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Keith Johnson, Deseret News
Dan Zimmerman, lead vocalist for the band "Greeley Estates," engages the crowd during the 2008 Vans Warped Tour's stop in Salt Lake City, Utah June 28, 2008.

Everyone's favorite punk-rock summer camp made its annual stop in Salt Lake City at the Utah State Fairpark on Saturday.

The Vans Warped Tour, now in its 13th year, attracts music lovers of all ages. Thousands of pre-teens, teens and adults braved the 95-degree heat and attended the event.

But it was still a surprise when Ardean Watts, former Utah Symphony official pianist and associate conductor, was seen sitting on a bench in the shade listening to ska band Reel Big Fish cranking out the first verse and chorus of Metallica's "Enter Sandman."

"I'm just here to see what's going on," said Watts, 80, with a smile. "I didn't come with anyone. I'm just here by myself.

"But I do feel a little out of touch with some of these bands."

Still, Watts was at ground zero for new bands that are just breaking onto the scene.

On the bill was a little band called Beat Union. The four-man band from Birmingham, England, only solidified its line-up 2 1/2 years ago.

"It is a big thing to be on the Warped Tour," said the band's vocalist/guitarist Dave Warsop during an interview with the Deseret News. "We were so honored to be asked to be on the tour. "We do-it-ourselves and start and the bottom and claw our way to the top. And this is perfect opportunity to do just that."

Another overseas band on this year's tour is the Oreskaband (which means "my ska band" in Japanese). The all-female band from Osaka, Japan, played a few dates on the tour last year, but this is the first time it's been booked for the whole tour. In addition to being on Warped, the band also played at last year's South by Southwest Music and Media Festival in Austin, Texas.

So when asked what their thoughts were about hitting two major music events in the United States, the band members — guitarist Ikasu, drummer Tae-san, trombonist Leader, saxophonist Moriko, trumpeter Saki and bassist Tomi — all agreed that they were lucky to be in demand.

"When we started playing together in middle school, we didn't have any idea for any kind of goals," said Leader, during the group's interview with the Deseret News.

"But the more we started playing, the more things became available to us," said Saki.

Oreskaband has a certain affinity for Utah at the moment. They were here a few months ago filming part of an upcoming movie.

"We love Utah," said Leader. "But it is so hot."

Upon completing the Warped Tour, the band will return to Japan for a tour and then release a new CD in October, Leader said. "Then we will return to the United States in the winter for another tour."

Throughout the day, more than 90 bands played nine stages and one tent. Bands such as more straightforward rockers Maylene & the Sons of Disaster to the post hard-core blast of Alesana to the power pop of Forever the Sickest Kids filled the air with their individual styles.

Forever the Sickest Kids, from Dallas literally stepped off the plane, headed to the Fairpark for equipment set up and played.

"Yesterday we played an acoustic set in a mall in Philadelphia," said lead vocalist Jonathan Cook. "So we have jet lag."

Still, the jet lag didn't show in their quick, energetic set.

"We have to live up to what people expect from us," said guitarist/vocalist Caleb Thurman. "It's hard, but we love what we're doing."

"We're a pretty new band," said bassist/vocalist Austin Bello. "And we have to make sure we all get to do our part."

Salt Lake City has always been a good audience, said Vans Warped Tour press coordinator Bethany Watson.

"Working with United Concerts is like working with a family," Watson said during a lull between setting up press interviews. "They are on top of things. The people in Salt Lake are so nice to work with and the kids who come to the event are very well-mannered and just like having a good time."


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