|Location(s)||United States, Canada|
|Years active||1995–2019 (hiatus)|
|Founded by||Kevin Lyman|
The Vans Warped Tour was a traveling rock tour that toured the United States (including three or four stops in Canada) annually each summer from 1995. It was the largest traveling music festival in the United States and is the longest-running touring music festival in North America. Vans toured Australia in 1998-2002 and again in 2013. The first Warped Tour took place in 1995, and the skateboard shoe manufacturer Vans became the main sponsor of the tour starting with the second tour in 1996, when it became known as "The Vans Warped Tour". Although Vans continued to be the main sponsor and lent its name to the festival, other sponsors also participated with stages or other aspects of the festival sometimes being named after them.
Warped Tour was conceived by Kevin Lyman in 1995 as an eclectic alternative rock festival, but in 1996 began focusing on punk rock music. Although it has continued to be known primarily as a punk rock festival, it has included acts of diverse genres over the years.
Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman stated that the 2018 Vans Warped Tour would be the final, full cross-country run. On December 18, 2018, Lyman revealed details for the tour's 25th anniversary, with only three events taking place in 2019.
In November 2019, rumors spread that Chris Fronzak was planning to bring back the Warped Tour after Lyman's retirement. In October 4, 2020, Fronzak confirmed that he still intends to be involved in the return of Warped Tour but for legal reasons it can't come back for "three years or so."
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The band times and sets were found on an inflatable installation, or were available for purchase on paper from an on-site information stand.
Every year there was a "BBQ Band". In exchange for the privilege of playing on the tour, the BBQ Band prepared the post-show barbecue held for the bands and crew most evenings. Past BBQ Bands have included Dropkick Murphys, Art of Shock 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 "BBQ Band" for the 2016 tour was the band Reckless Serenade.
The tour started as a skate punk and third-wave ska tour, but later began to feature mostly 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 tour wasn't set up in just one way; every show at every venue dictated a different layout. The event was set up early in the morning and taken down late the same day. When heading into Canada, a bus carried supplies while another bus contains the equipment not needed during the brief jaunt over the border.
Citing issues such as transportation problems for minors, and the audience member demographics aging down each year, Kevin Lyman decided to allow parents free admission to the Warped Tour beginning in 2013. Parents have their own adult day care. It was known as Reverse Day Care. Grown-ups could spend the day waiting for their children in the Reverse Day Care tent. There was ample seating and often fans or cooling devices to keep the parents occupied during the festival.
The Warped Tour was created in 1995 by Kevin Lyman and Ray Woodbury, president of RK Diversified Entertainment, in production with the short-lived Warp Magazine and Creative Artists Agency. The tour began June 21 at the Idaho Center in Boise, Idaho, and ended August 18 in Detroit.
The tour was usually held at outdoor venues, though on rare occasions it was held indoors. 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 Capitol Ballroom nightclub in Washington DC.
1996 was the first year for Vans as a sponsor and they have been the main sponsor ever since carrying their name in the title.
In 1998, The Vans Warped Tour went international, including venues in Australia, Japan, Europe, Canada, and the United States.
In 1999, the tour started off the new year in New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii. After a pause, it resumed its North American tour in the continental United States through the summer, before finishing the tour in Europe.
The Vans Warped Tour has turned eco-friendly by using biodiesel for the production buses.
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.
In 2012, the Warped Tour traveled to London, the first time the tour has left North America since 1999. In the UK and Europe, Warped Tour is operated by English promoter Kilimanjaro Live. The Warped Tour returned to London in 2015.
The Vans Warped Tour 2009
On February 10, 2009 details for the annual "Warped Tour Kick Off Party" were announced. The show took place on April 2, 2009 at The Key Club in West Hollywood, California and featured Warped Tour 2009 bands T.S.O.L., The Adolescents, Sing it Loud, TAT, and TV/TV on the bill. The tour won the Best Festival/Tour Award at the Rock on Request Awards.
Warped Tour 2012
The Warped Tour 2012 kick off party took place March 29, 2012 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California featuring performances by Falling in Reverse, The Used, Yellowcard, Dead Sara, Matt Toka and Forever Came Calling. During the Toronto date, a fan fell unconscious during Chelsea Grin and died. The band as well as Warped Tour offered their condolences on Twitter. For the first time in 14 years, Warped Tour was held in the UK in November 2012. This was also the first year the show Warped Roadies premiered. The show was a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the Vans Warped Tour as it travels across the country with more than 60 bands. Zach Booher of the band While We're Up was killed in a road accident in Wisconsin.
