posted on: Thursday February 7, 2019
by Peter Keough ’20 A&E Staff
In some cases, music has the power to become an institution. In the case of the Vans Warped Tour, it did just that. Founded in 1995, this tour became a holy ground for alternative and punk rock music, proving itself a favorite among performers and fans alike over the past few decades. Each summer, the tour treks cross-country and sets up stints in cities around the United States, attracting throngs of fans at each location.
However, to the dismay of hardcore fans, the festival organizers announced in 2018 that the tour would be terminating its run for good. Creator Kevin Lyman recognized that the Warped Tour was not attracting the numbers of attendees that big name festivals, such as Coachella and Bonnaroo, tend to draw. Due to this, Lyman and the rest of the organizers made the tough decision to close the door on the Warped Tour after completing its 2018 rounds.
This termination of Vans Warped Tour, though, was not necessarily meant as a permanent closure. In fact, to the delight of punk rock fans around the country, the festival coordinators have planned a special event to take place this summer.
Although it will not be partaking in its traditional cross-country circuit, Warped Tour will be holding festivals in three U.S. cities this summer in order to commemorate its 25th anniversary. This collection of shows will take everything the tour has been known for over its quarter-of-a-decade run and condense it.
Instead of spreading its acts and exhibits across the country, the tour will have three massive iterations of its festival across the months of June and July. The initial stop at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio will take place on June 8. A two-day festival at Atlantic City Beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey on June 29 and 30 will follow. The final leg of the celebratory tour will culminate at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California on July 20 and 21.
Due to its consolidation into only a few shows, each Warped Tour location is poised to be massive. According to Angelica Acevedo of Billboard Magazine, “There will be over 50 bands across multiple stages, extreme sports (from skateboarding to motor cross), and even an art exhibit created in partnership with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, titled “Forever Warped: 25 Years of Vans Warped Tour.” While the bands themselves have yet to be announced, fans anticipate an impressive celebration at all locations of this festival.
The biggest question that this commemorative tour presents is what exactly gives a music festival its merit. Is Warped Tour, a festival with a declining attendance rate but a solid base of hardcore attendees, less relevant than Coachella or Governor’s Ball? Is its genre, extra offerings, name recognition, or something else that makes a festival relevant? Regardless, it is certain that attendees of Warped Tour’s 25th Anniversary run have a unique, yet familiar, celebratory experience to look forward to.