Kevin Lyman Announces Warped Tour’s Final Cross-Country Run

After 24 years, the traveling festival extravaganza known as Vans Warped Tour will put on its final full-fledged run in 2018.

Tour founder and producer Kevin Lyman posted a lengthy statement on about Warped’s last big hurrah, noting that he had “many mixed feelings” about the news.

Kevin Lyman
Chad Sengstock
– Kevin Lyman

By referring to the 2018 outing as the “final, full cross-country run of the Vans Warped Tour,” the statement seemed to leave the door open for smaller excursions. At the least, fans can count on something happening in 2019 to mark the tour’s 25th anniversary.

“It will be bittersweet each morning when I see the sun rise and then watch it set knowing that this will be the last time I get to witness it from that exact spot,” Lyman said about the 2018 tour.

“Though the tour and the world have changed since ’95, the same feeling of having the ‘best summer ever’ will live on through the bands, the production teams, and the fans that come through at every stop.

“The enduring spirit of the Vans Warped Tour remains as bright as ever, continuing to inspire creativity and ambition in new and exciting ways as we prepare for a 25th anniversary celebration in 2019.”

Pollstar spoke to Lyman last week for a separate story and although he didn’t mention that Warped Tour was coming to an end, he did bring up that the festival wasn’t seeing as many young fans attending the shows.  

“That super young side of our demo just seemed to want to stay inside and watch Netflix. Our age group actually went up last year on Warped tour. It went from like 16 to almost 19. Almost 3 years older last year,” Lyman said.

He added that this is a worrisome trend for the industry in general.

“I think the whole industry needs to worry about it. There’s a lot of reports that came out this summer. I thought it was Warped Tour but [now] I think it’s societal probably. They say 14- to 17-year-olds are a lost generation to their smartphones. They’re just staying in their rooms and looking at Netflix or Snapchat, social media.

“They’ve disappeared from Warped tour this year. I’ve been telling people, ‘Look, if those 14- to 17-year-olds don’t turn into 18- to 21-year-olds that start going to concerts you lose them because concerts get imprinted in your DNA by the time you are 21. If you’re not going to shows by the time you’re 21, chances are they’re not gonna be that important to you.’”

Pollstar also talked to Lyman in late June about Warped Tour’s debut cruise, Warped Rewind At Sea. During that interview, which took place a few weeks after the 2017 tour had kicked off, Lyman also mentioned the younger demographic not being represented in the audience at the initial 2017 gigs and suggested that it might have something to do with a feeling of fear that has permeated a large portion of the U.S.

“You know when you read in the country that 38 percent of people are scared to go into crowded places … My younger demographic, the 13- to 16-year-olds, I know it has something to do with the lineup but that kid has somewhat vanished right now. I’m kind of thinking and the more I’m reading about the general mood of the country and now that we’re [touring] these places … I don’t know where the younger kids are and I think it might be …  those kids whose parents are like, “You know what? [Rather than going out] you’re going to watch Netflix all summer.”

He added, “I think culturally right now there’s a lot of people who are just really leery … That’s my gut [feeling]. … But you know, I was starting to talk to promoters and they said tickets are starting to sell. It might have been the weird routing we had, two days up in the Northwest, three days off, then the hottest part of the tour. Now maybe we’re getting the momentum behind Salt Lake and Denver, where people are talking online [about] how great of a show [it is]. It’s such a fun show, the bands are so good this year.”

Lyman’s statement about Warped Tour’s final full-fledged run thanks Darryl Eaton at CAA, Vans Vice President Steve Van Doren and his family, along with his “hard ass working crew,” the tour’s sponsors, the bands and their crews and “the promoters who took a risk on us at the beginning and continue to be supportive.” 

The statement reflects on the impact Vans Warped Tour has had on the music industry, from being “the platform to witness the rise of pop punk with Sum 41, Simple Plan, MxPx, New Found Glory and Good Charlotte” to the place to catch artists like “The Black Eyed Peas, Katy Perry, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, No Doubt and even Kid Rock” before they moved on to big venues and shows including the Super Bowl.

“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 added.

Lyman also mentioned the ways in which Warped Tour has given back to the community, including working with more than 90 non-profit groups each summer and hosting volunteer days each year. 

My brain is etched with the image of the church ladies after Katrina serving beans and rice to The Casualties with their upright mohawks, finding a common ground where no one was judging anyone,” Lyman said. Then finding out the only working business in the county seemed to be the moonshine still and the locals showing up with a crate to share with the crew later that evening.

Pollstar has nearly 800 box office reports for Vans Warped Tour, dating back to 1999, with an average of 11,961 tickets sold per show and an average gross of $339,405 per show.

Today’s announcement is accompanied by a list of dates and cities for 2018, launching June 21 in Pomona, Calif., and wrapping Aug. 5 in West Palm Beach, Fla. Fans can preorder Forever Warped Bundles and Best Day Ever Bundles now. 

You’ll have to wait to see the 2018 lineup but it’s safe bet that Lyman is going to put together something special.

Check out the routing below:

June 21 – Pomona, Calif., 
June 22 –  San Diego, Calif.
June 23 – Mountain View, Calif.
June 24 – Ventura, Calif.
June 26 – Phoenix, Ariz.
June 29 – Las Vegas, Nev.
June 30 – Salt Lake City, Utah 
July 1 – Denver, Colo.
July 3 – St. Louis, Mo.
July 5 – Bonner Springs, Kan.
July 6 – Dallas, Texas
July 7 – San Antonio, Texas
July 8 – Houston, Texas
July 10 – Nashville, Tenn.
July 12 – Virginia Beach, Va.
July 13 – Camden, N.J.
July 14 – Holmdel, N.J.
July 15 – Hartford, Conn.
July 16 – Pittsburgh, Pa.
July 17 – Toronto, Ontario
July 18 – Cincinnati, Ohio
July 19 – Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
July 20 – Detroit, Mich.
July 21 – Chicago, Ill.
July 22 – Minneapolis, Minn.
July 23 – Milwaukee, Wis.
July 24 – Indianapolis, Ind.
July 25 – Darien Center, N.Y.
July 26 – Scranton, Pa.
July 27 – Mansfield, Mass.
July 28 – Wantagh, N.Y.
July 29 – Columbia, Md.
July 31 – Charlotte, N.C.
Aug. 1 – Atlanta, Ga.
Aug. 3 – Orlando, Fla.
Aug. 4 – Tampa, Fla.
Aug. 5 – West Palm Beach, Fla.

Francisco Rendon contributed reporting to this story.