Jorge Rodrigo Herrera performs with his band The Casualties at Warped Tour 2006 in Uniondale, New York.

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How Warped Tour led the consumerist music festival revolution

The iconic festival was as much about brands as it was about bands.

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Most of what I remember about being 14 involves wanting stuff: I wanted straighter hair. I wanted to seem like a grown-up (or at least like a 16-year-old). And I really, really wanted to go to Warped Tour.

It was the summer of 2004, and pop-punk was ascendant. In Canada, where I grew up, this meant listening to a steady stream of Sum 41, Avril Lavigne, Simple Plan, and Billy Talent — all homegrown acts that got regular radio play thanks in part to Canadian content laws . With that as our gateway, my friends and I began our foray into skate-punk lite, memorizing Taking Back Sunday lyrics, trying (poorly) to land an ollie , and developing extremely unrequited crushes on any boy who bore a passing resemblance to Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge.

To us, Warped Tour — the traveling “misfit summer camp” that merged punk, ska, rock, and emo with extreme sports and a healthy array of corporate sponsors — was the pinnacle of cool. Unfortunately, I never got to attend, on account of being at actual summer camp.

This summer, Warped Tour celebrates its 25th birthday, making it far older than the teenagers it has courted for two and a half decades. Last year was the tour’s final cross-country run — it featured hundreds of bands over the course of 38 stops for which nearly 550,000 tickets were sold, but this impressive turnout was buoyed by the announcement that it was the event’s last hurrah. Attendance the prior year, in 2017, had been down significantly, particularly among the 14- to 17-year-old demographic that had historically been Warped’s lifeblood. The audience was getting older, production costs were rising, and bands weren’t sticking around year after year like they used to. Plus, according to founder and producer Kevin Lyman, he was just getting tired.

But in the era of reboots and remakes , it’s not surprising that organizers would want to honor the tour’s silver anniversary just one year after it shut down. The result is a three-city affair: a single-day event in Cleveland celebrating the opening of a retrospective exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and weekend shows in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Mountain View, California. While not strictly a nostalgia play — there are up-and-coming bands booked alongside veterans, and plenty of fans are first-time Warped attendees — this year, the average age of concertgoers appears to be more than a decade older than it was at the tour’s height (15 or 16, as of 2006 ), and plenty of the once-wayward youth now have kids of their own in tow, keeping them a safe distance from the mosh pit.

vans warped tour history

This is how, on a Saturday in late June, I find myself on a crowded Jersey beach sandwiched between Caesars Casino and the Atlantic Ocean, belting out Simple Plan’s “I’m Just a Kid” with nearly 30,000 other people — many of whom, like me, were in fact kids when the song came out in 2002. High school may be a distant memory, but at least now I’ve finally made it to Warped Tour.

”Oh, my god, I am 12 years old again,” says the sunburnt guy in checkerboard Vans beside me as the crowd whines along with singer Pierre Bouvier: “Nobody cares, ’cause I’m alone and the world is having more fun than me tonight.”

The lyrics don’t exactly fit the setting — no one here is alone and everyone seems to be having fun — but the feeling’s still there. For a little while, we’re all our angsty teen selves again. Likewise, there’s a twinge of irony when Good Charlotte tear into their breakout single “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” a middle finger to celebrity culture written long before Joel and Benji Madden (the band’s lead singer and guitarist) married Hollywood it-girls (Nicole Richie and Cameron Diaz, respectively).

Warped Tour itself is a contradiction — it’s a punk rock festival that’s also a prodigious marketing machine, sponsored from top to bottom by brands hoping to win over fans in between shows. This isn’t a knock on the tour, really: if it weren’t able to bridge that gap, it probably wouldn’t exist.

The idea for Warped began germinating while Kevin Lyman was working as a stage manager for the alt-rock-focused Lollapalooza in the early ’90s — back when that, too, was a touring festival. He had been immersed in SoCal’s hardcore and ska scenes growing up and wanted to bring some of his favorite bands to audiences around the country with a back-to-basics tour that did away with the music industry’s hierarchies and out-of-control egos: no headliners, no arenas — just a few thousand fans in a parking lot and an average ticket price of less than $30.

Even for the biggest acts, that DIY spirit shone through. “You feel more like a carnie on Warped Tour than you do on any other tour or at any other festival,” says Adam Lazzara, the lead singer of Taking Back Sunday, who are currently in the midst of a 20th-anniversary tour , “just because you’re literally there setting up and breaking down into the next town.” Lyman also tapped a handful of pro skateboarders and BMX bikers to come along, recognizing the crossover between extreme sports fans and punk rock’s moshing masses, as well as the fact that both subcultures were becoming increasingly mainstream.

vans warped tour history

In 1995, the same year Warped made its debut run in the summer, ESPN aired the inaugural X Games (then called “Extreme Games”), with athletes competing in action sports such as barefoot water skiing, street luge, and skateboarding. The year prior, the Offspring and Green Day — both bands with roots in California’s underground punk scene — released best-selling albums that catapulted them into popular culture.

The time was ripe for something like Warped to exist, though in order to get it off the ground, Lyman needed to buck one of the central tenets of punk and get a few executives to break out their checkbooks. “I grew up with that whole ‘eff corporate America’ mentality,” he says. “And then, for me, I just started looking at corporate America, and no matter how punk rock we were or whatever, we were still supporting it in some way. We were buying their brands; we were using their products.” He looked at the Rolling Stones pulling in millions through sponsorships with Jovan fragrance and Budweiser, and thought: Maybe we can get some money too.

It didn’t go seamlessly at first. After the 1995 run — which featured an eclectic lineup that included the ska-reggae band Sublime, a Tragic Kingdom -era No Doubt, and the grunge pioneers L7 — the tour was in dire straits financially, as the small sponsorships Lyman had landed from brands like Converse and Spin weren’t enough to cover the significant production costs. To keep it going, he was desperate enough to consider brokering a deal with the decidedly not-punk Calvin Klein to become the title sponsor. “I don’t really think that would have worked,” he now says, matter-of-factly.

Fortuitously, the meeting with the fashion brand was delayed by the devastating East Coast blizzard of 1996, and before they could go any further with the arrangements, Lyman got a call from Vans CEO Walter Schoenfeld.

This skate ramp from Warped Tour 2003 has Vans branding, of course, but also Monster Energy, PlayStation, Subway, and Kraft EasyMac.

Founded in 1966 as the Van Doren Rubber Company, Vans had engendered strong ties to the skateboarding community, which was loyal to the brand’s sneakers thanks to their grippy soles. The $300,000 check the company wrote turned the Warped Tour into the Vans Warped Tour, giving Lyman some financial runway while securing the festival’s ties to corporate America. (At the time, Vans was owned by the venture banking firm McCown De Leeuw & Co., thanks to a $71 million 1988 leveraged buyout .)

The Warped partnership was led by Steven Van Doren, the company’s vice president of events and promotions and the son of Vans founder Paul Van Doren, who saw an opportunity to give the brand national exposure beyond the Sun Belt states that at the time accounted for most of its sales. He also introduced amateur skateboarding competitions to the tour, giving contestants the chance to win pro contracts with Vans. “Having Steve involved really solidified our partnership,” says Lyman, noting that he turned down bigger subsequent sponsorship offers from the shoe brand Airwalk because he felt Vans was in it for the long haul.

He was right: By 1999, Spin reported at the time, Vans owned a 15 percent stake in Warped and was paying $1 million per year “to strengthen [its] presence with ‘Generation Y’” (or, as we’d call them today, “millennials”). Two years later, it stepped up its investment, paying $5.2 million for a 70 percent controlling stake, according to Forbes .

Today, Vans is a $3 billion brand — current parent company VF Corp bought it for $396 million in 2004 — and a household name for most Americans, including those who have never set foot on a skateboard. Even as it has grown well beyond its fringier roots, though, the brand’s relationship with Warped has endured, and at the 25th-anniversary show, seemingly every other fan is wearing Vans sneakers: Sk8-Hi’s , Old Skools , the ubiquitous checkerboard slip-ons .

(Airwalk fizzled by the early 2000s and was reborn as a Payless brand; its current owners — the same company that recently acquired Sports Illustrated — are trying to stage a ’90s-nostalgia-fueled comeback .)

Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 at Warped Tour in 1999. The band wore then-new surf label Hurley on stage to defray tour costs.

Even with the Vans investment, Lyman had to hustle to keep the tour afloat in the early years. “We had to raise nearly $4 million in sponsorships to make the ticket price what it was, to give you the show you wanted, to bring all those side stages that developed young artists,” he says.

In 1999, he signed a partnership with the brand new surf label Hurley and got up-and-comers Blink-182 — then still a year out from the explosively popular Enema of the State — to wear the brand’s clothes onstage in exchange for free seats on one of the Warped Tour’s buses, since the band couldn’t yet afford their own transportation. It was a turning point for both band and brand: Blink had just replaced its former drummer with Travis Barker, who’s still with the group today, and Hurley’s founder Bob Hurley had left a successful career with Billabong to start his namesake clothing line earlier that year. Four years later, Blink was selling out arenas and topping Billboard charts, and Hurley had grown into a $70 million business, which Nike acquired in 2002 .

It wasn’t just hormone-addled fans going through an adolescence of sorts at Warped. “I always said Warped was a developmental spot, not only for bands but for crew people to learn how to tour and learn how to be good citizens in the music community, as well as brands,” says Lyman. “A lot of brands got their starts in those parking lots.”

One of those was Monster Energy, which has been a tour sponsor since it launched in 2003, back when it was made by a California soda company called Hansen’s Natural Co. The company set up a portable rock wall, became “the official energy drink of the Vans Warped Tour,” and embarked on a wildly successful rebrand that has seen its stock soar more than 72,000 percent since its public debut that same year. According to Lyman, Monster also came up with the idea of “Tour Water” — specially designed cans of water that make it look like bands and crew members are chugging energy drinks all day onstage without the risk of cardiac arrest; the concept is now an industry standard, and cans from early tours go for more than $75 on eBay .

Another was Jeffree Star Cosmetics. Before Star was a beauty mogul, he was a MySpace-famous scene kid who performed on the tour as a solo artist in 2008 and 2009. In the following years, he came back to host meet-and-greets with his YouTube fans and, when he launched his makeup empire in 2014, set up shop among the merch tents.

