|Location(s)||United States, Canada|
|Founded by||Kevin Lyman|
|Genre||Punk rock, ska, alternative rock, reggae, hip hop, pop, metalcore, post-hardcore, hardcore punk|
The Warped Tour is a touring music and extreme sports festival. The tour is held in venues such as parking lots or fields upon which the stages and other structures are erected. The skateboard shoe manufacturer Vans, among others, has sponsored the tour every year since 1995, and it is often called the Vans Warped Tour. The tour began as a showcase for punk rock music, but its more recent lineups have featured diverse genres.
As of the mid-2000s, the Warped Tour has featured as many as 100 bands per show. The bands play for up to 30 minutes over approximately 10 stages, with the biggest bands generally playing the two main stages. Bands typically start at 11:00 am and end around 9:00 pm, with several bands playing at once. The individual band times and stages where each band plays are marked on a large board usually centered in the venue. The stages are set up in various locations around the venue to ensure no band's music is disrupted by the others.
Every year there is a "BBQ Band," which, in exchange for the privilege of playing on the tour, must prepare the barbecue held for the bands and crew most evenings. Past BBQ Bands have included Dropkick Murphys and "The Fabulous Rudies". Similarly, one band, Animo (formerly DORK), has been permitted for the past four years to play on the tour in exchange for working on the setup crew.
The tour started as a skate punk and third-wave ska tour, but later began to feature mostly post-hardcore, pop punk, and metalcore acts. There are also some hardcore and street punk bands, such as the Casualties, the Unseen and Anti-Flag, that still play Warped Tour, as well as older bands that have played the tour numerous times since its inception (Bad Religion, NOFX, etc.)
The Warped Tour was created in 1994 by Kevin Lyman, who got the idea while working on skateboarding shows such as the Vision Skate Escape and Holiday Havoc which included music with skateboarding contests. The Warped name comes from the short-lived Warp Magazine, published by Transworld, which covered surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, and music.
The tour has always been held at outdoor venues though on a rare occasions that has not always been the case. In 1996 due to problems with the venue where the event was to be held, the show was forced to be moved indoors to the The Capitol Ballroom nightclub in Washington DC.
In 1998, the tour went international, including venues in Australia, Japan, Europe, Canada, and the United States.
In 1999, the tour started off in New Zealand and Australia in the New Year. It then started up again in the United States for the northern hemisphere summer before ending up in Europe.
As well as music, this tour brings many attractions, including a half pipe for skaters and bikers. The tour also features many booths creating a flea market-like atmosphere, having tents for each of the bands to sell merchandise, independent record labels, magazine publishers, non-profit organizations, and sponsors looking to market their products to the tour's audience. Many of the bands will retreat to their tents after their performance in order to meet up with the fans and sign autographs.
In 2006, the tour started the Warped Eco Initiative” (WEI). Ways the tour has changed since 2006: Using Biodiesel to fuel the buses, since 2006 the tour has reduced petroleum by 30%. The tour has a solar stage that is run solely from solar power that host 8–10 performers per show. The catering on the warped has switched to use washable dishes, and silverware. They also use compostable corn, and potato-starch take out boxes. The tour gives out free prizes to kids who volunteer to help recycle.
Starting in 2009, the two main stages were condensed into one and bands were given 40-minute sets, as opposed to the traditional 30 minutes across the previous two stages. Despite this, the tour decided to bring back the two main stages concept with 35-minute sets instead for the 2012 tour and beyond.
Criticism and controversy
"Warped Tour is a place for teenage kids to go and hear all their favorite bands in one day," says Rob Pasalic, guitarist for the Saint Alvia Cartel. "It wouldn’t make sense for it to be the same tour in 2007 as it was in 1997. These are the bands that kids like, and the tour is smart enough to grow and adapt to that. You still get bands like Bad Religion playing, so it’s not like it’s lost all its roots."
"You play music because there’s something inside of you that says you have to play music. Now you get bands like Fall Out Boy that are basically created in the studio. The Warped Tour changed it. Fuck it. I just don’t like that shit. All the guys in the bands remind me of the jocks I hated in high school. To me a punk gig is a small sweaty club with the audience right in your face knocking over the mic stand and boogying off the energy."
