Anyone that grew up on alternative music and dreamed of seeing all their favorite bands on Warped Tour understands my heart break when Kevin Lyman, the creator of the tour, announced on Wednesday, Nov. 15, that next summer will be the “final, full cross-country run.”
The tour itself was a home to the alternative scene that brought in rappers, rock bands, solo artists and groups of the like. It was the base of so many different bands’ careers, pushing bands like Paramore, Sum 41, Blink-182 and more into the spotlight. It witnessed the rise of punk pop with bands like Good Charlotte, Simple Plan and New Found Glory. It saw the birth of emo through bands like The Used and Taking Back Sunday. Super Bowl halftime performers such as Kid Rock, No Doubt, Katy Perry and The Black Eyed Peas also took the stage at one point or another during the festival’s 24 years.
The Vans Warped Tour became home to the misfits, the lovers of alternative music, those who found solace in music they could connect to. With the end of the tour, the end of the music industry’s last remaining major traveling festival comes too.
Since 2012, Warped Tour was always the highlight of my summer. I remember my first time going in 2012, a lineup that remains one of the best I’ve seen in years. I remember covering myself in paint, standing in huge crowds to watch names like Yellowcard, All Time Low and We the Kings, I met members of my favorite bands and wasted away the day in one of the best environments.
Hearing the news that next summer will be the final tour made me feel like my younger self’s heart has been broken. The shows I’ve gone to lead me to see some of my absolute favorite bands, lead me to new music that I still listen to today, had me meeting new friends and strengthening bonds with old ones. The full-day event was always something I looked forward to and now knowing there won’t be any more days like that after next summer hurts more than I’d like to admit.
Kids in the future may listen to Blink-182’s “The Rock Show,” hear the lyric “I couldn’t wait for the summer and the Warped Tour” and have no idea about the tour or the impact it had on the underground/alternative scene.
The Vans Warped Tour is iconic. Bands that have been on that tour have gone on to have amazing careers. It kickstarted so many bands, helped promote some amazing non-profits like The Truth and To Write Love On Her Arms, and it gave a home to those who needed something like it.
It still blows my mind that next summer will be its last. It also breaks my heart a bit knowing there won’t be that place for people like my high school self to go to. It is the end of an era, and I believe it will be hard for many people to accept because there will never be anything like the Warped Tour ever again. That is a hard thing to swallow.
For those like me where the tour was so integrated into your summers, we will always have the memories of sunburns, weird tan lines and lost shoes.
Next summer better be the best lineup ever.