“It’s sad, like my childhood is ending,” a guy told me right before he jumped into a mosh pit. This was the general feel at the final Vans Warped Tour in the summer of 2018—a celebration of what was and a mourning for what will probably never be again. It’s unlikely there will ever be a music tour that will jump-start the careers of so many huge names in the music industry the way the Warped Tour did. After all, this is where such names as No Doubt, The Offspring, Blink 182, Good Charlotte, The Black Eyed Peas, and My Chemical Romance began their careers. I remember attending a Warped Tour in 2008 and watching some girl named Katy Perry sing to a crowd of about 150 about kissing a girl and liking it. Now she sells out stadiums.
Last year, festival founder Kevin Lyman announced 2018 would be the final cross-country run for Warped Tour after 24 years. And the emo cry was deafening.
“Though the tour and the world has changed since 1995, the same feeling of having the ‘best summer ever’ will live on through the bands, the production teams, and the fans that come through at every stop,” Lyman says. “The enduring spirit of the Vans Warped Tour remains as bright as ever, continuing to inspire creativity and ambition in new and exciting ways as we prepare for a 25th anniversary celebration in 2019.”
This summer, Warped Tour will celebrate its 25th anniversary with three festival dates: Mountain View, California; Cleveland, Ohio; and Atlantic Beach; New Jersey. There will be 50-plus bands, extreme sports, and an art exhibit showcasing the tour’s history. Some of the headliners include Blink-182, Offspring, A Day to Remember, and All-American Rejects.
“With the [Vans Warped Tour] 25th Anniversary events, we want to bring the atmosphere of a classic Warped Tour show, but on a scale that our fans simply could not get with a national tour “ explains Lyman. “The bands, the special attractions, everything – we want to bring back elements that have made the Warped Tour, Warped Tour, over the past 25 years.”
Following the 25th anniversary celebrations, Warped Tour will head off into the sunset.
“It will be bittersweet each morning when I see the sun rise and then watch it set knowing that this will be the last time I get to witness it from that exact spot,” Lyman says.
Like many, I too grew up attending the Warped Tour, so I couldn’t miss out on the last hurrah, my own seventh and final Warped Tour. I spent nine hours running around in the humidity and scorching sunshine trying to see and photograph as many bands as possible. I’m always struck by the mix of attendees: young, old, parents with their kids, goths, jocks, nerds, and on it goes. The Warped Tour has always had a magical sort of pull to bring in all sorts of people at all stages of life.
As Simple Plan (a band I’ve been following for over 14 years) took the stage as the final band of the day, I couldn’t help but tear up a little, feeling as if emo Brian was finally being put to rest. While we can be sad about the ending of an era, we can be happy knowing it happened and that we came of age among a community of people who welcomed us at our absolute weirdest.
For tickets to one of the three dates, visit vanswarpedtour.com.
Famous Warped Tourers
These bands also found their beginnings at Warped Tour. How many do you know?
Taking Back Sunday
Jimmy Eat World
Fall Out Boy
A Day to Remember
For more, check out our interviews with Memphis May Fire, He Is Legend, and GWAR!