Keith Morris has stated "These kids that are on the Warped Tour, they should have no choice but to go into the military, and go off to some desert somewhere and spend some time in the desert, rather than having some big, ultra mega record company giving them lots of money and paying for their hotels and buses, making sure their hair is trendy, and that they are wearing the proper clothes that all the kids like and wear, and all that fun shit." Morris' band the Circle Jerks would later appear on the 2007 edition of the tour.
A few bands have left the tour due to conflicts they had with the tour or with other bands:
- Both D12 and Esham were kicked out of the 2001 tour. D12 allegedly attacked Esham because he mentioned Eminem's daughter in his song "Chemical Imbalance." Eminem was not present.
- Brendan Kelly of The Lawrence Arms claims the band were "banned for life" from the tour after being on the 2004 tour for a week, growing frustrated with the experience, and vocally attacking the ethos and effects of the Warped Tour onstage during their set with the organisers within earshot. Kelly also claimed that the Warped Tour is "the worst thing to ever happen to punk rock, or DIY music in general" and blamed the widespread closure of small punk clubs across the country on the tour.
- The band Guttermouth was supposedly removed from the Warped Tour 2004 for insulting My Chemical Romance. The band later stated that they left themselves due to "that '10 or so' unnamed bands didn't jive with Guttermouth's way of doing business, and in some cases, threatened them with violence."
- According to Fat Mike, on the 2006 tour, From First to Last was upset about not being able to play before 2:00 pm on the main stage, and refused to play if they were not guaranteed that. From First to Last stated they left the tour due to vocalist Sonny Moore having vocal nodules.
- In 2006 NOFX frontman Fat Mike was making fun of Underoath and their religious beliefs and criticizing their stance on gay marriage, but emphasised that he befriended Underoath's band members at the start of the tour, had very civilized conversations with various members right up to Underoath's departure. A statement from the band claimed that the members "felt it necessary to take some immediate time to focus on our friendship, as that’s more important than risking it for the sake of touring at this time." Despite this, both groups were included in the lineup for Warped Tour 2009.
- Kevin Lyman acknowledged that on the 2007 tour some of the more seasoned bands were irked by newer bands with rock-star attitudes, and also that there was some tension between punk bands and Christian groups.
- Broadway Calls were critical about the number of pop-oriented and Christian metal bands on the 2008 tour stating, "When there are 60 bands a day, and a majority of them are made up of either Christian jocks that play REALLY HEAVY MUSIC for Jesus, or pop bands with the only thing separating them from boy bands like Backstreet Boys are their dropped D tuned guitars hanging from their shoulders, it's hard to be comfortable. I look around, and quickly realize that the only difference between this and a huge frat party is that all these idiots play music. Bad music. Unfuckinglistenable music."
- In 2013 The Amity Affliction vocalist Joel Birch made a speech during their set about his distaste for Memphis May Fire vocalist, Matty Mullins.
Official compilation albums
An official Warped Tour compilation CD is released annually by SideOneDummy Records to coincide with the start of the tour. Prior to 1998 the official releases were handled by Vans via Uni Distribution in 1996 and Epitaph Records in 1997 respectively. The compilation includes songs by numerous artists performing on the tour that year. The first few compilations had varying titles, but since 2001 the series has used a standard title with the format "Warped Tour <year> Tour Compilation." In 2002 the compilation expanded onto 2 CDs totalling 50 artists, a format which the series has followed in all subsequent years.
In addition, the digital music service Rhapsody.com has released a regular "Warped Tour Bootleg Series," with each entry focusing on a single artists performing on the tour. Past Bootleg Series artists have included Matchbook Romance, My Chemical Romance, Bedouin Soundclash, MxPx, The Starting Line, Millencolin, Avenged Sevenfold, Gogol Bordello, Motion City Soundtrack, The Casualties, Anti-Flag, Less Than Jake, Rise Against, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Helmet, and The Academy Is...
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- Guttermouth Quits Warped Tour – Aversion.com
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- Sutherland, Sam. (July 11, 2009) Wmarped Tour 2009 – Video Interview. Exclaim.ca.
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- Broadway Calls talks about Warped experience. Punknews.org.
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