Vans Warped Tour memories: The end of an era

Limelight Staff

On Wednesday afternoon, Vans Warped Tour creator Kevin Lyman turned to the internet to announce that his annual traveling punk/alternative music festival would be coming to an end after the summer of 2018.

While future plans for the Warped Tour were left vague, the event will cease to exist as a touring event that travels across the US every summer.

“I’m just tired,” Lyman said in an exclusive interview with Billboard.

To mourn the loss of the longest-running touring music festival in North America, a couple members of Limelight shared their experiences with the festival.

Parker Reed – Limelight Editor (One year attended)

Warped Tour typically doesn’t feature groups from genres that I’m a big fan of. Regardless, I did end up going in 2014 for the promise of performances from the likes of Bayside, Watsky, Yellowcard and a few others.

The most notable thing I noticed during my time at the Warped Tour was the energy that radiated from everyone in attendance. Everyone in line was singing songs from bands that were yet to perform that day, escalating the hype.

The rest of the day saw young music fans running in every direction trying to catch every set from their favorite groups. This is standard festival fare, but there was something about the one-day aspect of the Warped Tour that elevated the electricity in the air.

Crowds were roudy, most notably during Yellowcard where I was kicked in the face by a crowd-surfer. And once again, most music that was being performed around me didn’t appeal to me all that much. Most bands leaned on the heavier side, which I usually tend to gravitate away from, but it was worth the trip just to be a part of such a historic part of the punk/alternative scene, if just for a day.

While Warped tour as we know it is ceasing to exist, the relationships that it helped build are sure to last a lifetime. 

Warper Tour 2018 is sure to be a wild one.

Caroline Shaw – SUB Reporter (Three years attended)

Each of the three years I’ve attended Warped Tour have given me something special to take with me at the end of the day. 

My first year was in 2015. It was the first time I immersed myself in the culture of the music I love (and I walked away knowing that I wanted to be part of the music community and industry for the rest of my life.) it was the first time I was able to see my favorite band live. Our Last Night was the first band I saw that day. It was surreal to see and hear, in person, the musicians who had been the heroes in my headphones. 

My second year I volunteered to help with catering and spent a couple hours serving food to some of my favorite musicians. That was cool enough, but because I helped out, I was able to get on stage with Neck Deep, where I ran into Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade, and Sum 41, where I caught a drumstick that Frank Zumo tossed to me. 

Last summer, my third year, I got to see Our Last Night again, but it was also the day Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington died. Warped Tour offered an incredible community of support during a tragedy. There were mental health organizations speaking out and hundreds of fans feeling the same way I was. Warped Tour, again, offered a surreal feeling. Bands led moments of silence during which thousands of people stood so quietly I could hear a bee buzzing feet away from me. The weight of the day combined with the uplifting network of people created an impact that still hits me like a wave when I think about that day.