Hot Acts

Geanie Silva called Fresno High School on Wednesday morning and said her 15-year-old daughter Madison had an appointment.

That appointment included getting autographs from the band Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, rockin' out to Circa Survive and getting to go on stage with metal band As I Lay Dying.

For Madison, this appointment was 100 times cooler than going to the dentist or the doctor. This was the Vans Warped Tour, which stopped in the Selland Arena parking lot on Wednesday with 86 acts on nine stages. The music started at 11 a.m. and lasted for 10 hours as thousands flocked to the annual summer rock carnival.

For school-aged kids -- who make up a big chunk of the Warped Tour fan base -- this year's tour posed a tricky question: Go to school or go rock out?

In years past, the tour came to Fresno in July. This year, because the past few Fresno shows had been so hot, the concert was pushed back to August.

While Warped organizers thought they were doing people in Fresno a favor, they ended up -- unknowingly -- creating a conflict for school-aged fans.

Classes started on Monday in the Fresno and Clovis Unified School Districts and on Aug. 15 for Central Unified. But Bad Religion, Cute is What We Aim For, Tiger Army and Chiodos were in town. What was a teen to do?

"At first I said no. But she went to summer school; she got good grades. I used it as leverage," said Geanie Silva, who took a vacation day herself. "Here we are: I skipped work; she skipped school -- us and who knows how many other people."

"About half my school," Madison said with a laugh.

Festival attendance, about 7,000, was down by a couple hundred from last year. Still, there was no shortage of acne and braces. Kids who should have been in school were there -- with various reasons.

Bryanna Boos and Oz Wilson, both 14-year-old freshman at Edison High -- arrived at Selland Arena early and were offered a chance to serve food in the tour's catering area for three hours in exchange for backstage passes. Both jumped at it.

Oz served up chicken wings and Bryanna, who had the times bands would be playing written in Sharpie on her arm, made smoothies.

"It's like my dream," Bryanna said, noting that she recognized many of the band members she was serving.

She said her parents took a little convincing, but eventually called her in sick at school.

"It's the third day," Bryanna said. "I'm not missing too much."

Maritza Guzman, a 16-year-old junior at Washington Union High School, got the OK from her parents to skip school for the tour. She's a straight-A student and a member of her school's environmental club, she said, so her parents didn't mind.

To balance out her truancy, Maritza volunteered at the Warped Eco Initiatives tent and spent time in between watching bands to pick up bottles and cans that could be recycled.

Carly Overlin, a 17-year-old senior at Sierra High School, ditched classes and volleyball practice. Consequently, she won't start in her team's game today.

Her reaction? "Buuuut, it's the Warped Tour." Her defense? It's her senior year, why not?

"Most of my friends didn't come because their parents wouldn't let them miss school or practice," she said, before running off to catch Hawthorne Heights.

Hoping to combat the feared lag in attendance because of the school conflict, ticket prices were dropped on Tuesday to $20 for anybody who arrived after 4 p.m.

Claudia Arguellas, sales and marketing director for the Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center, attributed the small decrease in attendance more to the show being on a Wednesday than to school being in session. Last year's show was on a Sunday.

"Every city can't have a weekend," said Elliot Lefko of the show's promoter, Los Angeles-based Goldenvoice. "It's just not possible.

"I don't want to encourage people to skip school," he said. "But it's only one day. And here you're going to get an education."

Some kids got education of both kinds. At 3:30 p.m., after they'd completed the day at Kastner Intermediate School, Joey Napoles and Max Freeland, both 13, walked through the Warped Tour gates with Joey's mother, Teri, accompanying them.

Joey tried to get his mom to let him skip school, but she wasn't hearing it. She also wasn't buying the excuse that it's only the third day, so it's no big deal.

"The right thing to do is go to school," Teri Napoles said. "If we ditch now, then we'll ditch for all kinds of things."