The End of Warped Tour

Emily Carpenter, Sophomore Staff Writer

Recently, owner and founder of punk rock music festival, Kevin Lyman, made a statement regarding his time on the road during the summer Warped Tour. He stated that his time on the road since 1995 has been incredible, and he shaped a brand new culture that he implemented in the alternative music industry. Warped Tour is a full length summer tour across the United States and parts of the UK that has molded bands into the illustrious and platinum winning artists they are today. These chart breaking bands were disheartened to see Lyman’s statement and are reminiscing on their first experiences on the famous tour.


Every year since 1995, Lyman has contacted over 100 bands and has almost single handedly organized the full tour that many fans have grown to love. In his statement he explains that the tour is coming to an end in 2019, when the tour’s 25th anniversary will take place. Lyman tells reporters and media that the end of Warped Tour was not an easy decision to make, and is due to declining ticket sales and interest in the tour. Being an avid follower of warped tour and going since 2015, I decided to look back on my previous years attending the tour to pinpoint the reasons why the tour was becoming less popular. I took to social media and listened to what others had to say about the tour’s end and it’s lineup and schedule from the past to get multiple views on the tour.


YouTube was one of the most used platforms where people express their opinions and beliefs through, and Warped Tour attendees are no exception to that. I looked back to all of the lineups since 1995 and saw that big name bands such as Blink-182, All Time Low, Paramore, Katy Perry, and My Chemical Romance attended the early years of the tour. Looking towards 2014-2017, I noticed that the tour focused on many underground bands that were looking for a boost in the start of the industry. Many people on YouTube have reacted to the lineup of the tour almost immediately after it comes out, allowing constructive feedback for the years to come on the tour. I saw that the reactions were sort of 50/50 regarding the positive and negative reactions of the tour. Being the founder of the tour is a double-edged sword for Lyman. If he adds new and upcoming bands to the tour as requested, people will complain that there are no well established bands to enjoy. If he adds established and “veterans” of the tour, attendees will complain that the tour lacks originality. With that said, how do we balance the weights of new bands and old bands, and how do we boost tickets sales every year?


Maintaining interest in a tour that has been going on for over 20 years is a big job that requires much thought, and the last few years of the tour seem like the bands have been pulled out of a hat. Taking to social media is a great way to get feedback and comments about the desired lineup for the tour, and Warped Tour puts out a survey every year asking which bands you would like to see on the tour. But do they really look at it? It seems like the requested bands have not been taken into account. Warped Tour overlaps many other single band headlining tours over the summer, however it barely takes away ¼ of the bands that can attend the tour. Lyman has always tried to have veterans of the tour mentor the new bands attending, however the balance between the two seems to not be proportionate at all. Looking for new bands that have not attended the tour is in my opinion one of the easiest things to do, especially when upcoming bands try to establish themselves on social media. I can put my Pandora on shuffle and in the span of an hour, at least 10 new bands will be discovered. Finding veterans that people go crazy for is not incredibly difficult either, especially when a lot of the bands that attend the tour are releasing a new album or already have released an album just prior to the tour.


Thinking about the many different ways that ticket sales have declined, I thought of the lack of genres that may be in the tour. Maybe people are upset that the tour is not staying within it’s roots. Maybe it’s not the fact that there’s lack of material at all. Warped Tour’s punk rock vibe has been a stand out among other music festivals, being the headline for the summer and making other festivals take it’s influence. In 2014, a change in genres and bands was made known to the public and had a heavier influence with a greater amount of metalcore and hardcore bands in the scene. Attracting different crowds is what Warped Tour is known for, but maybe the change of influence is not what the tour was originally geared towards. This change outraged long time tour goers and a demand of pop punk and punk bands were needed to satisfy both metalcore fans and punk fans. Diversity is what the tour is all about, so maybe the heavily diverse amount of bands needed to broaden to keep the tour afloat.


Warped Tour also offered many other amazing options for the full experience of live music and entertainment. First approaching Warped Tour, there are hundreds of tents representing each band and sponsorship on tour. Each band’s tent sells exclusive merchandise and is where you can go to meet your idols face to face. The sponsors for the tour vary every year, but the non-profit organizations are incredible, such as Hope For A Day, an organization that promotes mental health and stability, and offers a free space for people to talk about any problems or illnesses that have inflicted them. Another great organization is To Write Love On Her Arms, which is the same platform and outreach as Hope For A Day, allowing help and services for you to become a better version of yourself.


Lastly, another amazing organizations is Music Saves Lives, which is an organization centred around people with terminal illnesses such as cancer to meet their favorite singer or artist and spend the day with them. Almost every organization is founded or run by a band on tour. Aside from organizations, Warped Tour offers a “hydration station”, allowing you to fill up a bottle of ice cold water for free all day long, seeing as the tour goes from 11:00AM to 9:00PM. They also have a Truth truck, that promotes non-smoking and allows you to play games to win prizes. They have many tents that offer free pamphlets and games that allow you to learn more about what the tour offers, even having a game sponsored by Journeys, giving you the chance to win free Vans and other cool merchandise. In the 90s, the tour traveled with a half pipe, and offered a place to skate while listening to live music. Today, the alternative is a slip and slide that helps you cool off and stay refreshed throughout the tour as well as inviting a 7/11 “food truck” that gives away free Icees, and a Monster Energy truck that gives free cans of never before seen flavors away to the public. So aside from the amazing live music, Warped Tour was all about promoting good health and mental stability within your community as well as worked to give people the highlight of their summer.


Luckily, the final two tours in 2018 and 2019 will be carefully considered to end the tour on a good note. The tour’s dates for 2018 have already been released and the band attendees are being worked on right now. Warped Tour was a safe haven for people of all cultural backgrounds and ethnicities to enjoy and share the same music, and even find new material to fall in love with. You could interact with the bands that inspire you through free meet and greets and even just see them walking around and enjoying the same music as you. Warped Tour also offers TEI workshops, where you can pay a minimum of fifteen dollars to attend a session with your favorite select band members to learn about the music industry, self help, and self love. These workshops last up to an hour and you get to attend a class and socialize with fellow warped attendees as well as talk up close and personal with your favorite band. Also, the tour is sponsored by Full Sail University, a technical arts school that works with music, visuals, and entertainment to prepare and develop you for a job in the arts. It offers hands on training and a multitude of equipment on the tour for you to test and have fun with. So, Warped Tour was not just about the music, it was about the experience of good people and showing you that the rock scene is not dead. With that said, will the end of Warped Tour be the end of a rock era? What does this mean for live music? One thing for sure is that there will be no other tour like Warped Tour and there will never be a better platform to freely enjoy and fully interact with music.