“I couldn’t wait for the summer and the warped tour…” Mark Hoppus’ words were the first thing that popped into mind when it was announced that the annual Vans Warped Tour would be coming to an end in 2018.
“I have been a very lucky person to have traveled across the country and sometimes around the world as one of the founders and producers of the Vans Warped Tour,” said founder Kevin Lyman in a statement. “Today with many mixed feelings, I am here to announce that the last full cross-country run will take place in 2018.”
Acting as a mecca for the punk scene since 1995, the Warped Tour featured bands from across the punk spectrum, and even featured some hip-hop artists such as Eminem, Jurassic 5 and The Black Eyed Peas. For many years, Warped Tour was one of the most important events in music, but I’d be lying if I said that were still the case today.
In an interview with Billboard, Lyman noted that several factors, such as a shrinking pool of bands, declining ticket sales among teens, and competition with other summer music festivals were behind his reasoning to bring the tour to an end after 24 years.
In it’s hey day, Warped Tour featured headliners such as Pennywise, NOFX and Bad Religion while cultivating then up-and-comers such as Blink-182, Paramore, My Chemical Romance, Dropkick Murphys, No Doubt, Sublime, Long Beach Dub Allstars and many other bands that have gone on to find success in and out of the mainstream.
Sublime’s first big tour following the break-out success of “Date Rape” was Warped Tour’s first year in 1995 with most of Sublime’s live-show documented in video by Josh Fischel that was later celebrated in Sublimes documentary Stories, Tales, Lies & Exaggerations. No Doubt also performed during that first 1995 Warped Tour and Brad Nowell would come out to sing with No Doubt on the song “Total Hate,” that he was featured on. ‘Dub Allstars would perform for the festival 5 years later and even Pepper got their start from touring the Warped Tour having to set up and tear down the Volcom stage in the early 2000’s.
As the rock scene has dwindled over the years, Lyman, like many other festival producers, found it difficult to find new talent with breakout potential in the scene. Who is the next Pennywise? The next A Day To Remember? The next Gogol Bordello? As the next generation has flocked to the Hip-Hop and EDM scenes, those questions have become more difficult to answer.
Warped Tour not only served as a community for fans, but also as a support system for bands to support each other to reach a new audience. Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz once said, “We all get under the Warped umbrella to keep the community strong.”
Howi Spangler of Ballyhoo! was a part of the 2012 and 2016 Warped Tour and says of his experience, “Definitely the most brutal tours we’ve ever done.” When asked how the tour affected Ballyhoo!, Spangler said, “We sold so many copies of ‘Daydreams’ that first summer. A big chunk of our fanbase came from those shows.” Ballyhoo, like many bands, found that being a part of Warped Tour was a major milestone in their careers. “We are grateful to have been a part of music festival history” says Spangler. “Nobody does it like Kevin Lyman!”
It’s rare that a festival can bring together so many different factions of the same scene. From hardcore punk and ska in the late 90s to the emo/pop-punk & hip hop crowd of the early 2000s, Warped Tour featured a virtual all-star lineup that everyone could enjoy.
Although it’s tough to say goodbye, warped name might not be gone for long. In his interview with Billboard, Lyman teased the idea of organizing a celebration of Warped’s 25th year in 2019. 2018 may mark the end of the tour, but for fans, the music will live on forever. From bootleg cassettes, to cd’s, mp3s and memories of live performances from the pit, the music and the memories from Warped Tour will always remain.
Live: No Doubt – Total Hate (Warped Tour 1995)