Oh, Warped Tour sucks? Fuck you.
A letter to all of the punks that shit on the Vans Warped Tour
I am so sick of seeing all the negativity and hatred towards Warped Tour every single year. For the months leading up to the tour date, all I see on my Facebook feed is how the lineup sucks and it would be a waste of money to go. “Purist Punks” become so intolerant of a corporate festival that creates such amazing opportunity for new bands and an opportunity for some kids to feel like they belong, for at least one day.
Sure the early 2000s lineup for Warped Tour was phenomenal, but Kevin Lyman doesn’t design the festival for the same demographic every year… that would be extremely boring. Kevin Lyman, the founder of Warped Tour, gets shit on every year by the “real” punks of America for not booking old school punk bands. However, he completely ignores them and designs a lineup that caters to teenagers at the time, not 34 year-old men. He plans one day a year for teenagers to feel comfortable and surrounded by like-minded kids that like the same music. So sue him.
What really upsets me isn’t when fans hate on the tour, it’s when the bands do. There are a few bands (I won’t name) that verbally shit on the tour when they are at their tent. They just complain about the other bands and the heat. Are you kidding me? I would kill to get my band on the Warped Tour. It is legendary and the opportunity of a lifetime. A fully booked, produced, and guaranteed summer tour. Be grateful.
Look at Less Than Jake. Those guys have been playing the tour since 1997 and this is their 9th time. They keep coming back, they are still excited, and they crush every single set. Who knows what they say behind closed doors, but I like to think that they see Warped Tour for what it really is: A chance for some 15 year-old kid to maybe feel happy for a day.
There are also newer bands that don’t really have the “Warped Tour vibe”, but still vocally express their gratitude on stage. Bands such as Like Pacific, that really know how to crush a set and be one of the most badass bands on the tour, made the most of their set and really made a connection to the crowd. Bands like that have respect for the tour.
When I go to Warped Tour, it is a chance for me to swallow my pride and open my ears to some good music that I may have never heard before. It is a day for me to look around and see parents supporting their children’s passions. No matter how hot it is, everyone is stoked, smiles are wider than ever, and joy fills the air. There’s literally something for everyone. So for everyone that hates on this tour, you are basically hating on others happiness. How punk rock of you, to be intolerant.
Sure there are countless politics that go into the funding and design of the Vans Warped Tour, but don’t worry about it. Stop shitting on this tour. Remember how you felt in 2003 as a teenager? It’s the exact same in 2016, the music has just changed. Music always changes and fades away; Warped Tour is adapting to current music and is highly successful. How else would a two month traveling tour with 60+ bands last for 22 years? Open your eyes. If you don’t like the lineup, then keep your mouth shut. No one cares what you think. Don’t pay for a ticket. Don’t go. You won’t be missed.
* all photos by Chris Norman