Since 1995, hundreds of thousands of metal and punk-music lovers line up each summer outside of packed amphitheaters to attend The Vans Warped Tour. Branding itself as a “punk-rock summer camp,” the traveling music festival has seen some of the biggest bands in the world, including Sublime, Paramore, Fall Out Boy and Green Day. Traveling across the country from June to August, the Warped Tour reached the end of its 24 year-long road this summer following an announcement from creator Kevin Lyman, marking the end of an era.
While fans herded into amphitheaters and packed into mosh pits under the baking summer sun to see their favorite bands for the final curtain call, the last ever Warped Tour brought an especially unforgettable experience for one USF student.
Ana Massard, a senior studying Fine Arts with a concentration in photography, spent her summer on a tour bus traveling with Warped Tour across the U.S., handling merchandise and shooting professional photos of the festival.
Since attending her first Warped Tour as a fan in 2010 with a point-and-shoot camera in hand, Massard has come a long way. Once a hobby, Massard grew a career for herself out of photography.
“I was front row for the band Bring Me the Horizon and saw all of the photographers come out before the first song and thought that was so cool and that I’d definitely want to do that when I grow up,” said Massard.
After getting straight A’s in school, her mom let her get her first professional camera.
With Warped Tour sparking Massard’s interest in music photography, she shot her first local music show for her friend’s band as a freshman at USF.
“Eventually I built up a portfolio and I started finding online blogs that needed photographers so that I could get photo passes to shoot bigger shows,” said Massard.
After getting the chance to work the biggest music event of her life thus far, her photography journey has come full circle since her first Warped Tour experience.
“Every year I always go to the Florida Warped dates with friends and take some photos, but last year I decided that I wanted to see what the other side of the tour was like,” Massard said.
Massard volunteered at the 2017 West Palm Beach Warped Tour, working at Equal Vision Record Label’s tent selling merchandise. Coincidentally, her favorite record label, Pure Noise Records was set up next to them. After talking with some of the Pure Noise staff, one of the workers took note of Massard’s photography talents and said she may be able to find her a spot on the touring staff for the following year. While Massard was excited, she took it with a grain of salt.
For the rest of the year, Massard kept Warped Tour in the back of her mind and reached out every couple of months in hopes to find an open photography position.
On April Fool’s Day, she received an offer from Pure Noise Records to tour on the last ever Warped Tour the following summer. After realizing that in fact nobody was playing an April Fool’s joke on her, Massard accepted the offer immediately.
“Even though I was only on the tour for a year it does feel like a part of me is leaving, I looked forward to the lineup and tour dates coming out every year.”
According to the Vans Warped Tour twitter, in its 24 years on the road, a staggering 11.5 million tickets were sold and over 1,000 bands performed, proving the impact the festival had on the music industry.
Initially starting as an alternative-rock festival, Warped Tour grew into one of the most successful punk-rock festivals of all time. From selling CDs for bands who were just starting out, like Blink-182 and Mayday Parade, to selling out venues across the country, bidding farewell to Warped Tour is bittersweet for so many like Massard.
Massard said she is looking ahead to where photography will take her while also reflecting on this past summer.
“Kevin Lyman and Pure Noise Records took a chance on me and I had the best summer of my life,” Massard said. “I would really like to do a European tour or a full stadium tour eventually, but I’ll take the smaller sized tours for now, it’s all about the experience.”
With 24 years of Warped Tour having wrapped up for good, Lyman hinted at a 25-year celebration next year. While the celebration won’t be the full Warped Tour lineup, fans and members of Warped Tour look forward to one more farewell, in whatever form it may come.