Vans’ Warped Tour: a history

Van’s Warped Tour is a music festival that brings over 600,000 kids across the country a lineup of 100 rock bands. Today, the tour attracts thousands of music loving fans, but in 1995 Kevin Lyman created Warped Tour for a very different reason.

Kevin Lyman started his career

Escape the Fate plays at the 2009 Warped Tour (photo courtesy of Spellbound Photography)
Escape the Fate plays at the 2009 Warped Tour (photo courtesy of Spellbound Photography)

in music while in college. For his university, he booked performances featuring upcoming bands. After graduating, Lyman continued pursuing his music career by working as a production manager under the up-and-coming music promoter Goldenvoice. Still, Lyman wished to promote bands on a larger scale. Pairing his love of music and skateboarding, Lyman envisioned a skateboarding competition accompanied by live music. The first ever Warped Tour took place in 1995 when Vans, a skateboarding company, sponsored the tour.

The music genres played at Warped has progressed over the years. Originally Ska and skate punk was played, including bands such as No Doubt and Sublime. The genres played progressed into punk rock and metal core. By the early 2000’s, Warped became centered on pop rock and post-hardcore bands that it features today. This year a few of the bands included in the band lineup is Saosin, Bayside, Nevershoutnever, and A Day to Remember.

From June to August, the Warped Tour travels across the country, from coast to coast. In 1998, Warped Tour went international, playing at venues in Australia, Japan, and throughout Europe. Almost every day of the summer, The Warped Tour is set up in empty lot, or a large stadium. Scattered across the designated area are five stages. Smaller stages are reserved for up and coming bands, while the larger stages are performed on by well known bands. Many times

throughout the day, bands are playing at the same time. Those who attend the concert pick and choose the bands they wish to see.

The Warped Tour may center on music, however the tour is also a social event. Along with the stages, tents are raised throughout the lot. Clothing companies, band merchandise, and charities all set up displays. Bands that are just starting out follow the tour hoping to attract new fans. A skateboard ramp is set up in the center of the grounds, where anyone can skate.

Although warped tour only takes place one day in a local community, it has become a traditional summer event throughout the world.