I meant to write this a month ago, but I tend to procrastinate when it comes to writing. I can find a million other things to consume my time and distract me from staring at a blank Word document. I could whip up a spreadsheet complete with fancy formulas and offer you all sorts of metrics and useful information for a set of data, but I have not ever really tapped into my “creative side.” That is not to say it doesn’t exist; I just don’t feel comfortable with it, especially when it comes to writing. All that to say, I finally got around to writing this—more than a month after Vans Warped Tour U.S. ended and just before the first Vans Warped Tour Europe show in Berlin, Germany. But while this may be late, it’s also perfect timing.
This past year marked our seventh with Warped in the U.S. We look forward to each new summer, for so many reasons. We love seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones. What we get most excited about is hearing the many incredible stories of hope, healing, and redemption, year after year. Now, we have been invited to have a full tent at all of the official Vans Warped Tour Europe shows, as well as to join some friends on a bus which will be heading to almost all of the Vans Off the Wall Music Nights (featuring Parkway Drive, We Came As Romans, Memphis May Fire, and Like Moths to Flames).
I write this after the first evening of the Vans Off the Wall Music Nights in Wurzburg, Germany. I think that, if it weren’t for tonight, I probably wouldn’t be writing this at all. During the show, I watched the majority of the crowd sing along to the lyrics in English, a language different from their own. Some of them may not have understood all or any of the words, but it didn’t matter. They felt connected and moved enough to sing, dance, and scream. For them, what the music meant and how it felt was both completely universal and individual at the same time.
I think the concept and feeling of “hope” is the same. It is the reason we receive messages from all over the world. It is the reason someone from Germany, Switzerland, the U.K., Austria, or the Netherlands might visit our pop-up tent at one of the Warped Shows. It is the reason someone might take a train ride for six hours to attend one of our free “meet-ups” outside the venue, just for the opportunity to discuss the mission of TWLOHA and ask how to provide a sense of hope in their community. I’m not 100 percent sure why, but seeing this happen and talking with the people here can make the world seem so much smaller. Home suddenly doesn’t feel 8,000 miles away.
If you’re in the area, I want to invite you to come visit our tent at one of the six Vans Warped Tour Europe shows. Or, even if you don’t have a ticket for these events, you can some see us at one of our free meet-ups before the Vans Off the Wall Music nights. Just check out the calendar for all the information. We’d love for you to meet and talk with us, check out our resources, grab an info card, or share your Fears Vs. Dreams for a photo. We’d love to explore what hope means together.