The Warped Tour also forced more corporate brands to loosen up a little: After the PlayStation team showed up in uniform polo shirts their first year on the tour, Lyman told them they’d have to change, citing a life motto of his: “Never trust a person in a golf shirt unless you’re at a golf course.” (They’re either a douchebag or they don’t know what they’re talking about, he says.)

Warped Tour’s “reverse daycare” for parents, as seen here in 2003, was sponsored by Target; its bullseye logo, though now its name, appeared on the tent.

When the tour created a “reverse day care” for parents on-site in 2001 — complete with air conditioning and noise-canceling headphones — Lyman convinced Target to put its bull’s-eye logo on top, sans brand name, citing the symbol’s history with ’70s mod bands like the Who and the Jam. He even dug out the Ramones’ tour rider to persuade the makers of Yoo-hoo that the chocolate drink was, in fact, kinda punk rock, and by the 1998 tour, fans were climbing a rock wall shaped like a giant Yoo-hoo bottle and competing for branded skateboard decks .

Walking around the grounds in Atlantic City, there’s a near-endless array of stuff to buy at Warped this year: limited-edition Vans, commemorative 25th anniversary bracelets, T-shirts reading “Mall Goth Trash” and “SadBoy Crew,” henna tattoos, water bottles, skate decks, and beer koozies (plus $14 Pacifico). There are also plenty of freebies: branded coupon wristbands from the teen retailer Journeys, which has been the tour’s presenting sponsor since 2014; T-shirts from Truth, the anti-smoking organization; stickers from PETA.

Among the panoply of shoppable teenage rebellion are booths with a cause, like Hope for the Day , a suicide prevention organization, and A Voice for the Innocent , a nonprofit that offers resources to survivors of rape and sexual abuse, which was brought on board in the wake of a series of sexual assault and harassment allegations involving artists who had performed on the tour.

”The Warped Tour is really interesting because it jumped early on the idea that crowds could be commodified,” says Gina Arnold, a former rock journalist and the author of Half a Million Strong: Crowds and Power from Woodstock to Coachella . “They were able to widen out the notion of the festival as a marketplace — not so much of ideas, but a marketplace of actual things.”

Today, the concept of festival-as-shopping-mall is well established — so much so that this year’s Coachella attendees could have Amazon orders delivered same-day to lockers on site — but in the ’90s, it was still a novel idea. Before then, it was all “bad food and band T-shirts,” as Arnold put it. (The exception: the parking lot of any Grateful Dead concert, long a thriving marketplace of tie-dye tees , beaded jewelry, DIY taco stands, and any drug you might fancy, collectively known as Shakedown Street .)

Lots and lots of stuff — from brands, bands, and nonprofits — is available at the Warped Tour booths.

Band T-shirts still make up the bulk of the merch at Warped, just as they do at most concerts these days. As album sales have dropped off a cliff and services like Spotify have taken their place, paying a fraction of a penny per stream, merchandise has become an increasingly essential part of artists’ income. A superstar like Taylor Swift or Kanye West can gross $300,000 to $400,000 in merch during a single show, according to a Billboard interview with licensing exec Dell Furano. Warped artists aren’t coming close to that, but especially at the tour’s peak, they were pulling in a good amount of cash.

Taking Back Sunday made a reported $20,000 to $30,000 per show on merch on the 2004 tour; My Chemical Romance set the record the next year, selling $60,000 worth of black T-shirts, sinister-looking posters, and fingerless gloves at a single stop. 2005 was also the only year Warped made money on ticket sales, according to Lyman. Headliners Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance were regulars on MTV’s TRL thanks to crossover hits “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” and “Helena.” Teens who hadn’t heard of most of the “authentic” punk bands the tour had booked in prior years were turning out in droves. By the end of the 48 dates, 700,000 fans had bought tickets, and the tour grossed an all-time high of $25 million .

”That was a pretty wild year, with all the bands exploding,” says Lisa Johnson, who’s been photographing Warped Tour since its first run. “I’m not gonna lie, it was a little frustrating in the photo pit because it was so jam-packed. And a little dangerous, because there were so many kids coming over the barricade constantly. But at the same time, how fantastic is that?”

Of course, not everyone agreed. From its inception, Warped provoked criticism from punk purists who argued — not without reason — that the corporate-sponsored festival was antithetical to the values of the genre. It also ruffled feathers with the bands it booked, particularly as the rise of “mall punk” and emo put bands like Good Charlotte, Blink-182, and My Chemical Romance alongside punk mainstays like Rancid, Pennywise, and Bad Religion.

Dropkick Murphys at Warped Tour 2005, the most successful iteration of the festival.

”You go to the Warped Tour and walk around and you’ll hear 100 bands that try to sound like Green Day or NOFX. It’s just disgusting,” said Mike Avilez, a vocalist for the California punk band Oppressed Logic, in the book Gimme Something Better: The Profound, Progressive, and Occasionally Pointless History of Bay Area Punk from Dead Kennedys to Green Day . “They’re missing the angst. To me, punk rock is supposed to be angry and pissed off.”

The tour has also caught flak from within over the years. In a 2004 Chicago Reader piece , “Punk Is Dead! Long Live Punk!” the music critic Jessica Hopper chronicled a clash between Lyman and a band called the Mean Reds: “It was only the sixth day of the tour, and they were already on ‘probation’ for running their mouths onstage about what a sold-out capitalist-pig enterprise Warped is, how it isn’t really punk, et cetera.”

Even Adweek, hardly a voice of the counterculture, said in 2005 that the influx of corporate cash “does somewhat undermine the legitimacy of the event, even as it introduces groups of men in tight pants to new audiences.”

Among those who’ve been along for the ride since Warped’s early days, though, ambivalence about the scene’s brushes with the mainstream is tempered by ideas both idealistic — that the tour provided a platform to bands that otherwise might not have made it, and a community for kids who didn’t always fit in elsewhere — and practical.

”There’s always going to be critics,” says Shira Yevin, who’s performed at Warped as Shiragirl since 2004, and for a decade produced a stage at the tour dedicated to promoting women-fronted bands. “But they’re the same ones bitching because they only got paid $100 for the gig and they don’t have enough money to get to the next state, you know?”

In 2019, the idea of “selling out” seems like a product of an earlier generation — one without climate change or student loans or school gun violence to worry about. And anyway, the purists may be getting their way for now, since even pop punk isn’t popular these days. Instead, the top 40 charts are ruled by Lil Nas X’s boundary-pushing country trap, genre-fluid acts like Billie Eilish , and mumble rappers like Post Malone. The loud, fast, guitar-driven sound that Warped is known for? “In top 40, it’s very rare,” says Nate Sloan, a musicologist and the co-host of Vox’s Switched on Pop podcast . “Even the bands that sort of assert that look and that style and may throw a guitar around their shoulder, the actual sound doesn’t necessarily have that.”

vans warped tour history

On the second day of the Atlantic City shows, in one of the festival’s seemingly endless meet-and-greet lines, I meet 20-year-old Sam and 14-year-old Tori, friends from Philadelphia who made the trip down for their first Warped Tour. Sam has rainbow hair and rainbow gauges in her ears; Tori’s wearing a Set It Off band tee. They met at the Hot Topic where Sam works, a store that itself has transformed from mall-goth central into a haven for geek fashion .

”I basically live there,” says Tori.

”We vibed about the music we listen to,” says Sam.

”I don’t really have any other friends that listen to this kind of stuff,” explains Tori. “I almost kind of get made fun of, because it’s like, ‘Oh, emo music, what do you do, cry all day?’”

At Sam’s high school, most guys listened to trap or rap, while “angsty music” was mostly the domain of girls or “the guys who had a bad upbringing.”

”It was just divided,” she adds. “Like the way the country is right now.”

While genres may separate fans into factions in high school, Sloan says they’re not necessarily as diametrically opposed as they seem. “A lot of the sensibility of rock ’n’ roll has gone into the sound of SoundCloud rap and mumble rap,” he says. “This genre is sort of the spiritual heir to a lot of the acts that first kicked off the original Warped Tour. Sonically, it feels like a world apart in a lot of ways, but in terms of the intense emotional affect, it’s very clearly picking up the mantle.”

Part of the transformation may be technological. “Maybe 20, 30 years ago, if you were an angsty teenager, the easiest way to express yourself would have been by installing yourself and your friends in the garage with a couple of crappy guitars and a battered drum set,” says Sloan. “Today, the easiest way to express your angst would be through a pirated copy of [the music software] FruityLoops and a USB microphone.” This evolution may also help explain why punk’s communal, anti-commercial spirit seems to have fallen out of favor while themes like alienation and disaffection (which Gen Z artists like Eilish mine extensively) have endured.

Shifting musical tastes are just one factor contributing to Warped’s decline. Most people I talked to had similar theories about what’s behind the drop-off in teen attendance: It’s not just that today’s rock bands can’t compete with the colossal forces of hip-hop and pop; they’re also up against YouTube, Netflix, TikTok , esports, and social media, all of which are pouring billions into the race for young people’s attention. Plus, parents are warier about sending their kids to live shows because of tragedies like the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas and the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England .

vans warped tour history

Lamenting the changing habits of teenagers has always been an adults’ game, though. For the current generation of fans and artists, the end of the tour is, inevitably, the beginning of whatever comes next. Not Ur Girlfrenz was the youngest touring act at Warped last year, and now at ages 13 (bassist Gigi Haynes) and 14 (lead singer and guitarist Liv Haynes and drummer Maren Alford), the trio is on the cusp of what was once the festival’s prime demographic. They also just released their first EP, the title track of which, “New Kids in America,” riffs off the Kim Wilde hit with bouncy pop-punk energy and lyrics like, “When did the trend of no one ever having fun / Spread throughout the land infecting everyone?”

Still, they’re more optimistic about the future of the kind of music they play. “Kids our age these days just aren’t really exposed to it anymore. It’s not exactly like they just don’t like it. They’re just not exposed to it,” says Maren. She’ll introduce her friends to a new band or tell them to stay and watch whoever Not Ur Girlfrenz has opened for, “And they’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is my new favorite band!’”

