News Column

Warped Tour beats the heat in Orlando

July 29, 2013

YellowBrix

July 29--Music wasn't the only thing in the air at the Vans Warped Tour on Sunday at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.

In a break with the music festival's tradition of unbearably hot weather, pleasant breezes occasionally wafted across the shadeless fields that hosted roughly 90 alternative music acts on nine outdoor stages.

Not that there weren't opportunities for gratuitous sweating by a crowd that organizers estimated at between 13,000 and 15,000, enough music fans to create a massive morning traffic jam from the Orange Blossom Trail to the fairgrounds on West Colonial Drive.

"It's hot, but that comes with being at Warped Tour," said Emily Drolet, 18 of Sumterville, an hour's drive from Orlando. She found shade under an ice company truck as she waited for autographs from Tonight Alive, a favorite band.

"I love finding new bands and giving them a chance," she said. "This is where they start."

One of this year's emerging acts is Beebs and Her Money Makers, a horn-powered Orlando group that melds funk, ska and rock music into a theatrical show built on comic-book super heroes.

The band's afternoon homecoming was powered by kazoo-tooting, colorful costumes, a dancing hot dog and confetti showers blown off course by wind gusts. "It feels so good to be back home," lead singer Michelle Beebs said in the opening moments. "You have no idea."

The bands weren't the only ones with wardrobe.

Chris Izquierdo, 19 of Miramar, spent much of the day posing for pictures in a stars-and-stripes body suit that earned him the nickname Captain America. Perhaps only at Warped Tour would he meet a trio of music fans from Sydney, Australia, accessorized with capes of Australian flags.

"Everyone gets to express themselves," Izquierdo said. "This is not only about patriotism, but it's about fun. It's a festival of music and enjoyment."

The assessment wasn't quite as euphoric from a merchant on the midway, where booths offered everything from band T-shirts to condoms and information about causes such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

"The people come, but they don't want to spend money," said vendor Khassim Mbaye, 40 of Los Angeles, at his table of Bob Marley lighters ($10) and bracelets adorned with peace signs ($5).

Or maybe he wasn't selling the right thing.

"It's awesome," said Shane Worthington, 22, one of the flag-clad Aussies, "but there's not enough beer."

jcabbott@tribune.com or 407-420-6213

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(c)2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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