According to a statement published by founder Kevin Lyman on the Vans Warped Tour website, the festival will conclude after the summer of 2018—it’s the last remaining major traveling festival in the country, and for those who grew up thrashing and moshing at Warped Tour shows, it’s a major nostalgic blow. It’s throw-out-your-Converse forever kind of news.
“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,” Lyman writes. It wasn’t always that way. The tour had a 24-year tenure, starting out with its slug as “punk rock summer camp,” adding bands like NOFX, Sick of It All and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and giving other bands like Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy their starts.
Aside from claiming that he witnessed “the birth of emo,” Lyman certainly has a set of superstar names to drop, at least ones that he’s seen rise to the top: “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,” he writes.
So why quit while you’re seemingly ahead? You’re burnt out and your demographic is changing drastically. As Lyman tells Billboard, “Before Warped I was on three years of Lollapalooza, so [it’s been] 26 straight summers out on the road. Not that I’m completely going anywhere, but traveling around the country with a tour this size in the landscape that we’re in is … to be honest, I’m just tired.”
The end of Warped Tour is due to a number of factors that Lyman outlines in the interview—he even cites the story that came out in The Atlantic about iGen (14-17 year olds, in Lyman’s Warped Tour analysis) that are sitting in their rooms with screens, rather than experiencing things. “If we don’t get kids out of their rooms and going to shows, they’ll turn into 18-to-21-year-olds soon … If you don’t have the DNA of going to concerts by then, it just doesn’t become a part of your lifestyle,” Lyman says.
Warped still has one final summer’s worth of dates to come. No artists have been confirmed yet, but Lyman hopes original Warped icons will join to make the last summer unforgettable. “You’re gonna see a big mix of bands I felt really embraced the Warped Tour lifestyle,” he tells Billboard. “I don’t want to say a ‘mature’ lineup, but bands that I think could use one more big push of Warped Tour to help further their careers.”
Read Lyman’s full statement on the end of Warped Tour here.