Plus, with early-aughts nostalgia already trending heavily among Gen Z (so much so that this year’s VidCon — a conference for online video creators and their mostly teenage fans — featured a meeting room decked out in Lizzie McGuire posters and blow-up furniture), a musical comeback seems timely. “You hear the 1975 bringing back the ’80s sounds, so I think now’s the time to bring back the 2000s,” reasons Liv.

At their Sunday set, it’s easy to see why they’re hoping for another Warped Tour next year — even if Lyman insists that, for real this time, this is the last. Fans are yelling their names and singing their lyrics back at them from the crowd.

”I did the whole thing where, you know, someone points at you and you look behind you and then you’re like, ‘Oh, wait, it’s me!’” Liv says with a laugh.

At a signing at their merch tent after the set, the screaming starts again. “We were like, ‘Is somebody famous here? Oh, my god, is it Blink-182?’” recalls Gigi.

”Yeah, we saw this huge group of people,” says Maren, “and we were like, ‘Ooh, someone important is giving a signing. I wonder who it is.’”

”Nah, it was just us. Psh ,” Gigi sighs.

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How 23 Years of Warped Tour Changed America

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vans warped tour history

After almost a quarter of a century, and having showcased upwards of 1700 bands, Warped Tour as we know it will come to an end when summer 2018 does. For the most mainstream of Americans who never attended, the tour always looked like an outlier -- a noisy summertime day out for the same kids that shopped at Hot Topic, wore too much eyeliner, and learned HTML by editing their MySpace profiles. Truthfully though, Warped Tour's impact on mainstream pop culture was enormous.

vans warped tour history

Warped Tour started out scrappy. It was 1995, pop punk was just starting to explode out of the underground -- thanks to Green Day's major label debut, Dookie -- and founder Kevin Lyman , having spent three years working on the Lollapalooza tour, recognized a gap in the festival market. That first Warped was 25 dates -- a breeze for bands and crews who later got used to the jaunt going on for twice as long. No one could foresee back then just how big -- or long-running -- this juggernaut would become.

While Warped's biggest impact has been taking underground culture and smearing it across America in broad daylight every summer, what is so often forgotten is that this was also the venue used by the likes of Katy Perry and Eminem to launch their careers to wider audiences. It's where Sonny Moore started out (in a band named From First to Last ) before he metamorphosed into EDM megastar, Skrillex . It's where No Doubt spent their summer the year before they exploded on a global scale.

vans warped tour history

Dominic Davi , Oakland-based bassist of  Tsunami Bomb , has been attending Warped since 1995 and playing it since 2001. "It's so easy to forget now," he says, "but when it started, and for a long time into it, the bands Warped Tour was assembling did not get played on the radio. They were not featured on festival lineups. Kevin Lyman helped shine a light onto all these bands that were drawing various amounts on their own, but together could fill a festival. That took a lot of vision."

"In the end," Davi continues, "Warped launched all these careers and was directly responsible for the punk rock explosion that happened in the early 2000s. That's quite a feat."

Warped Tour, especially in its earliest years, acted this way, year upon year, launching artists out of obscurity and into the eyeline of the mainstream. Blink 182, a band that was long considered too crude and provocative for mainstream success, appeared on three out of the four Warpeds between 1996 and 1999. It's no coincidence that by 2000, they were one of the biggest bands in the country.

Not only did Warped change how punk rock was treated by mainstream music culture, it had an indelible impact on the lives of the thousands of people who lived and worked on the tour over the years, some of whom came back annually, without fail. Along the way, it also helped to further unify a nationwide community of punks, rebels, and renegades.

Dominic Davi compares spending a summer on the tour to "running away with the circus." Photographer Lisa Johnson , whose work documenting Warped Tour has been featured on the covers of several official compilations, as well as in the book, Misfit Summer Camp: 20 Years on the Road With Vans , elaborates: "Warped Tour is a place where seemingly anything is possible. Utopia. Hard work and happiness, plus some fun in the sun. There is just always something magic in the air."

vans warped tour history

The unique spirit of Warped is precisely why hundreds of people have stepped up, year after year, to work in unbearably high temperatures, notoriously dusty environs, facing parking lot after parking lot with few views of the outside world (unless you count the occasional midnight trip to Wal-Mart) for weeks on end.

It's difficult to fathom why anybody would want to spend an entire summer in those conditions -- until you actually do it. In 2006, I joined Warped Tour for five days to write a story for a British rock magazine. Somehow, five days turned into seven weeks. I skipped my flight home to sell merch for one of the bands I had met along the way, and had zero regrets about hitting 'pause' on the rest of my life to do so.

For thousands of us, Warped has always been that way -- once you get caught in its vortex, it's hard to extricate yourself from it. "It's this huge production," Davi says, "with so many moving parts. It's hard work. You are moving all day. I think you have to be a particular personality to love that life. I always did."

The video below that Lisa Johnson took at a backstage party in 2014, effectively sums up the hilarity, unified chaos, and good-natured anarchy of Warped Tour (and also why the nightly after-show barbecues have become the stuff of legend). Take into account that the people you see in this clip are the people working the tour -- crew members, band members, merch people, stage hands. Work days may be long and conditions may sometimes be hard, but on the best nights, this is what happens once the ticket-buying public leaves:

There's no doubting that in recent years Warped Tour has, to some degree at least, lost its niche, while also weathering some damaging storms. "In many ways," Davi notes, "I think when the bands on the tour became bands that the radio and MTV embraced, it became harder to preserve that core exclusivity and unique feeling that Warped Tour had. At first it made the tour bigger, but having to chase the trends and adapt to bands with more exposure, I think made it more difficult to make the tour a special experience. By trying to please everyone they had a harder time pleasing anyone."

The summer tour's time might be drawing to a close, but Warped promises to live on in other capacities: there will be some sort of 25th anniversary celebration, and the first Warped Rewind at Sea cruise just happened last month. More than that though, the tour leaves behind a legacy. It impacted a couple of generations of punk, emo and hardcore bands, as well as their fans. Warped brought a newfound acceptance of alternative culture to all corners of the country. It was a confidence builder for teens who felt alienated in their suburban high schools; it was a training camp for small bands, and a springboard for larger ones; and, for a long while there, it fundamentally changed the fabric of alternative music in America.

vans warped tour history

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TIMELINE: A brief history of the Vans Warped Tour

As the tour comes to a close, reflecting on its history serves as a reminder of the legacy that it leaves behind. On Aug. 5 in Tampa, the sun will set on one of the largest, most diverse, and long-running festivals of all-time. The end of an era is truly marked by the final Cross Country Vans Warped Tour. Here is a brief history of the Vans Warped Tour:

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Miles Shellshear is a pop culture enthusiast with an interest in social media, film, television and music. In his spare time, he enjoys collecting vinyl records, taking photographs and attending concerts.

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vans warped tour history

2018 Vans Warped Tour®, Presented by Journeys® Celebrates Its History and Heart In Brand New Retrospective Video

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Watch it now, here:

Early Bird Tickets & Super Fan Bundles On Sale Now

Line Up To Be Announced on Thursday, March 1 st

General Admission Tickets On Sale Starting Thursday, March 8 th

LOS ANGELES (Feb 26, 2018) – Following the announcement that 2018 would be its final cross-country run, the Vans Warped Tour extended family has released a retrospective video in celebrating the history and heart of the iconic tour. Fans can watch the video, which features founder Kevin Lyman , Vans VP of events and promotion Steve Van Doren , Fletcher Dragge (Pennywise), Silverstein , and more, here:

On the upcoming shows, Lyman has shared: “ I truly am happy to get the chance to travel around the country one more time to thank you for your support, and bring you another best day ever. ”

I have spent half of my adult life traveling alongside Kevin on the tour, connecting with bands and fans around the world,” Steve Van Doren recalls. “

Bringing music and action sports to youth for over two decades has been a personal honor and I’m excited to hit the road on the last cross-country tour.”

Early Bird Tickets for the 2018 Vans Warped Tour , presented by Journeys, have gone on sale starting today at . Super Fan Bundles are also available and offer fans exclusive merchandise, including a limited edition poster, collector ticket laminate, and custom Vans Warped Tour Authentics.

As a bonus for early ticket buyers, the first 500 tickets sold for each show will be at the lowest price available and will include a digital download of the Official Vans Warped Tour 50-song compilation.

The line up for the 2018 Vans Warped Tour, presented by Journeys, will be announced this Thursday, March 1 st . General admission tickets will be available starting Thursday, March 8 th .

It was previously shared that this would be the final cross-country run for the tour, now in its 24 th year. On the upcoming shows, founder Kevin Lyman has shared: “ I truly am happy to get the chance to travel around the country one more time to thank you for your support, and bring you another best day ever. ”

The Vans Warped Tour is the largest traveling music festival in the United States, and the longest-running touring music festival in North America. Originally conceived by founder Kevin Lyman in 1995 as an eclectic alternative rock festival, with a focus on punk rock, over the years the tour has grown to include a multitude of genres, including metal, hip hop, reggae, pop and more. It remains one of the best tours to attend to discover emerging acts, to learn more about wonderful non-profits and companies who are working to make a positive impact on the world that surround them, and to meet like-minded friends.

Over the past two decades, Vans Warped Tour has built a legacy as the must attend summer festival for rock and music lovers alike. Since its start in 1995 it has provided a platform for established as well as up-and-coming artists, with past performers including blink182, No Doubt, Sublime, Beck, Katy Perry, NOFX, Limp Bizkit, Black Eyed Peas, Green Day, Eminem, Yellowcard , Bad Religion , and countless others.

In addition, the tour continues to host a wide array of amazing non-profits and educational workshops for attendees and 2018 will be launching The Preventum Initiative , focusing on youth and adolescent opioid prevention. Teens With a Purpose, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), Donate Life New England, Planned Parenthood, Keep A Breast, Testicular Cancer Foundation, To Write Love on Her Arms, and Project HEAL will all be involved this summer, just to name a few. Fans can see their favorite bands as well as become educated on these causes and how they can help.

