Why did Warped Tour finally come to an end?

The annual rite of summer passage, also dubbed “Punk Rock Summer Camp” by many, was a place where many music lovers discovered new bands in the ’90s, 2000s and 2010s, but in 2018, the Vans Warped Tour finished its final run.

What Was the Warped Tour?

The Warped Tour, which eventually picked up sponsorship from shoe manufacturer Vans, was a traveling rock tour that started in 1995, initially with the idea of being an alternative rock festival, but eventually finding much of its early success focusing on the punk rock music scene.

As the years passed, the festival evolved to include a wider variety of acts. From the early ska and skate punk bands to welcoming nu-metal, emo, pop-punk and eventually metalcore, there was a little something for everyone.

READ MORE: Whatever Happened to the Bands From the First Warped Tour?

When Did Warped Tour Officially End?

Though 2018 was the final year of Warped Tour as a touring festival, plans were announced that a 2019 25th anniversary would be taking place.

This turned into a three-city celebration, with shows taking place in Cleveland on June 8, 2019, Atlantic City on June 29 and 30, 2019, and Mountain View, California on July 20 and 21, 2019.

Nick Karp, Loudwire

Nick Karp, Loudwire

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Why Did Warped Tour Come to an End?

While there had been rumors of the festival not being as profitable in prior years, Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman spoke of the traveling tour’s eventual downfall and marked it up to a loss of community.

Speaking on Kerrang!‘s Inside Track podcast in 2019, Lyman stated, “Ultimately, when I started to think about winding this down after 25 years, it was, ‘I think we’ve lost the sense of community.'”

“It took a community to make Warped Tour go,” he added. “Some of that was self-inflicted… I thought you addressed the fans that complain on Twitter! I was addressing everyone and tried to keep that conversation going, but you realize that you can’t really negotiate, debate, or educate on social media!”

Lyman also added that playing on Warped Tour also came with its own stigma, revealing that some bands turned down playing the festival because they didn’t want to be known as “a Warped act.”

Taylor Ward

Taylor Ward

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“This is what kind of pissed me off,” he recalled. “Because in 1997, ‘98, Pennywise couldn’t judge a band until you met ‘em in the parking lot. You’d be in line at catering because of this community setting with no dressing rooms. You’d meet these people, and they were musicians too. Then I started watching this community tear itself apart from within, with this band — not even meeting these people, just disagreeing with them or with how they look — bashing that band online.”

“People would come up to me on Warped Tour, and say, ‘Well, I don’t want to be on Warped Tour because Attila are on Warped Tour,’” he continues. “Have you met the guys in Attila? We’re not here to judge each other’s music. The fans will judge each other’s music.’ Atilla brings people. Do I personally run around screaming ‘Suck my fuck?’ No. Do you? No. But they’re good musicians and they’re not bad people. I’ve never seen them do a bad thing to someone.”

“Every year, I’d send offers, and just — ‘We don’t want to tour with those bands. We don’t wanna be a Warped-esque bands,'” sighs Lyman. And it’s like, dude, Warped-esque bands — you mean Bad Religion. A Day To Remember. Paramore… it got very frustrating.”

Will Warped Tour Return?

Though Warped Tour wrapped in 2019, there have been rumblings in the years since about a possible return.

In 2020, Kevin Lyman suggested in a tweet responding to a fan that it could eventually return, but with one caveat …. “it might just be called something else.” But, so far, there has not been a Warped Tour rehash under the old name or something different.

One other proponent of Warped Tour’s return has been Chris Fronzak, the vocalist for Attila. In 2019, Fronzak reached out to Kevin Lyman with a plan to resurrect Warped Tour.

“I’ve honestly been thinking about this for 2 years now,” he explained at the time. “In this time period I’ve formulated a business plan and setup that would be viable for both bands and @VansWarpedTour itself. I have a chip on my shoulder and I wanna prove to the world that rock isn’t dead.”

Then, in 2023, Fronzak revisited the idea of reviving the Warped Tour as part of his presidential platform, announcing that he had planned to run for President of the United States in 2024. “If you vote for me as our next president, I promise to bring back Vans Warped Tour,” he responded to a fan who suggested they’d have his vote if he brought back the popular tour.

So far, the Warped Tour has not returned.

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Gallery Credit: Loudwire Staff

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