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In memoriam: Vans Warped Tour

Clockwise+from+left%3A+Four+Year+Strong+%282016%29%2C+Sum+41+%282016%29%2C+Black+Veil+Brides+%282015%29%2C+Bring+me+the+Horizon+%282013%29%2C+Riff+Raff+%282015%29%2C+Pepper+%282016%29
Clockwise from left: Four Year Strong (2016), Sum 41 (2016), Black Veil Brides (2015), Bring me the Horizon (2013), Riff Raff (2015), Pepper (2016)

Clockwise from left: Four Year Strong (2016), Sum 41 (2016), Black Veil Brides (2015), Bring me the Horizon (2013), Riff Raff (2015), Pepper (2016)

Photo by Nick Horwat

Photo by Nick Horwat

Clockwise from left: Four Year Strong (2016), Sum 41 (2016), Black Veil Brides (2015), Bring me the Horizon (2013), Riff Raff (2015), Pepper (2016)

Written By Nick Horwat, Co-A&E Editor

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After 24 years, the Vans Warped Tour will come to a close as a full cross-country tour.

The tour is survived by its creator Kevin Lyman, 1,700 bands and over 11 million attendees over its life. The tour is coming to a tragic end because Lyman feels exhausted after 26 consecutive summers on the road — having worked for the Lollapalooza tour for three years, after deciding in 1995 to create a tour that combined music and action sports. His plan was to originally to only have the tour happen for a single summer.

“I can’t believe that I’m this young and I’m seeing the end of the tour as we know it,” Miranda Van Bramer, a senior broadcast production major said. “I thought it would just be around forever. Everyone kind of had that impression.”

Music has a way of bringing people together. Warped Tour not only brought people together but also created a safe space for many to be away from the outside world.

“It always felt like a home away from home,” Molly Knepper-Miller, a senior sports, art and entertainment management major said. “It’s where I met some of my best friends, where I found what I would love to do in life.” 

Warped Tour was much more than just a concert; it was a unique time for fans to be closer than ever with some of their favorite musicians.

“There is no better place to meet and interact with your favorite artists,” Tyler Richey, a junior sports, art and entertainment management major said. “You’ll see them walking from their tent to the same hot dog stand that you are going to buy a hot dog from.”

Every band on the tour had a merchandise tent. Not only can fans purchase products from their favorite bands, like shirts and CDs, but the tents also play host to artist meet and greets. Artists would take pictures with and sign autographs for their fans.

“Levi Benton, the singer of Miss May I, makes a point to meet with as many people as he can after a show,” Richey said. “Really down to earth guy, and great with interacting with fans.”

The tour was also the home of many life-long memories for many people. From seeing an artist perform to meeting them just minutes later, it is a place for fun and camaraderie.

“My favorite memory would have to be meeting my all-time favorite band, Bring me the Horizon,” Knepper-Miller said. “That or working with Fearless Records at their tent and running their Snapchat backstage.”

Many people look at Warped Tour as a primarily punk rock and metal tour. Throughout its years the tour has had more than just punk acts. Artists like
Eminem, the Black Eyed Peas and Katy Perry found themselves on the tour
early in their careers. In more recent years, artists like G-Eazy, Waka Flocka Flame and Machine Gun Kelly have taken to a Warped stage, proving that Warped Tour was for every genre of music.

Punk and metal have been a large part of Warped Tour’s DNA with tour veterans like Anti-Flag, Every Time I Die, Pennywise and NOFX all appearing on the tour at least seven times. Simple Plan holds the record for most appearances with 11.

Ska punk is another big player on Warped Tour. Less Than Jake, Real Big Fish and Big D at the Kids Table have all been regulars on the tour. Less than Jake and Real Big Fish both had their first run in 1997.

Thanks to Warped Tour, bands like Blink-182, Paramore and My Chemical Romance were able to gain huge popularity and become household names. Paramore played five straight summers with the tour from 2005 to 2009.

Warped Tour also gained enough popularity over the years that bands who have already garnered large fan bases had small appearances on the tour. Linkin Park played for a single show in 2014, Green Day and Weezer shared a few shows on the main stage during the 2000 tour and Limp Bizkit played a show in 1996.

The first ever Warped Tour in 1995 had bands like No Doubt, L7 and was headlined by Sublime.

Not only could you see some of your favorite artists in a more intimate setting, Warped Tour was also one of the better places to discover new music. With about eight stages and over 50 bands, there is bound to be a band or artist you’ve never heard of playing somewhere.

“Thanks to Warped Tour, I discovered State Champs, The Story so Far and Knuckle Puck,” Van Bramer said. “Those bands really stick out to me.”

With 2018 being the last full cross country tour, all fans can do now is wait to see what the future hold for Warped.

“I really hope that [Lyman] can keep something going with the Warped name,” Richey said. “Something to keep the young people engaged.”

The future of Warped Tour is still under question with no official statement being released. Lyman has, however, hinted at some kind of celebration for the tour’s 25th anniversary in the summer of 2019.

“They do so much outside of just the city to city tour I don’t think we are seeing the burial of Warped Tour as a whole,” Van Bramer said. “I think we will see something at a smaller scale.”

The tour’s first ever show took place on June 21, 1995 in Boise, Idaho. While its final show on the 2018 tour is set for Aug. 5 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

The Pittsburgh show is slated for July 16 at the Key Bank Pavilion.

Warped Tour is yet to announce bands that will be on the 2018 tour but Lyman’s desire is for it to be the biggest lineup ever.

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