” I am very excited about the upcoming year. With it being the last tour, the non-profit presence will be as big as ever. Groups who have been out in the past will be coming out in more markets, and hopefully we will attract new non-profits ,” comments Sierra Lyman . “ With more non-profits coming out there will be more options for our audience to hopefully get involved before, during, and after the tour. I am hoping that this last year encourages non-profits to partner with bands and for bands to partner with non-profits on their own events and tours once this summer is over. ”

Early Bird Tickets and Super Fan Bundles for this year’s tour on are sale starting now and can be purchased at

The 38-date tour, promoted by Live Nation, will commence June 21st in Pomona, CA and end on August 5th in West Palm, FL.










7.03 ST. LOUIS, MO




























8.04 TAMPA, FL


About Vans Warped Tour:

The Vans Warped Tour, presented by Journeys, is well known as America’s longest running touring music festival of the summer. Since 1995, the tour has been a showcase for both established and up and coming talent, across a wide range of eclectic sub-genres.

The tour has also cemented its place in history by bringing alternative rock and skate culture from the underground to the forefront of global youth culture, while at the same time helping those in need through non-profit and eco initiatives.

Alternative Press readers voted the Vans Warped Tour as the “Best Tour/Festival” and Rolling Stone called it “America’s Most Successful Festival”. 

Learn more about the Vans Warped Tour:

Follow the Vans Warped Tour:

About Live Nation Entertainment

Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) is the world’s leading live entertainment company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, and Live Nation Media & Sponsorship. For additional information, visit .


VANS WARPED TOUR                                                             

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R.I.P. Warped Tour. At Least We Still Have Vans.

The skater company says goodbye to the music festival that made it cool.

vans warped tour history

By Medea Giordano

The Vans Warped Tour — the music festival that has crossed the country each year since 1995, and is frequently called a “punk rock summer camp” — is on its last run.

For 24 years, the Warped Tour created spaces for metal, punk and ska fans to meet their idols and mosh together under the hot sun: Each summer, about 70 bands and artists would play in some 40 locations, welcoming hundreds of thousands of tattooed concertgoers clad in band tees and Vans checkered slip-ons. Many musical acts that helped define the late 1990s and early 2000s graced Warped Tour’s stages, including Blink-182, Reel Big Fish and Eminem .

But recently, the show’s popularity has declined, among both bands and attendees. Some music festivals are bigger than ever — Coachella drew more than 200,000 people to the California desert for two days in April — but the Warped Tour doesn’t have the same cultural cache it once had.

“The die-hard Warped fan was still coming, but the ones for the future seemed to drop off,” said the festival’s founder and longtime producer Kevin Lyman in an email.

He said there is the possibility for other Warped Tour events down the line — including for the 25th anniversary next summer — but 2018 will be the final cross-country blowout. “I’ve done everything I can in this format,” he said. “I’m just tired. It’s time for someone else to continue or start something new.”

The final tour not only marks the end of an era in music, but of a particularly intimate brand collaboration. Vans has sponsored the Warped Tour since its second year and credits the festival with burnishing its countercultural image.

“Until we got involved with the Warped Tour, we didn’t have a national footprint to talk about who we are,” said Doug Palladini, the skate apparel company’s global brand president. “Vans is a brand that really embraces individuality, and Warped Tour is very much the same.”

Vans representatives said that the Warped Tour — which the company has a 75 percent stake in — isn’t ending because of a decline in ticket sales, and that its retirement shouldn’t be seen as divestment in music or skater culture. House of Vans, an indoor skate park and music venue with locations in Brooklyn, Chicago and London, and pop-ups around the world, will continue to host famous musicians and local, unsigned performers, and admission is free.

But the collaboration between Vans and the Warped Tour has run its course.

“We’re going to make this a part of Vans history and always hold it up as a really, really important part of who we are,” Mr. Palladini said. “It’s just the right time to put a bow on it and say thank you to all the bands and all the fans that made Warped Tour was it is.”

“One Big Family”

Vans was already synonymous with southern California skateboard culture in the 1990s when the Warped Tour started, thanks to the sneakers’ sticky soles. (They have good grip.) But the tour’s national popularity helped establish Vans as a punk brand, and that image has made the company incredibly appealing, especially to shoppers ages 16 to 34 .

In 2004, when Vans was acquired by VF Corporation — which owns JanSport, Timberland and the North Face — it was making about $325 million in sales a year. This year, Mr. Palladini said, Vans is on track to surpass $3 billion.

The first Vans store, which was known at the time as the Van Doren Rubber Company and opened its doors in Anaheim, Calif., in March 1966, was a much humbler affair. It was founded by Paul and Jim Van Doren, brothers who would take custom orders and manufacture shoes on site. Eventually the shoes’ waffle soles attracted skateboarders, and in 1976, Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta — pro-skaters who were immortalized by Victor Rasuk and John Robinson in the 2005 film “Lords of Dogtown” — designed the Era , a low-top sneaker that became a Vans classic.

There were other moments in which Vans shoes were in the countercultural spotlight, including a 1982 cameo courtesy of Sean Penn’s Jeff Spicoli character in the movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High .” But the company’s punk identity wasn’t forged until Mr. Lyman met Steve Van Doren.

A former Lollapalooza stage manager, Mr. Lyman had put together the first Warped Tour in 1995, with bands like Sublime and No Doubt on the original lineup. But he needed financial support to keep it going and was seeking sponsorship.

Steve Van Doren, the son of the Vans co-founder Paul Van Doren, was on a different mission. Separately, he was searching for someone to help him plan an amateur skate contest that would tour across the U.S. and the world. He met with Mr. Lyman, who said Vans would draw more people to skate events if live music were on the lineup.

In “Vans: Off the Wall,” a book about the company, Mr. Van Doren said that a deal was forged between the two men within 15 minutes of their meeting. Thus, the Vans Warped Tour was born.

“ Steve Van Doren. He always got it and was the driving force early in this relationship,” Mr. Lyman said. “After our first year with Vans, Airwalk approached me and offered a bunch of money to leave and go with them. I said hell no, and it was all because of Steve. Steve Van Doren continues to be the soul of Vans in my mind.”

“The Vans Warped Tour is one big family,” Mr. Van Doren said in an interview. He recalled his first summer, in which he drove from stop to stop on the tour in a van with his daughter. Though he opted to take the relatively cushy bus after that, he said he went to every Warped Tour show for 15 years.

The People’s Music Festival

Today’s popular music festivals often charge a steep price for big-name performers. A three-day general admission pass to Coachella, for example, can run $500, or close to $1,000 for a V.I.P. ticket. The Warped Tour, by comparison, costs about $45, and there is no hierarchy to the ticketing system. Even the bigger bands are never given special treatment, Mr. Van Doren said. The whole point is accessibility: There are no extra fees to meet artists, and fans can visit bands at their tents or run into them in the crowd during another performance.

“When you monetize a handshake, it changes the whole relationship,” Mr. Lyman said.

The Warped founder guessed that, of all the tour’s performers, Andrew W.K. probably spent the most time with fans. He would “sign for six hours and then go outside and sign some more. I would have to ask him to move since we needed to load the trucks to get to the next city,” Mr. Lyman said.

“Warped is a festival for the music and for the organizations that travel with it,” said Victoria Hudgins, a 23-year-old Warped Tour fan who has attended twice before. “I feel as though the younger crowd these days are more interested in putting their picture from Coachella on Instagram than they are actually going to and enjoying the festival itself. You don’t go to Warped for an Instagram picture, you go to Warped to be a part of something so big and so crazy.”

Ms. Hudgins had planned to buy tickets for two stops on the Warped Tour this summer — one in her home state of Michigan and the tour’s final show in Florida — before she got the opportunity to work on the tour full-time. (She is working for Support Tattoos and Piercings at Work, which sets up a tent at each city the tour visits, after volunteering for the organization last year.)

“To me this is going to be a summer where I feel like I’m going to fit in everywhere I am,” she said. “This is going to be a summer meeting an entire country of people. I can be a part of something so much bigger than just myself.”

Loyalty, Loyalty, Loyalty

While the Warped Tour has declined in popularity, Vans has become a global phenomenon. Between 2010 and 2014, it saw double-digit growth every year, and in 2017, the company surpassed the North Face as the VF Corporation’s top-selling brand. The shoes are just as visible in high fashion as they are in the skate park, and they have gotten musical shout-outs from young artists like Travis Mills and Ty Dolla $ign . (In 2011, the actress Kristen Stewart literally cemented the shoes into pop culture history when she wore a pair to her Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony .)

“All of a sudden, everywhere I looked, it was Vans,” said Samantha Brown , a stylist and video director who has worked with Nylon magazine, Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta. “They kind of make everything look cooler.”

But just as the Warped Tour kept its ticket prices down out of loyalty to its fan base — and even let parents in for free — Vans has no plans to charge more for their increasingly popular apparel. (Shoes run from about $60 to $100.) The company’s prevailing wisdom, Mr. Palladini said, is around inclusivity. “And a part of inclusivity is accessible price points.”

For Steve Van Doren, who is now the vice president of events and promotions, it’s important that the company not forget its roots. “Skaters in the mid ’70s adopted us, and I thank them still four decades later because they gave us meaning,” he said. “They gave us purpose.”

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Vans’ Warped Tour: a history

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Van’s Warped Tour is a music festival that brings over 600,000 kids across the country a lineup of 100 rock bands. Today, the tour attracts thousands of music loving fans, but in 1995 Kevin Lyman created Warped Tour for a very different reason.

Kevin Lyman started his career

Escape the Fate plays at the 2009 Warped Tour (photo courtesy of Spellbound Photography)

in music while in college. For his university, he booked performances featuring upcoming bands. After graduating, Lyman continued pursuing his music career by working as a production manager under the up-and-coming music promoter Goldenvoice. Still, Lyman wished to promote bands on a larger scale. Pairing his love of music and skateboarding, Lyman envisioned a skateboarding competition accompanied by live music. The first ever Warped Tour took place in 1995 when Vans, a skateboarding company, sponsored the tour.

The music genres played at Warped has progressed over the years. Originally Ska and skate punk was played, including bands such as No Doubt and Sublime. The genres played progressed into punk rock and metal core. By the early 2000’s, Warped became centered on pop rock and post-hardcore bands that it features today. This year a few of the bands included in the band lineup is Saosin, Bayside, Nevershoutnever, and A Day to Remember.

