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Warped tour turns 25 with 3-city celebration

East, West coast, Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame host Warped

Written By Matthew Bright, For The Globe

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In true punk rock anti-fashion, the Vans Warped Tour has retired about as long a single Ramones song; and aging dads with residual angst are lacing up their Doc Martens and moshing with delight.

The summer of 2018 was billed as “the final cross-country Warped Tour ever” – although Kevin Lyman, the promoter of the annual punk rock sweat fest, had openly said that the tour would move into the future as a destination festival, hosting three special events in celebration of the its 25th anniversary.

Late last year, Lyman teased three potential dates and locations for the festival on Twitter and now the details have been confirmed.

Each of the events will have a unique lineup. Fans can expect some overlap between the bands appearing, but they will be largely different. Within a single weekend, the bands will play on either Saturday or Sunday, but not on both days.

The first date of the 2019 Vans Warped Tour will kick-off at the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio on June 8. This event is primarily the grand opening of the “Forever Warped: 25 Years of Vans Warped Tour” exhibit that opens to the public at the historic venue the same day. The display will offer fans a look at documents and history from the tour’s 1995 inception to its final cross-country run in 2018. On display are instruments from Fall Out Boy, No Doubt and Rancid, along with stage clothing from Joan Jett and Ice T. 

In addition to the new exhibit, fans attending will get an abbreviated version of the music fest with special performances by Los Angeles hip hop artist Chali 2na and mainstream DJ Cut Chemist. In support, Emery, Simple Plan, Hawthorne Heights and We The Kings will also be performing.

The second stop on the anniversary tour will take place at Atlantic City Beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey for a two-day blowout later that month on June 29 and 30. This weekend is sure to satisfy any Warped Tour purist ready to brandish board shorts. The lineup is an eclectic throwback to the nineties and the bands who made the annual festival a summer institution. Topping the bill are Warped Tour veterans Blink-182, Bad Religion, 311, The Offspring and Quicksand (who played the inaugural Warped Tour in 1995).

The pool of supporting acts for the Atlantic City dates is deep, packed with well over 100 acts. Punk rock legends and Pittsburgh natives Anti-Flag top the list which includes party aficionado Andrew W.K., The Starting Line, Taking Back Sunday, Thrice, The Aquabats, Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, A Day to Remember and Good Charlotte. 

If the music and atmosphere at the Atlantic City event are a little too upbeat for you, then change your mohawk and grab your spiked leather; the third and final celebration is the auditory road rash you’ve been skating for. It will take place on July 20 and 21 at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. Artists include punk stalwarts NOFX, The Offspring, Bad Religion, Face to Face, Fishbone, The Vandals, Lagwagon, Jawbreaker and Tsunami Bomb. As usual, the list of supporting acts is lengthy with Anti-Flag, The Used, Sum 41, Dance Gavin Dance and Memphis May Fire leading the pack.

Fans of the Warped Tour will be the first to tell you that it’s more than just a concert. Since its inception, part of the appeal of the festival has been its dedication to extreme sports like motocross, BMX and skateboarding. This year will be no different, with the official website promising even more skate ramps and demos, a freestyle motocross tournament and even adding professional wrestling to the list of this year’s on-site attractions.

The buzz has been palpable since the lineups were announced and as predicted, tickets are moving quick. Due to the size of the venue, the kick-off concert in Cleveland was limited to 2,000 tickets and has already sold out.

Fans looking to attend the two-day events in Atlantic City and California may be surprised to find that single-day admission passes are not currently available. In fact, the official Warped Tour website states that there is no guarantee that a single-day admission pass will be made available at all; urging people to purchase a two-day general admission ticket or VIP option.

The VIP option, which is only being offered for the Atlantic City weekend, includes a private entrance, access to a shaded lounge, air-conditioned comfort stations and more for $199.00. If that’s too much for your taste and you want the traditional experience of sweating on hot asphalt, standard general admission tickets can be purchased for $129.00. The weekend in Mountain View, CA does not currently have a VIP option available, but two-day general admission tickets can be purchased for $121.00.

The promoters have taken care to not hide the tour’s age but embrace it. In doing so, they’ve curated three unique events that will give fans the Warped experience they’re looking for. The Tour may be slam-dancing off into the sunset, but it’s impact on the alternative music scene will be felt for decades to come.

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