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Kevin Lyman calls time on Warped Tour

The pioneering travelling punk festival is to head out for the last time next year, its founder has confirmed, citing a changing festival market and slowing ticket sales

By IQ on 16 Nov 2017

Kevin Lyman, Warped Tour

image © Chad Sengstock/Earshot Media

The 2018 edition of iconic punk rock festival Warped Tour, the US’s last remaining major touring festival, it to be its last, founder and promoter Kevin Lyman has announced.

In a statement released yesterday afternoon, Lyman (pictured) said the 24th edition of Warped Tour, since 1996 sponsored by Vans, will be the festival’s “final, full cross-country run”. After working with more than 1,700 bands over 23 summers, he says, “with many mixed feelings” the time is right to step away.

“In 1995, I had already worked many years in the music business, including spending four summers on the Lollapalooza tour, and I thought, ‘For one summer, I would like go out and put on my own show’, mixing music and action sports,” explains Lyman. “With the support of so many people, I have now spent the last 23 summers bringing that show to a city near you. We have brought that show to over 11 million people around the world and watched that same world change while doing so.

“I have been proud to work with so many artists who have grown to be some of the largest stars in the world. Countless bands have played in hot parking lots and through summer storms for you at some point.

“Bands like Quicksand, Sublime, L7, No Use for A Name and No Doubt jumped on in the very first year. Touring many summers with my friends and peers like – Pennywise, Social Distortion, NOFX, Bad Religion, the Descendents, Less than Jake, Dropkick Murphys, the Bouncing Souls, Rancid, Flogging Molly, Anti-Flag and the Offspring are just some of my fondest memories. More include having Blink-182 travel on my bus in 1997 when the world opened up to them and made them the superstars they are today.”

He continues: “The Vans Warped Tour was the platform to witness the rise of pop punk, with Sum 41, Simple Plan, MXPX, New Found Glory and Good Charlotte, [and] the birth of emo, with bands like Thrice, Thursday, the Used, Taking Back Sunday, the Starting Line, Motion City Soundtrack and Jimmy Eat World.

“Fast-forward to the summer in 2005 when TRL and Warped Tour helped launch the careers of Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Avenged Sevenfold.

“I have been proud to work with so many artists who have grown to be some of the largest stars in the world”

“I witnessed Warped alumni like the Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, No Doubt and even Kid Rock play the Super Bowl. I’ve even had the pleasure of seeing Green Day play the Rose Bowl.

“More recently, I’ve watched bands start out on a small stage and work their way up to the main stages by meeting as many fans as possible and continuing to hone their craft while on the tour. Bands like Paramore, A Day To Remember, Sleeping With Sirens, Pierce The Veil, Echosmith, Motionless in White, Black Veil Brides, Every Time I Die, Neck Deep, Beartooth and so many more.

“What has always made me proud was when I read that Warped was the most diverse show of the summer, where you could find Eminem and Ice-T on the same stages as Sevendust, Pennywise, and 7 Seconds.

“I am so grateful to have worked with more than 1,700 bands over the last 23 summers. I wish I could thank every band that has played the tour.”

Elaborating on the end Warped Tour in an interview with Billboard, Lyman said a range of factors – including an increasingly competitive summer festival market, a shrinking pool of available talent and declining ticket sales among the festival’s teenage demographic – had all contributed to his decision to cancel.

As for the 2018 line-up, Lyman says he’s “gotta have Less than Jake and Every Time I Die”, with the Maine, Mayday Parade, Eminem, Fall Out Boy and Blink-182 also on his wishlist.

The 2018 tour kicks off on 21 June in Pomona, California, and wraps up in West Palm Beach, Florida, on 5 August.


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