From June to August, the Warped Tour travels across the country, from coast to coast. In 1998, Warped Tour went international, playing at venues in Australia, Japan, and throughout Europe. Almost every day of the summer, The Warped Tour is set up in empty lot, or a large stadium. Scattered across the designated area are five stages. Smaller stages are reserved for up and coming bands, while the larger stages are performed on by well known bands. Many times

throughout the day, bands are playing at the same time. Those who attend the concert pick and choose the bands they wish to see.

The Warped Tour may center on music, however the tour is also a social event. Along with the stages, tents are raised throughout the lot. Clothing companies, band merchandise, and charities all set up displays. Bands that are just starting out follow the tour hoping to attract new fans. A skateboard ramp is set up in the center of the grounds, where anyone can skate.

Although warped tour only takes place one day in a local community, it has become a traditional summer event throughout the world.

  • Warped Tour

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Setlist History: Warped Tour 1995

  • Setlist History
  • Last updated: 3 Aug 2018, 17:58:35
  • Published: 3 Aug 2018, 17:58:35
  • Written by: Erica Lauren
  • Photography by: Jeff Kravitz
  • Categories: Festivals Setlist History Tagged:

As we say farewell to the full, traveling stretch of the Vans Warped Tour, we're flashing back to the roots of 'punk rock summer camp.' The Warped Tour, which was first created in 1995 by Kevin Lyman, ran for 26 dates, kicking-off on August 4th at the Idaho Center in Boise, Idaho, and wrapping up a few months later on September 6th in Irvine, California. It wasn't until the following year, in the summer of 1996, that the tour gained a Vans sponsorship, adding their name to be the Vans Warped Tour.

The very first alternative rock filled lineup included bands like Quicksand, L7, Sublime, Deftones, No Use for a Name, Face to Face, Sick of it All, No Doubt, Guttermouth, Swinging Udders, and more. The music festival also featured pro-skaters, boarders and bikers, with a half pipe and street course for the sports. You'd be hard pressed to find this at this summer's final run of the tour. Check out the flyer for the first ever Warped Tour below:

vans warped tour history

Check out some setlists from 1995's Vans Warped Tour:

vans warped tour history

Watch No Doubt perform at the first Warped Tour, in this fan-shot video:

The current and final traveling Vans Warped Tour will conclude Sunday, August 5th at West Palm Beach, Florida's Coral Sky Amphitheatre. For ticket info to the final 3 shows remaining in Florida, visit the fest's official website here .

To view live photos from festivals and concerts, follow on Instagram and Twitter .

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vans warped tour history

Final Warped Tour has history with Ventura, band Twiztid

vans warped tour history

In 1982, Sean Penn made an indelible impression of smoke on the water when he portrayed Jeff Spicoli, the stoner finhead in that hilarious teen flick, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” He was the dude wearing those cool shoes — a pair of checkered Vans with no socks. Those same shoes ended up on the cover of the movie soundtrack album.

Expanding their market well beyond those idle youth smoking their lunch, Vans went on to sell a gazillion pairs of checkered shoes and evidently made so much money that they could afford to sponsor Kevin Lyman’s brainchild for a punk rock extravaganza, the Warped Tour . It started in 1995 but it ends this year. Vans is doing fine. These days they have outlets in malls from sea to whining sea — but, check it out — Spicoli’s shoes of choice sure ain’t 10 bucks anymore.

MORE: Vans Warped Tour coming back to Ventura

Anyway, the Warped Tour has made 15 stops at the Ventura County Fairgrounds beginning in 2000, and after missing the last few years , the last Warped wingding in the 805 will be happening on Sunday, . It’ll be so loud that all the smart fish will skedaddle beyond the Channel Islands. Otherwise, Flipper, Willy, Moby Dick and Nemo would explode like marine depth charges. How could they not?

There will be close to 50 bands playing on numerous stages all run with the efficiency of German army Capricorns. Rock City Studios in Camarillo will be running the No Cover Stage which will feature a bunch of local bands; also, pretty much every band and a bunch of labels will have booths in a thinly veiled attempt to sell some product. There used to be a lot more free stuff. There no doubt will be some of that this year, but sunburns are always free, and those lobster people staggering around the beer garden around 6 o’clock are always fun to watch.

And not just here just to rock and run, Warped is partnering with the appropriate partners for a voluntary clean-up of the Ventura River mouth, just a block or so away from the festival. That’s happening the day after Warped on Monday. After the developers forever wreck the Santa Clara River, the Ventura River will be the last free-flowing river in SoCal.

The old school punk bands, once the foundation of the early versions of the festival, are basically absent, but this party ender is well stocked with pop-punk bands, ska bands, and some hip-hop and metal bands – a lot of the bands you’ll read about in Alternative Press. Some of this year’s featured performers will include Reel Big Fish, 30H!3, Twiztid, Mayday Parade, The Maine, All Time Low, Simple Plan — and talk about timing and location — Taking Back Sunday is also playing. 

Then there’s Twiztid, a hip-hop and metal band out of Michigan with more than 20 years of experience and a double-digit discography. Fronted by Jamie Spaniolo and Paul Methric performing as Jamie Madrox and Monoxide, these two are scary enough to frighten all those TV zombies or at least the vast majority of parental units. They’ll be doing their horrorcore rap thing with some rock `n’ roll in there, but thankfully, zero soulful ballads. Jamie’s interview went a lot like this…

So what’s the latest with you wonderful guys – also, 20 years of this? Who knew?

Yeah, right? Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

How do you think your music has changed over the years? Things have certainly changed since your 1997 debut, “Mostasteless.”

I feel that with every release or performance or anything that we are blessed to be able to do, we get better. We get better. Every time we get to go on tour, we get better; then we do another record and we get better. It’s a trial and error thing – such is life. We’re learning how to integrate things we enjoy as well. At first, it was very cut and dried, but we were always trying to integrate our flavor of rap and rock, and through technology, things have changed a bit. You can obviously do things now that you couldn’t do back then. I grew up on Motley Crüe and KISS, Ratt, Cinderella and all that, so I have that urge to rock as well, while Monoxide is very rap-oriented. If you put us together in a blender, it’s like peanut butter and chocolate; we go really good together.

I would assume that you guys had certain expectations when you started this crazy adventure – score some free beer and meet some drunk girls or whatever. So has it turned out like you thought it would be or is it a whole other thing?

To be honest with you, the first thing we wanted to be was heard. We really, really wanted to be heard. There’s something to be said about recording music that’ll fall on deaf ears…or a beautiful painting that blind people will never see. So we wanted to be heard. We wanted an audience, and as that blossomed, we realized how important music is to so many other people. I think that’s the driving force to keep it ever growing. 

What was your big break or have you had it yet?

I don’t necessarily know that I’d like to call things big breaks. I like to think that life is full of many, many opportunities, and I think we’ve been blessed with a lot of really great opportunities along our path so far, but do I think any of them have been make or break? I don’t know, but are we at the point where we can just sit back and put our feet up? No, and I don’t even know who that person is. We’re definitely not to that level yet, and I don’t think that we’ll ever get complacent like that. Gene (Simmons) and Paul (Stanley) from KISS are great examples. And what I mean by that is, no matter how old they are, they still have that great work drive. They’re constantly doing something. I love that work ethic. You’re never too old to live your dream. I appreciate that and respect that greatly. Being able to live your dream forever? What’s greater than that?

When it comes to parent-scaring , who might terrify the geezers the most? You guys, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Slipknot…or?

I would probably say – and this is a total opinion – I would say that would be based on who has the most media coverage because parents have a tendency to point the finger at the scapegoat, but if they don’t know who the scapegoat is, they can’t point a finger. Back in the day, everybody made it a big deal to burn Elvis records because he was shaking his hips and he was clearly the devil, then the boys from Liverpool were devils.

Then it was Marilyn Manson for a while…

It was. It really was. The poor guy was catching a lot of crap but at the end of the day, he was one of the most intelligent people when he was asked, “What would you have said to those kids at Columbine?” and he said, “I wouldn’t have said anything. I would’ve listened to them,” which was something no one took the time to do, and it was pure genius.

One of the memorial moments from Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine.”

Absolutely. After everyone was pointing their fingers at him and after his knowledgeable response, hopefully, some people would realize that maybe he wasn’t the problem after all.

Who goes to see Twiztid? Is there a certain recurring demographic of too much testosterone or what?

I think we have that little sweet niche that Phish and the Grateful Dead had, you get a demographic of like 14,15 or 16 to 30, and then they grow up and have a family, and then they bring the wife and kids and then they all relive it again, and those kids are 16 to 30, so it’s repeat, repeat, repeat, which is cool because people have legitimately believed the term “family.” It’s not just a slogan on a T-shirt. Families have actually grown up to our music, and I am honored by that.

Is going too far no longer possible? Are there still things that you cannot say?

Yeah, of course, but what the problem is that people think the best way to address an issue is through Twitter, Facebook and social media, which gives everyone as a soapbox in which to have an opinion. In some cases, that’s a great thing, and in other cases, that’s a horrible thing because you have people who don’t have a filter or don’t know how to structure a sentence or they’ll say things in the heat of the moment, and now it goes out to millions of people who will see your tweet, your post, your blog or whatever. So I do think it is possible to maybe go too far. I don’t know though because we’ve already gone so damn far. 

Years ago I saw Insane Clown Posse and what I remember most about that show was that they were selling shirts for $132 dollars. They were like, bowling shirts, yet I was thinking, “Maybe they only have to sell one…” Anyway, your shirts are a bit more affordable, yes?

That’s true. For the records, what you probably saw was hockey jerseys; also a lot of bands still do it to this day. We try to make our jerseys as close to the stuff that the NFL has, but T-shirts and all that? They’re very affordable. We try to keep our stuff across the board in line with everyone else’s prices. We don’t want to gouge anybody.

You guys are from Michigan, so would Michael Moore wear a Twiztid shirt? I realize that’s a loaded question…

Would he wear one? I don’t know. I don’t know if he’d wear one. At any given time, depending on what current rant he’s on – I’d have to make sure he hasn’t crossed any lines – but I’ve watched a few of his films and enjoyed them. If he’d wear a shirt – heck, yeah, Michael Moore.

