Rain or Shine: One Last Time Rocking the Warped Tour
by Samantha Lizzio
Summer has always been my favorite season. And not just because I love sunshine, the beach, and swimming until my fingertips crinkle, but because I look forward to one special day in the season. Summer is when the Vans Warped Tour rolls into town. I haven’t missed that special festival day in 12 years. This year will be my last.
The Vans Warped Tour has been touring an eclectic mix of underground artists throughout America since 1995. Now in its 24th year, founder Kevin Lyman, announced this summer will be the final full country tour for the festival. When I heard this news, I went through several stages of grief. It started with shock, anger, and denial of course. This had to be a joke… WHY WOULD THEY CANCEL THE BEST FESTIVAL EVER? I made a dramatic Facebook status and felt sick anytime someone brought it up.
I moved on to heavy, sob-filled emotions when the artist announcement trailer was released. They picked my favorite Warped Tour headliner to play the background music (“Daylily” by Movements) and it was beautifully directed video. But most importantly, they picked a TON of bands that have impacted the scene for the final year. Yes, I could have done without the false advertising that some of these bands would be playing the full tour when they’re not actually hitting every city… Cough Cough Underoath. Cough Cough All Time Low. (Please just at least do the East Coast dates?! I guess there’s the bargaining stage of grief for you).
But at this point, I have reached acceptance. The tour kicks off today and I’ll start to keep a running watch of my favorite bands' Instagram stories, posts, and tweets capturing their every move in each city. I’ll count down the days to the TWO dates I’m going to and already worry about what I’m going to do when it’s all over… But first I have to reflect on how much this music festival has meant to me over these past 12 summers.
The Warped Tour has been a home for music fans across genres and generations of people. It has united the underdogs, the rock and roll rebels, and anyone with a can’t-be-contained passion for alternative, pop-punk, metal, you name it labels etc. music. I have fit into these categories ever since my first Warped experience.
When I entered the gates of the Vans Warped Tour in the Summer of 2006, I was 14 years old. My eyes lit up, my ears perked, my heart jumped, and my feet didn’t stop moving the entire sun-drenched day. I tried my best to play it cool with my older sister and her boyfriend, but I was in awe of all the awesomeness. The Academy Is…, 30 Seconds to Mars, Paramore, Gym Class Heroes, HelloGoodbye, AFI, were all rocking out at one show? This was the place for me. I met the lead singer of my favorite band at the time, Ronnie from The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and when he said he liked my shirt, I may have lost all bodily functions for a moment.
The next year in 2007, I walked past a little known band called All Time Low playing a tiny stage and was like “Hmm… they sound good.” Fast forward to 2018 and they are hugely popular with consistently good music. Over the years, Warped-goers have watched bands start at a small stage and come back swinging next year on the mainstage. I saw this with Neck Deep, 3oh!3, and Pierce the Veil, and with Movements this year. Hell, even Katy Perry toured Warped in 2008 (the best lineup year IMO), and now she’s one of the biggest names in music.
Throughout these years of dancing in my dirty converse and headbanging my sunburnt scalp from 11:30am to 9pm on each festival day, I solidified my status as an emo fangirl. Committed Warped-goers like me have a dedication to this music and this community. Because, bottom-line, that’s what Warped Tour has been for us. A community. A place to feel safe and at home with likeminded people who rock the hell out. In a sweaty crowd. On a burning hot day. With music blaring, voices screaming, and hearts full. I go to Warped Tour to listen to my favorite bands and discover new music I have yet to find. I come to Warped Tour to have a fun day singing and dancing with friends and maybe falling into a mosh pit and making new friends (or enemies). There’s always time to roam the maze of tents spreading awareness for charities (TWLOHA I see you!), selling the coolest band merch, and hawking the most overpriced festival food you can happily eat seated on burning hot gravel or muddy grass depending on your venue. Endless possibilities for musical fun and camaraderie have awaited us on Warped Tour Day each year…
I’m deeply saddened by end of Warped Tour. What will this mean for upstart bands who won’t have the opportunity to showcase their music each summer? Luckily, we can all take comfort in knowing that next year is the 25th anniversary of the Vans Warped tour and Lyman still plans on celebrating in some way. But I’d like to see what the future holds. Could Warped Tour become a one-weekend festival like Gov Ball for underground bands or the dead and buried Bamboozle (RIP)?
The question remains: will Warped Tour’s legacy live on? Will future generations continue to be #ForeverWarped? I know always will.
It’s understandable that many fans are going to Warped Tour this last year for the nostalgia factor and to see the headliners. Come on, who isn’t stoked that Simple Plan, 3oh!3, Mayday Parade, and We the Kings are rocking all summer long? But listen: I was born in the scene, grew up in this scene, and will live and die in this scene. And it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, no matter who tells you emo music is a phase and Hot Topic is only for pop culture now.
Yes, I get it. The glory days may seem over and it’s oh so sad, Warped couldn’t book My Chemical Romance’s destined reunion or Blink 182’s surprise performance with Tom Delonge. However, there are amazing underground alternative, emo, metal, and just regular old punk rock bands that will be killing it on all stages this year. Here are my recommendations:
As It Is
This Wild Life
Prep with the Warped 2018 playlist and GET YOUR TICKETS NOW! Seriously, they're selling out.
And throwback it with the this greatest hits of Warped Tour alumni playlist