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Warped Tour

Warped Tour
Genre Rock, punk rock, pop, metalcore, alternative rock, hip hop, electronic, ska
Dates June–August
Location(s) United States, Canada, Europe, Australia
Years active 1995–present
Founded by Kevin Lyman

The Warped Tour is the largest traveling music festival in the United States.[1] The tour is held in venues such as parking lots or fields upon which the stages and other structures are constructed prior to and for the duration of the event. The skateboard shoe manufacturer Vans, among others, has sponsored the tour every year since 1995, and it has been called the Vans Warped Tour since 1996. The tour began as a showcase for alternative and punk rock music, and in more recent years featured very diverse genres. It is the longest running touring music festival in North America.[2]


  • Overview 1
  • Bands 2
  • History 3
    • Warped Tour 2009 3.1
    • Warped Tour 2012 3.2
    • Warped Tour 2013 3.3
    • Warped Tour 2014 3.4
  • Price 4
  • Impact of Warped Tour 5
  • Music lessons 6
  • Battle of the Bands 7
  • Criticism and controversy 8
    • Band conflicts 8.1
    • Sponsorship 8.2
    • Activism 8.3
    • Philanthropy 8.4
    • Musical equipment 8.5
  • Official compilation albums 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


The performance schedule for the August 10, 2010 stop in Chula Vista, California, giving stages and set times for each act. Set times are determined on the day of the show and are posted for attendees on a large inflatable board.

The band times and sets are found on each inflatable lineup

Every year there is a "BBQ Band". In exchange for the privilege of playing on the tour, the BBQ Band prepares the post-show barbecue held for the bands and crew most evenings. Past BBQ Bands have included Dropkick Murphys, Art of Shock and "The Fabulous Rudies".[3] Similarly, one band, Animo (formerly DORK), has been permitted for the past four years to play on the tour in exchange for working on the setup crew. The "BBQ Band" for the 2015 tour is the band Boy Meets World.

The tour started as a skate punk and third-wave ska tour, but later began to feature mostly pop punk and metalcore acts. There are also some hardcore and street punk bands, such as the Casualties, the Unseen and Anti-Flag, that still play Warped Tour, as well as older bands that have played the tour numerous times since its inception (Bad Religion, NOFX, etc.)

The tour does not have one way of being set up. Every show (every venue) has a different layout. It is set up early in the morning during the set up crews' arrival and taken down usually during the last show of the day. When heading into Canada, there is a bus that loads the supplies that heads into Canada while the other bus contains the equipment that stays in the U.S. until the next show.[4]

In 2013, Kevin Lyman decided to allow parents free admission to the Warped Tour. Citing issues such as transportation problems for minors and the audience member demographic opening up to a younger crowd every year Lyman determined that parents accompanying their children would be allowed into the tour for free. Parents have their own adult day care.[5] It is called Reverse Day Care.[6] Grown-Ups can spend the day waiting for their children in the Reverse Day Care tent. There is ample seating and often fans or cooling devices to keep the parents occupied during the festival.



The Alternative Press/Advent stage (left) and Glamour Kills stage (right) on the 2010 tour, an example of the tour's side-by-side stage setup. Acts play alternating 30-minute set times on the two stages.

The Warped Tour was created in 1995 by Kevin Lyman, in production with the short lived Warp Magazine and Creative Artists Agency. The tour began June 21 at the Idaho Center in Boise, Idaho, and ended August 18 in Detroit. [7]

The tour has always been held at outdoor venues though on a rare occasions that has not always been the case. In 1996, due to problems with the venue where the event was to be held, the show was forced to be moved indoors to The Capitol Ballroom nightclub in Washington DC.[8]

1996 was the first year for Vans as a sponsor and they have been the main sponsor ever since carrying their name in the title.

In 1998, the tour went international, including venues in Australia, Japan, Europe, Canada, and the United States.

In 1999, the tour started off in New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii in the New Year. It then started up again in the United States for the northern hemisphere summer before ending up in Europe.

The Vans Warped Tour has turned eco-friendly by using biodiesel for the production buses.[9]

In 2009, the two main stages were condensed into one and bands were given 40-minute sets, as opposed to the traditional 30 minutes across the previous two stages. Despite this, the tour decided to bring back the two main stages concept with 35-minute sets instead for the 2012 tour and beyond.

In 2012, the Warped Tour traveled to London, the first time the tour has left North America since 1999.[10] In the UK and Europe, Warped Tour is operated by English promoter Kilimanjaro Live.[11] The Warped Tour will be returning to London in 2015.