Tell me about the last Warped Tour. What’s it gonna be like? Will it be another new low?

It’s going to be something that’s going to be very big to us. It’s a big step for us. We did one or two dates way, way back in the day, and it was a very strange setting. But this one is like a bright new horizon for us and we’re excited about it. This is an opportunity for us to do what we do for more people who don’t really know who we are or what we do. I know we’ll have our core fans and families come out and represent. And props to those people, because, obviously, those are the ones we do it for because word of mouth is pretty much how we’ve survived thus far. So Warped will be a great platform to showcase what we do to people – half of whom know us and half of them don’t know us – and that’s great. That’s what it’s all about.

Jamie, thanks for calling at the appointed time. It was fun talking to you, and I look forward to seeing you wonderful guys in Ventura.

Absolutely. Thanks for your time as well. Have a great evening…

Bill Locey can be reached at [email protected].

What:  Vans Warped Tour

Where:   Ventura County Fairgrounds, 10 W. Harbor Blvd., Ventura 

When: 11 a.m., Sunday June 24

Locey's picks

If I had a faster car, a richer girlfriend or even one with a job, here’s where I’ll be lurking in the back this week:

Tiger Army at Theatre @Ace in Los Angeles (June 22 + 23)

John Zipperer at Stagecoach Museum in Newbury Park (June 22)

Mark Masson at Herzog Wine Cellars in Ventura (June 22)

Teresa Russell & Stephen Geyer at Boatyard Café in Ventura (June 22)

Preston Smith at Winchesters in Ventura (June 22)

Hell Toupees, Robot Uprising at Sans Souci in Ventura (June 22)

Billy Watson at Hong Kong Inn in Ventura (June 22)

Los Lobos at Libbey Bowl in Ojai (June 22)

The Alpine Camp at Deer Lodge in Meiners Oaks (June 22)

Arroyo Seco Weekend in Pasadena (June 23 + 24)

Steel Pulse at Discovery Ventura (June 23)

Dark Star Orchestra at Libbey Bowl (June 23)

Father John Misty at Hollywood Bowl (June 24)

Steve Poltz at McCabe’s in Santa Monica (June 24)

William Shatner at Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks (June 24)

Amber & Smoke at Deer Lodge (June 24)

Bluesday at Copa Cubana in Ventura (June 26)

Frank Barajas at Pirates in Oxnard (June 27)

Everclear at the Fonda in Hollywood (June 28)

The Untold Truth Of Vans Warped Tour

Bert McCracken holding a mic stand

From 1995 to 2019, Vans Warped Tour became the mecca of alternative music. Fans would flock to the traveling festival to see their favorite artists and to discover the next big thing, while musicians would know a spot on this coveted tour could elevate their career. After all, there's no disputing the impact it had in the ascension of the careers of groundbreaking acts like Paramore, My Chemical Romance , and Fall Out Boy .

Founded by Kevin Lyman, Vans Warped Tour is widely associated with the punk rock movement and a strong ethos of the do-it-yourself attitude, being seen as the everyday person's music event. However, in the later years, controversy engulfed the tour. From scene politics to giving a platform to disgraced musicians, there were accusations that it was no longer the same place it was in the beginning. For some, it simply didn't feel like home anymore. As a result, there were mixed feelings when Lyman announced the tour would officially call it a day after its 25-year celebration.

Regardless of the sentiment toward the Vans Warped Tour, no one can deny the importance it played in the music scene throughout its run. It outlasted many of its peers and inspired others to start their own events, too. With that said, let's take a look back at the untold truth of Vans Warped Tour and if it is due to make a comeback.

The founder cut his teeth on Lollapalooza

Anyone who has worked on the live side of the music industry understands it is a demanding and grueling job. Not only is there the physical aspect of setting up the equipment and ensuring everything is in working order before the doors open, but there is also the marketing element and understanding of how to deal with unexpected issues that may arise on the day. Think of it like organizing a big birthday bash, but times the difficulty level by 100.

Kevin Lyman was no rookie when he decided to start his own tour, since he had already spent time working as a stage manager at another famous music festival. "Before Warped I was on three years of Lollapalooza, so [it's been] 26 straight summers out on the road," he told Billboard .

Having experience, Lyman also understood that he needed significant sponsorship to make this dream tour a reality. As revealed by Vans Vice President Steve Van Doren, Lyman approached the sneaker manufacturer for finance, and Vans saw it as a mutually beneficial opportunity to expand its reach throughout North America.

Vans Warped Tour gave a lot of people second chances

When applying for jobs, background checks have become the norm. However, that hasn't stopped people from being prejudiced against for having a criminal or substance abuse history, as research has shown, per Criminology . There's a stigma that sticks with people long afterward and makes it exponentially more difficult for them to find work and rebuild their lives.

Speaking to Loudwire , Kevin Lyman discussed the importance of affording people second chances, explaining how it is something deeply personal to him and his value system. "The majority of my early Warped Tour crew guys all had to spend a little time in jail for stupid decisions," Lyman said. "A lot of them were selling meth or whatever and did their time, and I gave them their second chance. And that built a loyalty, giving a second chance to people."

It is also one of the main reasons Lyman became involved in other organizations and philanthropy projects, such as MusiCares and FEND, which address addiction. He believes a large portion of society is still reluctant to allow others back into the community after they have shown remorse and tried to make amends, so he wanted to do his part in inspiring change.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Why the schedule for the Vans Warped Tour changed daily

Vans Warped Tour would take the acts across the country, performing sweaty day-long sets in numerous cities and states. There were even groups of fans who would follow the tour and try to attend as many shows as possible. To keep the shows fresh and unpredictable, the tour's organizer switched up the order of the lineup on a daily basis.

In an interview with Forbes , Kevin Lyman brought up his past as a stage manager for Lollapalooza and how this influenced his decision with Warped Tour's schedule. He explained how he would notice the same acts performed at the same time every day, and the predictability reflected in the audience attendance, as a majority of the people would only show up when it was time for the headliner to go on stage.

"So I said, if I ever get to do this, I'm going to mix it up," Lyman said. "It just spurred in my mind what I thought I'd do. I'll write the schedule each day. It keeps people engaged — you never knew who you were playing before or after, or what time you were playing. It keeps everyone on their toes." The unpredictability encouraged the audience to hang out for the whole day since they never knew who would be playing and when, while it excited the bands too. As Every Time I Die's ex-vocalist Keith Buckley explained, no one knew when they would be hitting the stage, which provided an element of surprise.

How the BBQ Band concept came to be

With all those bands on the road for Vans Warped Tour, there were bound to be a lot of hungry stomachs after a show. However, the tour figured out a way of solving this problem while also giving a group a unique opportunity every year. In return for working the grill after every show, a musical act would be given a spot on the tour's lineup. Hence the birth of what became known as the "BBQ band."

Kevin Lyman revealed to Vice where the initial idea stemmed from. He explained how punk rockers Lagwagon had their own barbeque after a show, but only bands with laminate passes sourced from Lagwagon themselves could get any. Lyman thought that every group deserved access to this and that it shouldn't be limited to the friends of the band, so he came up with a plan where a single act would be responsible for the barbeque at every stop for everyone.

Explaining what the group would get in return, Lyman said, "Yeah, they get a full set, they sell merchandise, they sell albums, and I pay 'em some money on top."

The time when Deftones set a Porta-Potty on fire

If there isn't an element of danger involved, can it really be considered rock 'n' roll? While no one decided to put their head inside a tiger's mouth or challenge a bear to an exploding barbed wire death match, other outlandish shenanigans took place throughout Vans Warped Tour's history.

Alternative Press interviewed numerous people who participated in the tour, and the stories ranged from a golf cart being wrecked to Sublime's trusty dog biting people. However, it was Kevin Lyman who recollected one of the wildest tour tales.

Lyman explained how he intended to take a few days off in 1997 after the birth of his child, but when he stepped off the plane, he was alerted to the chaos taking place in his absence. "It turned into the 'Lord of the Flies' out there," he said. "Deftones got fireworks and set a portable toilet on fire. My production manager's quick decision was to take the Porta-Potty on a forklift and push it into the river. The city's mayor had been running on this 'clean up the river' platform, and that was on the front page of the newspaper the next morning."

The presence of the controversial anti-abortion clinic

The spirit of punk rock is built on progressive values and fighting against oppressive systems. As a result, many non-profit organizations set up tents to promote their causes at Vans Warped Tour throughout its 25-year run; however, there was one that raised more than a few eyebrows. In 2016, the anti-abortion organization known as Rock for Life became a part of the tour, and it drew ire from many attendees and online commentators. The next year, Rock for Life returned to Warped Tour, again reigniting the debate about the presence of a pro-life organization there.

Speaking to Spin , Kevin Lyman explained how Rock for Life's values didn't necessarily align with his pro-choice stance, but that he included various other NPOs on Warped Tour with differing ideologies so that debate and conversation could take place between people.

He said: "I go to the booth, and I see people talk to them. They're really promoting adoption, and other things besides abortion. I'm adopted. I'm not supporting them, but they can have the spot. They're not hassling people."

13,000 people signed a petition to stop a musician from playing, but he did

In late 2014, disturbing accusations surfaced regarding Jake McElfresh, aka Front Porch Step. According to the allegations, McElfresh had sent inappropriate messages and images to minors. Considering Front Porch Step had performed at the 2014 Vans Warped Tour and was relatively well known within the music scene, the news spread fast and wide among the community.

Over 13,000 individuals signed a petition to not allow Front Porch Step to play at Vans Warped Tour again. However, in 2015, McElfresh was confirmed to appear on the tour. This resulted in backlash from fans and other musicians, who couldn't believe Front Porch Step had been allowed this platform — especially considering how many young fans attended Warped Tour and the harrowing nature of the allegations.