Warped Tour 2013
The Warped Tour 2013 kick off party took place March 28, 2013 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California featuring performances by Chiodos, New Beat Fund, Gin Wigmore, MC Lars, Craig Owens, Dia Frampton, Charlotte Sometimes, Big Chocolate, Echosmith and special guests. The tour will once again return to Europe for the second year in a row with more tour dates. For the first time since 2001, Warped Tour will also appear in Australia.
Warped Tour 2014
The Warped Tour 2014 kick off party took place on April 1, 2014 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California featuring performances by Bad Rabbits, Issues, One Ok Rock, Secrets, This Wild Life, To the Wind, Watsky, Chelsea Grin, Beartooth, Volumes and more. The tour returned to Montreal for the first time in two years. On February 7, 2014, it was announced that the Warped Tour would visit Alaska for the first time for a pre-tour "The Road to Warped" show. The entire first date (June 13 at Houston) was streamed live on the tour's website. In June 2014, Kevin Lyman announced on Twitter that the UK segment of the 2014 tour would not go ahead. The San Diego stop was sponsored by Waveborn Sunglasses. As a part of celebrating the 20th anniversary of the tour, there have been surprise appearances from two bands, Linkin Park played at Ventura, California on June 22, 2014, and A Day to Remember played at Chicago, Illinois on July 19, 2014.
Warped Tour 2015
The Warped Tour 2015 kickoff party took place on April 7, 2015 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California featuring performances by As It Is, Bebe Rexha, New Years Day, Knuckle Puck, Metro Station, Candy Hearts, and New Beat Fund. The tour once again visited Alaska for "The Road to Warped" show. The entire first date (June 19 at Pomona) was once again streamed live on the tour's website. The tour returned to Europe playing at the Alexandria Palace in London, UK on 18 October.
Warped Tour 2016
The Warped Tour 2016 announced the lineup on March 22 at the kickoff party at Full Sail University in Florida, featuring select performances by 2016 Warped bands. Headliners of this tour included Falling In Reverse, Less Than Jake, Good Charlotte, Sleeping With Sirens, New Found Glory, and others. The tour kicked off on June 24, 2016, in Dallas, TX and hit 41 cities throughout the summer, ending in Portland, OR on August 13, 2016. In addition to the 41 cities, there was a "Road to Warped Tour Alaska" on June 22, 2016.
Warped Tour 2017
The Warped Tour 2017 announced the lineup on March 22 at the kickoff party at Full Sail University in Florida. Headliners (Bands playing the Journeys Sponsored Stages) of this tour include Andy Black, Beartooth, Dance Gavin Dance, I Prevail, and New Years Day, among others. The tour kicked off on June 11, 2017, in Seattle, WA and will hit 41 cities throughout the summer, ending in Pomona, CA on August 6, 2017. In addition to the 41 cities, there will be one additional show with a separate lineup in Toluca, Mexico on May 27, 2017 and a "Warped Rewind At Sea" cruise that will sail between New Orleans, LA and Cozumel, Mexico from October 28 to November 1, 2017.
Warped Tour 2018
On November 15, 2017, Kevin Lyman announced that the 2018 Warped Tour will be the final year of operation. "I am so grateful to have worked with more than 1,700 bands over the last 23 summers," Lyman said in his announcement. "I wish I could thank every band that has played the tour." In addition, Warped Tour announced it would play in Japan for 2018. Headliners for the Japan Version are Korn (who have never played the festival), Prophets of Rage, and Limp Bizkit (who appeared at Warped Tour 1997)
Warped Tour 2019
On December 18, 2018, Lyman revealed details for the tour's 25th anniversary, taking place in 2019.
Warped Tour became a launching pad for many up-and-coming artists. The festival has been attributed to bringing unknown artists like Black Veil Brides, Avenged Sevenfold, Blink-182, Sum 41, Limp Bizkit, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, MGK, Bebe Rexha, Katy Perry and Yelawolf to the spotlight.
The Warped Tour gave artists like will.i.am and The Black Eyed Peas a chance to perform. Black Eyed Peas were featured on the 1999 Vans Warped Tour. According to will.i.am, the Black Eyed Peas were the first group not categorized as "punk" to play at Warped Tour.
Tours by year
Musicians on the Vans Warped tour gave lessons. Percussive Marketing Council teamed up with the Vans Warped Tour and has given free drum lessons to the concert goers. The lessons were given at the Lesson Lab tent. These music lessons are for people who are learning to play drums for the first time. The lessons utilized electronic drumsets and acoustic drumsets. According to PMC Advisory Board Member Billy Cuthrell, having drum teachers from other percussion stores is the "key" to the free lessons program.
