and metalcore have made their way on tour. Each band is allotted a random 30-minute set per day, with no band holding the "closer" honor.

Popular groups such as Against Me, Angels and Airwaves, Reel Big Fish, Story of the Year and Say Anything will headline this year. Gym Class Heroes and scene-rapper MC Chris will be carrying the hip-hop flag on tour, once held by Eminem and The Black Eyed Peas.

Tour organizers know the crowds get younger every year and cater to that with Cobra Starship, Forever The Sickest Kids and Relient K. Punk is still prevalent on the tour, with The Bronx, Horrorpops, The Lordz and the Street Dogs ready to fuel the mosh pit.

Paramore missed out on last year’s Houston date but is expected to draw a huge crowd, as will emerging bands such as The Academy Is…, Jack’s Mannequin and From First to Last. If you’re looking for something different, the reggae-inspired Bedouin Soundclash, Hellcat Records’ The Aggrolites and the dance-rock of The Secret Handshake are your best bet. Female singer-songwriters Katy Perry and Charlotte Sometimes will make their Warped debuts and hope to gain new fan bases.

Advice for first-time Warped Tour attendees: get there early and drink a lot of water. The first show kicks off at 12 p.m. but gates open at 11 a.m. Check the bulletin board to see when and where your band is playing. Also, check the various booths for signings and free stuff.

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