Warped Tour 2009

On February 10, 2009 details for the annual "Warped Tour Kick Off Party" were announced. The show took place on April 2, 2009 at The Key Club in West Hollywood, California and featured Warped Tour 2009 bands T.S.O.L., The Adolescents, Sing it Loud, TAT, and TV/TV on the bill.[12] The tour won the Best Festival/Tour Award at the Rock on Request Awards.[13]

Warped Tour 2012

The Warped Tour 2012 kick off party took place March 29, 2012 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California featuring performances by Falling in Reverse, The Used, Yellowcard, Dead Sara, Matt Toka and Forever Came Calling.[14] For the first time in 14 years, Warped Tour was held in the UK in November 2012.

Warped Tour 2013

The Warped Tour 2013 kick off party took place March 28, 2013 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California featuring performances by Chiodos, New Beat Fund, Gin Wigmore, MC Lars, Craig Owens, Dia Frampton, Charlotte Sometimes, Big Chocolate, Echosmith and special guests.[15][16] The tour will once again return to Europe for the second year in a row with more tour dates.[17] For the first time since 2001, Warped Tour will also appear in Australia.

Warped Tour 2014

The Warped Tour 2014 kick off party took place on April 1, 2014 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, California featuring performances by Bad Rabbits, Issues, One Ok Rock, Secrets, This Wild Life, Watsky, and Wax.[18] The tour returned to Montreal for the first time in two years. On February 7, 2014, it was announced that the Warped Tour would visit Alaska for the first time for a pre-tour "The Road to Warped" show.[19] The entire first date (June 13 at Houston) was streamed live on the tour's website. In June 2014, Kevin Lyman announced on Twitter that the UK segment of the 2014 tour would not go ahead.[20] The San Diego stop was sponsored by Waveborn Sunglasses. As a part of celebrating the 20th anniversary of the tour, there have been surprise appearances from two bands, Linkin Park played at Ventura, California on June 22, 2014, and A Day to Remember played at Chicago, Illinois on July 19, 2014.


Warped Tour is a relatively inexpensive tour compared to many other festivals. Tickets are, on average, 50% less than other tours. The promoters of the event make a conscious effort to keep ticket prices low.

Impact of Warped Tour

Warped Tour has become a launching pad for a lot of up and coming artists. The festival has been attributed to bringing unknown artists like Blink-182, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Cash Cash, MGK, Katy Perry and Yelawolf to the spotlight.[21]

The Warped Tour has given artists like and the Black Eyed Peas a chance to perform. Black Eyed Peas were featured on the 1999 Vans Warped Tour. According to, the Black Eyed Peas were the first group not categorized as "punk" to play at Warped Tour.[22]

The Vans Warped Tour appeals to a slightly diverse audience. Warped Tour started as a tour that centered punk has evolved into a festival that includes ska, pop and hip-hop.[23] The skate scene has attracted many people to Warped Tour. The tour includes a half pipe for skaters to skate on.[23]

Music lessons

Musicians on the Vans Warped tour give lessons. Percussive Marketing Council has teamed up with the Vans Warped Tour and has given free drum lessons to the concert goers[24] The lessons were given at the Lesson Lab tent. These music lessons are for people who are learning to play drums for the first time.[24] The lessons utilize electronic drumsets and acoustic drumsets.[25] According to PMC Advisory Board Member Billy Cuthrell, having drum teachers from other percussion stores is the "key" to the free lessons program.[24]

In 2005, the Vans Warped tour incorporated a multiple level stage that consisted of two levels for the band Street Drum Corps[25]

Music education is a big part of the Vans Warped Tour. Throughout the years, the Warped Tour has utilized the John Lennon Bus to achieve this.[26] The John Lennon bus began in 1968 by Ben Roschild and Yoko Ono.[27] The goal of the John Lennon Bus is to educate people about music who attend the warped tour. Brian Roschild is the executive director of the John Lennon Bus. Essentially, the John Lennon Bus is a mobile studio The demographic that the bus is trying to educate is the younger generation Not only do people from the public participate but artists do as well. Artists like Eminem and Bowling For Soup have visited the tour bus.[26] Other celebrities to use the bus including Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, Natasha Bedingfield and John Legend.[27]

Battle of the Bands

The Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands takes place at Warped Tour every year. Over 10,000 bands tried out for the battle of the bands in 2005. The bands perform at their local warped tour date and are judged by professionals from the music industry. If the bands do well in the competition, they get to perform as a side stage act on the Ernie Ball Stage of the Vans Warped Tour.[28]

Criticism and controversy

Artist, record label, and sponsor tents occupy the central area of the tour stops, selling merchandise and holding autograph signings.

