“We went back to the basics with Warped,” Lyman told Pollstar. “We were a little too all over the place.” The reboot includes a straightforward lineup versus last year’s, which Lyman thinks showed too much of his eclectic taste in music.
Also, this year, the crew has been reduced from more than 900 to 800. The onsale began at the end of March versus last year’s tour, when sales began the previous December. And Lyman is keeping his hands off the keyboard.
“Last year, I tried to tackle the woes of the whole world,” he said. “Some of this had to do with some of the artists that were on tour.”
The last tour included allegations of sexual misconduct by Jake McElfresh, who performs as Front Porch Step, and Jonny Craig, singer for Slaves.
McElfresh was accused of sexting with underage girls and Craig harassing the band’s merch employee. The latter led to a “town hall meeting” of the touring entourage and both led to Lyman in online discussions. As he has said in the past, Lyman told Pollstar the only options were to ignore it or to “double-barrel shotgun” it.
“I thought, from the old punk rock days, you could talk to people and confront them. … There were ways to do it and I was trying to fix it all on tour and it wasn’t working.”
This time, Warped is partnering with A Voice For The Innocent, which will help new artists adjust to the road life and manage themselves in a world of social media. Warped and Voice are launching “Save Our Scene,” a campaign to reduce sex crimes in the music industry.
“Any fan will be able to pick up information on local hotlines, local centers, local things for sexual abuse, people they can talk to in their community if they feel in danger,” Lyman said.
Also, a streamlined lineup means Warped returns to the days of the veteran bands – in this incarnation Sum 41, Less Than Jake, New Found Glory and Reel Big Fish – mentoring newcomers like Issues and Sleeping With Sirens.
Finally, there is the onsale. There was no fan club presale or American Express or Groupon sale. The tour announced its lineup then put tickets on sale. That was it, and it was done recently, yet Lyman said it’s tracking better than the last time around when the sale launched in the prior year.
“You always read about how everybody is going earlier with their onsales. I pushed it the other way,” he said. “We didn’t go on sale until March 28.
“I think a lot of reselling has to do with people whose lives change in eight months. All these tickets are bought then they realize they can’t get off work, their lives change, their music tastes change and you see a lot of tickets hitting the secondary market.”
Another advantage is it reduces the effort of maintaining a long marketing campaign, Lyman said. Instead, the tour announced the “90 Days To Warped Tour” program, which is now about 30 days in.
“We give each band a day to take over our social media outlets,” Lyman said. “They’re releasing music, putting out videos. It’s their day to shine.”
It all comes down to simplifying the message, he said.
“We’re going back to basic messaging. People just want it straight: What do tickets cost?”