Speaking to Alternative Press , Kevin Lyman stated that McElfresh had not been formally charged with any crime and his appearance was part of a rehabilitation program, based upon discussions with his counselor. In a later 2018 interview , Lyman expressed regret at allowing Front Porch Step to have performed at the 2015 Vans Warped Tour.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

The accusation of being a boys' club for the most part

The Vans Warped Tour faced accusations of being a boys' club from certain sections, with  The New York Times citing how only seven percent of the bands listed for the 2018 edition featured female members. Although the tour had shown improvement in its numbers and given more opportunity to women over the years, especially as headliners, there was no disputing that the acts on display were predominantly male throughout the years. Coupled with this was the prevalence of a bro culture that boasted bad behavior. 

The publication spoke to several women and nonbinary artists to get their perspectives of the tour. Each person had their own unique experience, with some stating they hadn't seen misogynistic behavior, while others expressed opposite views.

Five Iron Frenzy's Leanor Ortega Till, for example, explained how there was a need to be cautious with tour buses as an example. "One of the bands we went out with had a little inflatable pool," Till said. "They'd get in their underwear and go out there and hang out. And I knew what they were up to, which was get girls into their underwear to hang out, too."

Kevin Lyman said 2017's Vans Warped Tour was a bad one financially

When Kevin Lyman announced the end of Vans Warped Tour, there was a lot of debate about the real reasons for doing so among fans. One of them was that the tour had stopped making money. However, Lyman dispelled this notion in an interview with "All Punked Up" podcast, revealing that Warped Tour made money — except for one year.

"I had one bad year: 2017," Lyman said. "It was one of those years where everything goes wrong that could possibly go wrong, went wrong in 2017."

While Lyman didn't delve into exactly what his challenges were, the initial announcement of the lineup for the Vans Warped Tour 2017 wasn't warmly received by the fans. There were notable acts such as Anti-Flag, Andy Black, Gwar, and Hawthorne Heights on the bill, but the audience felt it didn't have the star power of the previous year's edition, which had featured the likes of Good Charlotte and New Found Glory. Undoubtedly, the lack of excitement for the artists might have factored into the decision for many fans to give it a skip that year.

The one thing that the Warped Tour never managed to do

From Katy Perry to My Chemical Romance and Blink-182, there was no shortage of world-renowned musicians who performed at Vans Warped Tour. Considering the traveling festival ran for a quarter of a century, there can't be much that it failed to achieve in this time. However, for Kevin Lyman, there is something he wanted to do that he never managed to. When asked by Outburn what that is, he replied: "Have a Ramones reunion."

The seminal New York punk band called it a day in 1996 — a year after the formation of Vans Warped Tour. At that early stage, it might have been difficult for Lyman to attract a band of that caliber to the tour — plus, it would have been mighty costly, since the Ramones were bona fide legends and wouldn't come at a discount price.

Unfortunately, by the time Warped Tour had become a force to be reckoned with in the early 2000s and could probably afford the Blitzkrieg Boppers, most of the members of the Ramones had already died . 

Scene politics contributed to its demise

Music brings people together, but the community also has the potential to divide like no other. Much like with any other fandom on Planet Earth — just ask "Star Wars" fans — there is a lot of politics, elitism, and people disliking each other for random reasons. Heck, even the bands themselves partake in this peculiar behavior, with social media feuds becoming equally the most hilarious and sad things to witness online.

Appearing on Kerrang's "Inside Track" podcast, Kevin Lyman opened up about how scene politics contributed to the demise of Vans Warped Tour. The promoter explained how he would reach out to various groups that he found talented and would offer them a slot on the tour; however, they would spurn his advances, citing how they didn't want to perform alongside X band or be seen as a "Warped-esque" band. They either had preconceived negative notions about other acts on the tour or didn't want to be bracketed with the type of genre artists the tour attracted.

Lyman didn't understand the logic, as most bands wouldn't even know the others and acted based on impressions rather than facts. Plus, he considered this a self-limiting behavior that impacted a band's ability to grow their fanbase and reach different audiences. Consequently, Lyman started to feel a disconnect from the community and the very reason he started the tour in the first place.

Fronzilla wants to bring back the tour

Since Vans Warped Tour hit the stop button in 2019, a massive gap has been left open in the music festival scene. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic did no favors to live music, and many have pondered if the return of Warped Tour could help bring back the crowds in droves. Appearing on "No Jumper" in 2020, Attila frontman Chris Fronzak explained what Warped Tour meant to bands. "It's not glamorous, but it's an opportunity for bands to play in front of a huge audience that they wouldn't normally have," he said.

Fronzak added that Kevin Lyman offered to sell him Warped Tour in the past, but Fronzak didn't have the funds at the time to strike a deal. When that changed, the musician reached out to Lyman again in 2020.

"He explained to me that for legal reasons, which I can't go into depth, Warped Tour can't come back for at least another three years or so," Fronzak said, "but after that I'm happy to re-open conversation, and hopefully I'm the one that brings it back because I have a really good plan for how to make it sustainable and make Warped Tour even bigger than it's ever been."

vans warped tour history

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All 25 Warped Tour Lineups, Ranked

Ranker Music

Warped Tour is one of the biggest names in the concert canon. Those who haven't gone want to and those who have gone wait for the day they can go again. For a majority of its run, it was the largest traveling music festival in the United States. A number of past Warped Tour lineups have been impressive, but which year was the best? Help decide below! 

Starting as an eclectic alternative rock festival in 1995 and gradually morphing into a punk rock festival by the next year, the tour gained momentum when Vans, the wildly popular shoe manufacturer, was signed on as the tour's main sponsor in 1996. As Warped Tour became increasingly popular with each passing year, more sponsors signed on, slowly growing the tour's scope of influence. Sadly, 2018 proved to be the final year of the famous tour as announced by Warped Tour's founder, Kevin Lyman. 

You'll find every Warped Tour lineup here! Vote below on the best Warped Tour lineups, keeping in mind factors like the bands performing, production value, and overall spectacle. If you're an avid concert-goer, you can also check out this list of the best Coachella lineups ! (Disclaimer - some years certain dates had slightly different lineups). 

Warped Tour 2005

Warped Tour 2005

Notable Peformers: My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Thrice, Billy Idol, The All-American Rejects, Bowling for Soup, Dropkick Murphys, Hawthorne Heights

Dates: June 18 to August 14

Warped Tour 2004

Warped Tour 2004

Notable Performers: NOFX, My Chemical Romance, The Used, Fall Out Boy, Billy Talent, Yellowcard, Motion City Soundtrack, New Found Glory, Good Charlotte, Anti-Flag, Bowling for Soup 

Dates:  June 25 to August 19

Warped Tour 1998

Warped Tour 1998

Notable Performers:  Bad Religion, Godsmack, Rancid, Less Than Jake, Blink-182, Beck (some dates), Unwritten Law, Reverend Horton Heat, Incubus 

Date:  July 4 to August 9

Warped Tour 1997

Warped Tour 1997

Notable Performers:  Blink-182, Reel Big Fish, Descendants, Less Than Jake, Sugar Ray, Pennywise, Social Distortion, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones 

Dates:  July 2 to August 5

Warped Tour 2000

Warped Tour 2000

Notable Performers:  Weezer, Flogging Molly, Green Day, Anti-Flag, No Doubt, Papa Roach, The Muffs, Suicide Machines, NOFX, Good Riddance

Dates: June 23 to August 6

Warped Tour 2001

Warped Tour 2001

Notable Performers:  Pennywise, New Found Glory, Dropkick Murphys, The Vandals, Sum 41, Rancid, Less Than Jake, The All-American Rejects, Good Charlotte 

Dates:  June 29 to August 12

Warped Tour 1999

Warped Tour 1999

Notable Performers: Cypress Hill, Blink-182, Dropkick Murphys, Pennywise, Black Eyed Peas, Suicidal Tendencies, Less Than Jake, Bouncing Souls

Dates:  June 25 to July 31

Warped Tour 1995

Warped Tour 1995

Notable Performers:  Sublime, No Doubt, Quicksand, Fluf, Deftones, No Use for a Name, Supernova, CIV, Deftones

Dates: August 4 to September 5

Warped Tour 2011

Warped Tour 2011

Notable Performers:  Paramore, Jack's Mannequin, Bowling for Soup, Relient K, MC Lars, Less Than Jake, Anti-Flag, Simple Plan 

Dates:  June 24 to August 14

Warped Tour 2007

Warped Tour 2007

Notable Performers:  Bad Religion, Pennywise, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Killswitch Engage, Yellowcard, Ambelin, Flogging Molly, Hawthorne Heights

Dates:  June 28 to August 25

Warped Tour 2002

Warped Tour 2002

Notable Performers: New Found Glory, Simple Plan, Flogging Molly, Anti-Flag, Reel Big Fish, Yellowcard, Goldfinger, NOFX, Jimmy Eat World, Bad Religion, Good Charlotte

Dates:  June 21 to August 18

Warped Tour 2006

Warped Tour 2006

Notable Performers: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts,   Less Than Jake, The Academy Is..., Anti-Flag, Billy Talent, Motion City Soundtrack, Paramore, Rise Against, NOFX

Dates:  June 15 to August 13

Warped Tour 2018

Warped Tour 2018

Notable Performers:  Korn, Prophets of Rage, Limp Bizkit, Reel Big Fish, Pennywise, All Time Low, Taking Back Sunday, We The Kings

Dates:  June 21 to August 5

Warped Tour 2008

Warped Tour 2008

Notable Performers:  Katy Perry, Amberlin, Jack's Mannequin, Angels and Airwaves, Reel Big Fish, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Broadway Calls, The Devil Wears Prada 

Dates:  June 20 to August 17

Warped Tour 1996

Warped Tour 1996

Notable Performers:  Fishbone, Pennywise, CIV, Rocket From The Crypt, Dance Hall Crashers, Down By Law, The Figgs, Guttermouth, Blink-182, Fluf, Red 5, Sensefield, Far 

Date:  July 4 to August 8

Warped Tour 2016

Warped Tour 2016

Notable Performers:  Falling In Reverse, Less Than Jake, Good Charlotte, Sleeping With Sirens, New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Ghost Town, Bad Seed Rising, We The Kings

Dates:  June 24 to August 13

Warped Tour 2003

Warped Tour 2003

Notable Performers:  The Ataris, Dropkick Murphys, Rancid, The Used, Pennywise, Less than Jake, Suicide Machines, Andrew W.K., Yellowcard, Glassjaw 