"Warped Tour is a place for teenage kids to go and hear all their favorite bands in one day," says Rob Pasalic, guitarist for the Saint Alvia Cartel. "It wouldn’t make sense for it to be the same tour in 2007 as it was in 1997. These are the bands that kids like, and the tour is smart enough to grow and adapt to that. You still get bands like Bad Religion playing, so it’s not like it’s lost all its roots."[29]

Joe Queer of The Queers stated that

You play music because there's something inside of you that says you have to play music. Now you get bands like Fall Out Boy that are basically created in the studio. The Warped Tour changed it. Fuck it. I just don't like that shit. All the guys in the bands remind me of the jocks I hated in high school. To me a punk gig is a small sweaty club with the audience right in your face knocking over the mic stand and boogying off the energy.[30]
Anberlin preparing for a meet-and-greet at the MySpace tent on the 2007 tour. Performers often meet with fans and sign autographs at the various artist and sponsor tents.

Keith Morris has stated "These kids that are on the Warped Tour, they should have no choice but to go into the military, and go off to some desert somewhere and spend some time in the desert, rather than having some big, ultra mega record company giving them lots of money and paying for their hotels and buses, making sure their hair is trendy, and that they are wearing the proper clothes that all the kids like and wear, and all that fun shit."[31] Morris' band the Circle Jerks would later appear on the 2007 edition of the tour.[32]

In 2013 Oliver Sykes from Bring Me the Horizon took to Twitter to pronounce that he was no longer allowed to start a "mosh pit" or "wall of death." Kevin Lyman took to Twitter as well to say that audience members can create mosh pits and wall of deaths but that someone in the audience has to be the initiator and not a band member because then they are taking responsibility for any injuries which can then lead to costly lawsuits.[33][34]

Band conflicts

Athletes perform exhibitions of skateboarding, BMX biking, and other sports on half-pipes and other ramps during the tour. Attendees are often also permitted to participate.

A few bands have left the tour due to conflicts they had with the tour or with other bands:

  • Both D12 and Esham were kicked out of the 2001 tour. D12 allegedly attacked Esham because he mentioned Eminem's daughter in his song "Chemical Imbalance". Eminem was not present.[35]
  • The band Guttermouth was supposedly removed from the Warped Tour 2004 for insulting My Chemical Romance. The band later stated that they left themselves due to "that '10 or so' unnamed bands didn't jive with Guttermouth's way of doing business, and in some cases, threatened them with violence".[36]


The Vans Warped Tour is sponsored by Vans, and in recent years Journeys joined as sponsor. Kevin Lyman was offered sponsorship from Calvin Klein before eventually working with Vans.[37] The tour has also had the opportunity to be sponsored by Samsung. This allowed the bands and fans to interact with one another. The schedule for the day was sent out to the fans the day of their show. Samsung has also sponsored a reverse day care for the warped tour. This allows parents to cool off and their children to watch their favorite bands.[37] Warped Tour has also partnered with other technology companies like Cingular Wireless, Apple Computer and many others.[38] This allows these companies to reach to younger audiences. The communications manager from Memorex stated that warped tour allows them to reach a younger demographic due because of the music that these people are "passionate about."[38] At one point in time, Warped Tour also provided the attendees internet service while at the festival. Chaos Mobile was formed by Kevin Lyman and John Reese of Freeze Artist Management. This is an important part of warped tour because it increases fan interaction among alternative rock fans and keeps ticket prices down.[39]


Activism is a major component of the Vans Warped Tour. Warped Tour allows for non-profit organizations such as Invisible Children,