In 2005, the Vans Warped tour incorporated a multiple level stage that consisted of two levels for the band Street Drum Corps.
Music education was a big part of the Vans Warped Tour. Throughout the years, the Warped Tour utilized the John Lennon Bus to achieve this. The John Lennon Bus was started by Brian Rothschild and Yoko Ono in 1968. The goal of the John Lennon Bus was to educate people about music who attended the Warped Tour. Brian Roschild is the executive director of the John Lennon Bus. Essentially, the John Lennon Bus is a mobile studio. The demographic that the bus is trying to educate is the younger generation. Not only do people from the public participate, but artists do as well. Artists like Eminem and Bowling For Soup have visited the tour bus. Other celebrities to use the bus include Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, Natasha Bedingfield, and John Legend.
Battle of the Bands
The Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands took place at Warped Tour every year. Over 10,000 bands tried out for the battle of the bands in 2005. The bands perform at their local Warped tour date and are judged by professionals from the music industry. If the bands do well in the competition, they get to perform as a side stage act on the Ernie Ball Stage of the Vans Warped Tour.
Reception and controversies
"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 [playing] 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.
In 2013, Oliver Sykes, lead vocalist of Bring Me the Horizon took to Twitter to pronounce that he was no longer allowed to start a mosh pit or wall of death. Kevin Lyman took to Twitter as well to say that audience members can create mosh pits and wall of deaths but that someone in the audience has to be the initiator and not a band member because then they are taking responsibility for any injuries which can then lead to costly lawsuits.
On July 1, 2015, it was announced that Jake McElfresh's music act Front Porch Step would be playing the Nashville, TN tour stop, Many bands, including The Wonder Years, Senses Fail, Handguns, and Beartooth asked attendees to not go to McElfresh's set. The Wonder Years' lead singer Dan “Soupy” Campbell, who was supposed to perform after Front Porch Step on the Acoustic Basement Stage, asked fans to go see Man Overboard at 1:15pm, the time the acoustic set would take place. Lyman responded by saying,
He was only supposed to be here long enough to play his show but the weather today has been putting us behind schedule. He wasn't added to the tour, so those claims that he was ‘added to sell tickets’ are completely groundless.
He also said because McElfresh had still not been formally charged with any misconduct, he agreed to have him perform. "If he was a danger to anyone, he simply would not have been here."
On July 11, 2016, Vans Warped Tour announced that Virginia pro-life organization Rock for Life would be one of the vendors on their 41 tour dates. Rock for Life are known[according to whom?] for co-opting punk aesthetics with their logo of a fetus playing a guitar, T-shirts with the phrase “All Lives Matter”. Bands such as Safe to Say and Old Wounds have spoken out against the organization, with Safe To Say, replying to Rock for Life's tweet, saying
Yes. Everyday. We are a pro choice band. A tent telling young women what to do with their body has no place here.
On June 26, 2017, a video surfaced of the punk rock band The Dickies verbally abusing a crowd member after protests against the band, including signs that said "Our teenage girls don't need to be subjected to derogatory jokes by a disgusting old man" and "Punk isn't predatory" took place. While Lyman did initially say that the band was no longer on the Warped Tour roster, he released a statement on July 1 that said the band was not kicked off of the tour and that the altercation was between the band's frontman, Leonard Graves Phillips, and a member of the touring party.
I thought it was time to put the facts out since I have watched false information floating around. A video has been circulating of a confrontation between Leonard from the Dickies and a Fan. Fact- it was not a Fan, but a member of the touring party. The member of the touring party was standing next to the PA with a sign protesting some of the things they found offensive about the bands jokes, and props on stage. During one of the last songs they went towards the barricade and directed the sign at the band. After a verbal barrage from Leonard, the member of the touring party threw the sign at Leonard, and left the area. I do not condone verbal or physical violence, whatsoever. The Dickies, last day of the tour was that Sunday, which had always been scheduled. These are the facts of what took place and this is why I ask anyone who has an issue with anyone else on tour, to come sit under my tent with me and express their views diplomatically. On this years tour we have many people who may not agree with each other, but as humans we should be able to express our points of view in a civil manner. If we have any hope to progress as a society, communication will be key in moving forward.
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.
- The band Guttermouth was supposedly removed from the Warped Tour 2004 for insulting Simple Plan. The band later stated that they left themselves due to "that '10 or so' unnamed bands didn't jibe with Guttermouth's way of doing business, and in some cases, threatened them with violence".