Dates: June 19 to August 10

Warped Tour 2013

Warped Tour 2013

Notable Performers: Chiodos, New Beat Fund, Gin Wigmore, MC Lars, Craig Owens, Dia Frampton, Charlotte Sometimes, Big Chocolate, Echosmith, Motion City Soundtrack, Reel Big Fish 

Dates:  July 15 to August 4

Warped Tour 2019

Warped Tour 2019

Warped Tour 2010

Warped Tour 2010

Notable Performers:  Alkaline Trio, Motion City Soundtrack, Anti-Flag, Dropkick Murphys, Andrew W.K., Penny Wise, Reel Big Fish, The All-American Rejects, Suicide Silence, We The Kings

Dates:  June 25 to August 15

Warped Tour 2012

Warped Tour 2012

Notable Performers:  Falling in Reverse, The Used, Yellowcard, Dead Sara, Rise Against, Yellowcard, MC Laws, Machine Gun Kelly, Anti-Flag

Date:  June 16 to August 5

Warped Tour 2009

Warped Tour 2009

Notable Performers:  Less Than Jake, Underoath, Bad Religion,  T.S.O.L., The Adolescents, Sing it Loud, TAT

Dates:  June 26 to August 23

Warped Tour 2014

Warped Tour 2014

Notable Performers:  Breathe Carolina, Falling in Reverse, Mayday Parade, Less Than Jake, We The Kings, Yellowcard, The Ghost Inside, The Mighty, Finch

Dates:  June 13 to August 3

Warped Tour 2017

Warped Tour 2017

Notable Performers:   Andy Black, Beartooth, Dance Gavin Dance, I Prevail, New Years Day, Falling In Reverse, Streetlight Manifesto, Neck Deep

Date: May 27 to November 1

Warped Tour 2015

Warped Tour 2015

Notable Performers:  As It Is, Bebe Rexha, New Years Day, Knuckle Puck, Metro Station, Candy Hearts, Motion City Soundtrack, Memphis May Fire 

Dates:  June 19 to October 18

Lists about the phenomena of the summer music festival - who to see, how to dress, and what to expect beyond heat, crowds, and bigger crowds.

Strange Rules at Burning Man

  • Cover Story

Here's What Really Caused The Downfall of Warped Tour

Founder Kevin Lyman explains how the scene that built Warped Tour ripped the festival apart from within.

Here's What Really Caused The Downfall of Warped Tour

It's always sad when a big yearly festival or event comes to an end, and such was certainly the case with Vans Warped Tour , the massive traveling punk rock event that took the world by storm for 25 years. Sadly, 2018 was the year's last as a touring festival, with this year's three fests across the country acting as its memorial. When the fest ended, rumors circulated about what ended the festival -- most notably financial losses. But now, the man behind Warped Tour has stated that it was something much more human behind the festival's downfall -- the loss of punk rock community.

In the latest episode of Inside Track -- our podcast in which the true stories behind rock's most important moments are told by the people who lived them -- Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman explains what led to him winding down the traveling festival after 25 years.

"Ultimately, when I started to think about winding this down after 25 years, it was, ‘I think we’ve lost the sense of community,'" says Kevin. "It took a community to make Warped Tour go. Some of that was self-inflicted… I thought you addressed the fans that complain on Twitter! I was addressing everyone and tried to keep that conversation going, but you realize that you can’t really negotiate, debate, or educate on social media!"

Not only did Kevin find that the unity that built Warped Tour was no longer present, but preconceived notions about bands resulted in great musicians turning down the gig, lest they come off as a "Warped" act.

vans warped tour history

"This is what kind of pissed me off," says Kevin. "Because in 1997, ‘98, Pennywise couldn’t judge a band until you met ‘em in the parking lot. You’d be in line at catering because of this community setting with no dressing rooms. You’d meet these people, and they were musicians too. Then I started watching this community tear itself apart from within, with this band — not even meeting these people, just disagreeing with them or with how they look — bashing that band online.

"People would come up to me on Warped Tour, and say, ‘Well, I don’t want to be on Warped Tour because Attila are on Warped Tour,’" he continues. "Have you met the guys in Attila? We’re not here to judge each other’s music. The fans will judge each other’s music.’ Atilla brings people. Do I personally run around screaming ‘Suck my fuck?’ No. Do you? No. But they’re good musicians and they’re not bad people. I’ve never seen them do a bad thing to someone."

"Every year, I’d send offers, and just — ‘We don’t want to tour with those bands. We don’t wanna be a Warped-esque bands,'" sighs Lyman. And it’s like, dude, Warped-esque bands — you mean Bad Religion . A Day To Remember . Paramore … it got very frustrating."

Listen to the full episode below:

And don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to Inside Track to hear more of the insane, wonderful, highly-unlikely and totally true stories behind some of the greatest moments in rock history:

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READ THIS: How Less Than Jake pranked Warped Tour with a "police escort" of strippers

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Vans Warped Tour 25th Anniversary Shows to Feature Blink-182, 311, Bad Religion, Good Charlotte & Many More

The lineups for the Vans Warped Tour 25th anniversary show were released on Friday (March 1) and they feature an all-star list of classic acts and fresh faces.

By Gil Kaufman

Gil Kaufman

2018 Vans Warped Tour

After weeks of anticipation, the lineups for the 25th anniversary editions of the Vans Warped Tour were finally unveiled on Friday (March 1) and they feature a who’s who of classic Warped tour veterans and current punk upstarts. The line-ups for the large-scale special events in Cleveland, OH, on June 8; Atlantic City, NJ, on June 29 – 30 and Mountain View, CA, on July 20 – 21, are all toplined by Warped legends such as Blink-182, 311, Bad Religion, The All-American Rejects, Andrew W.K., Anti-Flag, Good Charlotte, Gym Class Heroes, The Offspring, Simple Plan, Bowling for Soup, Taking Back Sunday, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake and Good Charlotte.

Other acts slated to play the shows include: Andy Black, We the Kings, Thrice, Dirty Heads, CKY, Lagwagon, NOFX, Ozomatli, The Starting Line, Silent Planet, Ariana and the Rose, Go Betty Go, Juliet Simms, Quicksand and Silverstein.

“Through the years the Vans Warped tour has always tried to bring you something extra, this year we have gone through the past archives and dug up many of our old friends to join us for these special events,” producer Kevin Lyman said in a statement. “The curated art experience will showcase our favorite moments over the last 25 years. So, dust off the old Vans and lace em’ up since you won’t want to miss a thing!”

Tickets for the events are on sale now here.

Check out the full line-ups for each show below.

        View this post on Instagram                   JUNE 8 • CLEVELAND, OH?? We partnered with the @rockhall to create a special new exhibit – Forever Warped: 25 Years of Vans Warped Tour. ?? ?? This exhibit will document the history of the tour from its inception in 1995 through the final cross-country run in 2018.?? ?? On Saturday, June 8th, 2019, the exhibit will kick off with a special opening event featuring bands from the tour’s history, a mini vert ramp, and more!?? ?? — tickets on sale now?? ?? ?? #vanswarpedtour #warpedtour #foreverwarped?? #clevelandrocks #rockandroll #thisiscleveland A post shared by Vans Warped Tour (@vanswarpedtour) on Mar 1, 2019 at 7:52am PST

Vans Warped 25th Anniversary Tour Unveils Pre-Sale Tickets, First-Time VIP Access

        View this post on Instagram                   JULY 20+21 • MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA?? We are making a triumphant return to the Bay Area for a special 25th Anniversary 2-day event!?? — tickets on sale now?? ? ?? #vanswarpedtour #warpedtour #foreverwarped?? A post shared by Vans Warped Tour (@vanswarpedtour) on Mar 1, 2019 at 7:55am PST

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vans warped tour history


VWT25_WEB RES_color.png


25 Years of the Vans Warped Tour

25 Years of Warped Tour | EP 1: When Kevin Lyman Met Steve Van Doren

25 Years of Warped Tour | EP 2: Skate Culture

25 Years of Warped Tour | EP 2: Skate Culture

25 Years of Warped Tour | EP 4: No Room For Rockstars

25 Years of Warped Tour | EP 4: No Room For Rockstars

25 Years of Warped Tour | EP 3: They Played Warped?!

25 Years of Warped Tour | EP 3: They Played Warped?!


©2019 CCRL, LLC

Warped Tour’s First Lineup Was Absolutely Insane


1995 was a time when punk music was just beginning to ripple out of the underground, thanks to Green Day’s major label breakthrough, Dookie.

Enter former Lollapalooza programmer Kevin Lyman and RK Diversified Entertainment president Ray Woodbury. Spotting a void in the festival marketplace for punk and skater culture, the two businessmen created the Warped Tour in conjunction with the short-lived Warp Magazine .

This upstart venture was a 25-date whirlwind, a mere jaunt compared to the marathon it would become in later years. Back then, no one could predict the magnitude this beast would reach.

Warped Tour was a day-glow smear of underground culture on the white t-shirt of American pop culture. Despite this, it’s often overlooked that the tour launched the careers of some of the biggest names in music like Katy Perry and Eminem. Even Sonny Moore, pre-Skrillex, cut his teeth on the Warped stage.

Long before No Doubt became a household name, they were a minor act on the first Warped Tour. It was a platform that allowed them to prove their worth, giving them the boost they needed to achieve worldwide recognition.

Similarly, Sublime had made some noise with their 1992 debut, but their real success (and tragedy) would come after their 1995 Warped appearance.

Before Deftones became a major rock mainstay, they also made their first significant public appearances during the inaugural run of the touring summer festival.

In the roster of bands that year, Quicksand and L7 were the headliners. Hardcore and alt-metal bands such as Civ, Sick Of It All, Orange 9mm, Integrity, and Into Another were also part of this monumental lineup.

Let’s not forget the likes of Face to Face or Good Riddance, both newcomers in the music scene, who used the Warped Tour as a stepping stone to success.

And therein lies the beauty of Warped Tour in its earliest days. It gave a stage to the underground,and a chance to the underdogs. It was a festival that saw potential where others turned a blind eye and the birthplace of punk rock as we know it today.

In 1996, shoe company Vans signed on as a sponsor. You know the rest…

vans warped tour history

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