  • Official website

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^ Hiatt, Brian. "Rock & Roll: Punk-Rock Circus-How the No Frills Warped Tour Grew into America's Most Successful Festival." Rolling Stone 14 July 2005: 28. Print.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Knopper, Steve. "Rock & Roll: Fuel Crisis Hits Tours." Rolling Stone 27 July 2006: 15-16. Print.
  10. ^
  11. ^ LickLibrary "Vans Warped Tour to return to the UK for the first time since 1999", LickLibrary, Fri, 30 March 2012
  12. ^ Vans Warped Tour Kick Off Party
  13. ^
  14. ^ Vans Warped Tour Kick Off Party
  15. ^ Vans Warped Tour 2013 Kick-Off Party
  16. ^ Vans Warped Tour 2013 Kick-Off Party Announced, Tickets Now Available
  17. ^ Warped Tour Confirms UK Dates For 2013 Festival
  18. ^
  19. ^ All Time Low, Falling In Reverse, more to play The Road To Warped Tour Alaska
  20. ^ No 2014 Warped Tour UK Kevin Lyman on Twitter. June 19, 2014. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  21. ^ Ben-Yehuda, Ayala. "Upfront Latin: Austin Goes Latin." Billboard 8 Mar. 2008: 18. Print.
  22. ^ Concepcion, Mariel. "NO E.N.D. TO Success." Billboard 31 July 2010: 25-27. Print.
  23. ^ a b Cross, Charles C. "Performance: Vans Warped Tour--The Kingdome Parking Lot." Rolling Stone 19 Aug. 1999: 38. Print.
  24. ^ a b c "Free Drum Lessons at Warped Tour." Music Trades Sept. 2014: 28. Print.
  25. ^ a b Rashidi, Waleed. "BACKBEATS: Street Drum Corps At Warped Tour." Modern Drummer Nov. 2005: 176. Print.
  26. ^ a b Block, Debbie Galante. "A Dream Studio on Wheels: Brian Roschild Describes the Vision Behind the Lennon Educational Tour Bus." Billboard 19 May 2007: 34-36. Print.
  27. ^ a b Kenny, Tom. "Bringing Music to the People." Mix Jan. 2012: 18-20. Print.
  28. ^ Molenda, Michael. "Riffs: Ernie Ball's Battle of the Bands 9." Guitar Player Apr. 2006: 46. Print.
  29. ^
  30. ^ The Wire – Joe Queer: the face of punk. (October 24, 2006).
  31. ^ Circle Jerks: Keith Morris interview | Facebook
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ Guttermouth Quits Warped Tour –
  37. ^ a b Whitmire, Margo. "Music: Touring-Warped Success Based on Selective Sponsorship." Billboard 20 Nov. 2004: 20. Print.
  38. ^ a b Banerjee, Scott. "Warped Wins Tech Sponsors: Cingular, Samsung, Others Sign On." Billboard 31 July 2004: 43+. Print.
  39. ^ Bruno, Antony. "Digital Entertainment: Mogul- Mobile-Chaos Theory." Billboard 18 Nov. 2006: 16. Print.
  40. ^ a b Waddell, Ray. "On the Road: Vans Warped Tour Founder Honored." Billboard 7 Nov. 2009: 54. Print.
  41. ^ "Good Works." Billboard 7 July 2007: 93. Print.
  42. ^ Benzuly, Sarah, and Breean Lingle. "Vans Warped Tour". Billboard Sept. 2003: 76–77. Print.
  43. ^ Mayfield, Geoff. "Over the Counter: Fondly Remembered." Billboard 26 June 2004: 82. Print.


See also

In addition, the digital music service has released a regular "Warped Tour Bootleg Series," with each entry focusing on a single artists performing on the tour. Past Bootleg Series artists have included Matchbook Romance, My Chemical Romance, Bedouin Soundclash, MxPx, The Starting Line, Millencolin, Avenged Sevenfold, Gogol Bordello, Motion City Soundtrack, The Casualties, Anti-Flag, Less Than Jake, Rise Against, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Helmet, and The Academy Is....

Year Title
1996 Vans Warped Music Sampler 1996
1997 Vans Warped Tour '97 Presents Punk-O-Rama Vol. 2.1
1998 A Compilation of Warped Music
1999 A Compilation of Warped Music II
2000 World Warped III Live
2001 Warped Tour 2001 Tour Compilation
2002 Warped Tour 2002 Tour Compilation
2003 Warped Tour 2003 Tour Compilation
2004 Warped Tour 2004 Tour Compilation
2005 Warped Tour 2005 Tour Compilation
2006 Warped Tour 2006 Tour Compilation
2007 Warped Tour 2007 Tour Compilation
2008 Warped Tour 2008 Tour Compilation
2009 Warped Tour 2009 Tour Compilation
2010 Warped Tour 2010 Tour Compilation
2011 Warped Tour 2011 Tour Compilation
2012 Warped Tour 2012 Tour Compilation
2013 Warped Tour 2013 Tour Compilation
2014 Warped Tour 2014 Tour Compilation
2015 Warped Tour 2015 Tour Compilation

An official Warped Tour compilation CD is released annually by SideOneDummy Records to coincide with the start of the tour. Prior to 1998 the official releases were handled by Vans via Uni Distribution in 1996 and Epitaph Records in 1997 respectively. The compilation includes songs by numerous artists performing on the tour that year. The first few compilations had varying titles, but since 2001 the series has used a standard title with the format "Warped Tour Tour Compilation." In 2002 the compilation expanded onto 2 CDs totalling 50 artists, a format which the series has followed in all subsequent years. The Warped Tour compilation album in 2002 charted at number 55.[43]

Attendees moshing in a circle pit on the 2010 tour.
Pennywise performed on 8 of the first 16 Warped Tours.

Official compilation albums

The bands on the Warped Tour bring their own musical equipment. However, Industrial Sound has been providing equipment for bands to use while on the Vans Warped Tour. Daniel Bonneau, the lead sound engineer, stated that Industrial Sound is a company that he "relies" on to provide equipment for the festival. Bonneau also states that the bands are not able to do traditional soundchecks and bands have to do line checks.[42]

Musical equipment

The Vans Warped Tour contributes 25 cents from every ticket sold to an organization called Hollywood Heart Warped Tour also gave money to the relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina. Warped Tour and the Taste of Chaos, (a festival) worked together to contribute $500,000[40]



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