- The band Islander was kicked off the tour after Mikey Carvajal jumped into a backline drum kit onstage and damaged it during their live set in Denver on July 1.
The Vans Warped Tour was sponsored by Vans, and in the final years Journeys joined as sponsor. Kevin Lyman was offered sponsorship from Calvin Klein before eventually working with Vans. The tour also was sponsored by Samsung, which allowed the bands and fans to interact with one another. The schedule for the day was sent out to the fans the day of their show. Samsung also sponsored a reverse day care for the Warped tour, which allows parents to cool off and their children to watch their favorite bands. Warped Tour also partnered with other technology companies like Cingular Wireless, Apple Computer and many others. This allows these companies to reach to younger audiences. The communications manager from Memorex stated that Warped Tour allows them to reach a younger demographic because of the music that these people are "passionate about." At one point in time, Warped Tour also provided the attendees internet service while at the festival. Chaos Mobile was formed by Kevin Lyman and John Reese of Freeze Artist Management.
Activism and philanthropy
Activism was a major component of the Vans Warped Tour and allowed for non-profit organizations such as Invisible Children, To Write Love On Her Arms, Shirts for a Cure, Keep A Breast Foundation, and Hope For The Day to advocate about their cause. Other causes that were represented at Warped Tour were Music Saves Lives and Earth Echo. Earth Echo promotes recycling and provides a solar powered stage. Keep A Breast is another organization on the Vans Warped Tour. Keep A Breast educates women about Breast Cancer and preventative measures against the disease. This organization worked in conjunction with the Girlz Garage on the Vans Warped Tour. People who donate to the cause are given T-shirts signed by artists on the tour to spread awareness of Breast Cancer.
Since 2001, the traveling tour has been affiliated with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), including food vendors and booths that distribute information about animal rights and veganism.
In March 2016, it was announced that Warped Tour would be teaming up with A Voice For The Innocent to address the issue of sex crimes in the music scene.
The Vans Warped Tour contributed 25 cents from every ticket sold to an organization called Hollywood Heart. Warped Tour also gave money to the relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina. Warped Tour and the Taste of Chaos, (a festival) worked together to contribute $500,000
The bands on the Warped Tour often brought their own musical equipment, but Industrial Sound also provided equipment for bands to use, according to lead sound engineer Daniel Bonneau. He also states that the bands have to do line checks[further explanation needed] instead of traditional soundchecks.
Official compilation albums
An official Warped Tour compilation CD was 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 included 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. The Warped Tour compilation album in 2002 charted at number 55.
|1996||Vans Warped Music Sampler 1996|
|1997||Vans Warped Tour '97 Presents Punk-O-Rama Vol. 2.1|
|1998||A Compilation of Warped Music|
|1999||A Compilation of Warped Music II|
|2000||World Warped III Live|
|2001||Warped Tour 2001 Tour Compilation|
|2002||Warped Tour 2002 Tour Compilation|
|2003||Warped Tour 2003 Tour Compilation|
|2004||Warped Tour 2004 Tour Compilation|
|2005||Warped Tour 2005 Tour Compilation|
|2006||Warped Tour 2006 Tour Compilation|
|2007||Warped Tour 2007 Tour Compilation|
|2008||Warped Tour 2008 Tour Compilation|
|2009||Warped Tour 2009 Tour Compilation|
|2010||Warped Tour 2010 Tour Compilation|
|2011||Warped Tour 2011 Tour Compilation|
|2012||Warped Tour 2012 Tour Compilation|
|2013||Warped Tour 2013 Tour Compilation|
|2014||Warped Tour 2014 Tour Compilation|
|2015||Warped Tour 2015 Tour Compilation|
|2016||Warped Tour 2016 Tour Compilation|
|2017||Warped Tour 2017 Tour Compilation|
|2018||Warped Tour 2018 Tour Compilation|
In addition, the digital music service Rhapsody.com 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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Corporate-sponsored Vans Warped Tour hosts many mainstream punk rock bands as they tour around the United States and provides vegetarian food vendors that distribute information from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to the attendees
- Zlatapolsky, Ashley (July 19, 2017). "Vans Warped Tour volunteer: It's about music, gear and saving the cows". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on July 20, 2017. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
- "Home". A Voice For The Innocent. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
- Benzuly, Sarah, and Breean Lingle. "Vans Warped Tour". Billboard Sept. 2003: 76–77. Print.
- Mayfield, Geoff. "Over the Counter: Fondly Remembered." Billboard 26 June 2004: 82. Print.
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