Solace In The Screaming: Vans Warped Tour's Last Run

Hi all!
In place of a new artist feature, today I'll be sharing a personal reflection on a very momentous happening in music. And it's something you punk-rock-loving loving readers will understand: Van's Warped Tour's last run.

For those of you who don't know, the Vans Warped Tour is the rock/emo/punk traveling music festival which has traversed the U.S. summer after summer for nearly a quarter of a century. Its lineups have contained some of today's biggest stars of the genre, including Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, and many others. But the tour has also included smaller and even local bands on its many stages, my favorite being Glacier Veins on 2016's tour (who I've written about on this blog). Eagar young acts collided with the most popular groups in an environment that was welcoming to teens of all types, but especially the ones who felt they didn't fit in anywhere else. 

I was one of those kids back in the day, and I found a home in Warped Tour way back in 2011 by discovering a tour compilation CD. This tour has helped shape me into the person I am today by letting me express myself, musically and otherwise. I finally attended in 2015 and 2016, and I can only say that no experience in my young life compared to this. Neck Deep, Yellowcard, This Wild Life, Motionless In White, SayWeCanFly (whom I have also featured here on the blog), and countless others were among the acts I danced, moshed, and sometimes cried to in those two summers. Seeing your favorite band and dancing with thousands of young rejects who love them just as much as you, getting to mingle with literal rockstars, having bands selling their own merch, and being able to walk 250 feet away and be immersed in a completely different band's sound made it a place where I could be around things and people that I really truly knew and connected with, and that helped me grow and learn and develop myself. On a personal note, it's also taught me that it's worth it to stand on burning hot pavement in Converse in a line to meet your favorite band. You'll cherish those memories and photos forever.

Top left: SayWeCanFly. Right: Myself and my friend Sydney on the 2016 tour. Center: Me and Sydney meeting As It Is. Bottom left: Against The Current. Right: The Maine. 


I was just as sad as many others, then, when I received a news notification announcing the final run of the Warped Tour. Founder Kevin Lyman released an emotionally charged statement, beginning: 

"I have been a very lucky person to have traveled across the country and sometimes around the world as one of the founders and producers of the Vans Warped Tour. Today, with many mixed feelings, I am here to announce that next year will be the final, full cross-country run of the Vans Warped Tour."

Lyman goes on to recount the infinite amount of great opportunity and success that has come for graduates of Warped:

"...Fast-forward to the summer in 2005 when TRL and Warped Tour helped launch the careers of Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Avenged Sevenfold...I witnessed Warped alumni like The Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, No Doubt and even Kid Rock play the Super Bowl. I’ve even had the pleasure of seeing Green Day play the Rose Bowl."

In the statement, Lyman promised that the Warped brand isn't going anywhere and that certain events will still continue. However, he cited financial issues as the reason for the ending of the legendary punk rock summer camp. All good things must come to an end, and this coming-of-age festival was no exception. 

Although my friends and I are now adults, we all still lamented at the news of Warped's final run, especially those of us who had not gotten to attend one at all. Although I understand the reasoning behind pulling the plug, I still feel as though a piece of me is being taken away - as if a crucial part of my adolescence is no longer present. It makes me wonder how the next generation, conflicted by society, rebels without a cause, and searching for a place to call their own will find their coming of age like I did at Warped. The only thing we can count on is that the music will still be there - that the younger generation will bring with them a new army of artists who understand them better than anyone else, like Neck Deep and All Time Low did for me. I wouldn't trade memories of losing myself to "Ocean Avenue" or stumbling upon the band that would become my favorite for anything, and I know I won't be the last angsty teen to find solace in the screaming that nobody but you could understand. 

As previously stated, the Warped brand will continue to host events going forward into the future following the last nationwide run this summer. The dates for 2018's tour have been announced and can be found here, with bands being announced March 1st. Be sure to grab your tickets for this historic last run and start theorizing about which legendary groups will make an appearance. For even more info on the Tour's last trek, check out this exclusive Billboard interview with Kevin Lyman. Let me know how you feel about the ending of Warped in the comments below!

Thanks for reading, and stay Forever Warped!

-Aidan



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