Pennywise’s Fletcher Dragge, Katy Perry & Industry Peers Pay Tribute To Vans Warped Tour Founder Kevin Lyman

(Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
– Bros:
Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman and Pennywise’s Fletcher Dragge celebrate the tour’s 15th anniversary at Club Nokia in Los Angeles Sept. 6, 2009. The band had the honor of closing out Warped’s final tour Aug. 5, 2018.
For a slew of bands, agents, managers, venue owners, production crews and fans alike, Vans Warped Tour’s final cross-country excursion was an emotional moment and marked the end of an era. Since the Warped Tour kicked off in 1995 with a 24-stop outing featuring Californian adrenaline-filled acts like Deftones, No Doubt, and Sublime, the festival became an important vehicle for legions of artists and their teams. 

The Vans Warped Tour was not only the launching pad for punk and rock bands like Paramore, A Day To Remember and Simple Plan, and helped sustain the careers of veteran acts including Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, Pennywise and NOFX, but its purview grew to include hip-hop and pop stars. Eminem, The Black Eyed Peas, and Ice-T appeared at Warped in 1999, Katy Perry performed there in 2008 and Demi Lovato in 2010 among others. 

But no matter the roster, at the heart of Warped is a sense of community fueled by youthful, non-conformist vigor as well as philanthropy and education – and at the center of it all is founder Kevin Lyman himself, one of the most genuine, conscientious and friendly humans you’ll ever meet. 
Pollstar reached out to a few artists and industry professionals and asked them to share some words about Kevin and/or Warped Tour.
Pennywise’s Fletcher Dragge
Having Kevin ask us to play the last Warp show, let alone actually play the last song was beyond an honor for Pennywise. As most everyone in the world of punk rock already knows ‘Bro Hymn’ is a song that’s about bringing friends and family together, and embodies the true spirt of brotherhood and over the last 20 plus years we’ve had some pretty amazing moments playing that song with Kevin and crew right up there with us on the warp stage.
We couldn’t be more thankful to have been part of such a life-changing tour for so many years, a tour that taught thousands of people how to come together and stick together, and stand by each other. Lifelong bonds were created that will never fade during those crazy summers. There has never been anything like it, and never will be again. We have [played] festivals all over the world and Warp was hands down the realest, most down-to-earth festival on the planet, period. I can personally say the some of the best memories of my life happened on those dates.
I will never forget Kevin for his kindness and unwillingness to give up. He was one of us. He followed his dream and never stopped. He made people’s lives better, from the fans to the crew to the bands. He made an everlasting mark on the world and for that we are all thankful.
CAA’s Darryl Eaton
[Warped Tour] started humbly the first year. We actually lost money the first year and CAA was a full partner. One of the scariest moments I had was telling my bosses that the thing we were working on all year not only didn’t make any money, but I needed a check to pay down out debts. CAA never hesitated. They saw the passion and that success was on the horizon. Like many people who became involved with the tour, it really gave me my start as an agent and set the tone for my entire 25-year career at CAA. 
Michael Kaminsky, President KMGMT, Inc
Kevin Lyman is my second dad. If he didn’t graciously take me under his wing when I first started working in the music industry, I honestly believe I would have grown up to be a different person. The sense of community, ethics and pride he conveyed to me is the foundation upon which my entire company, and most of our modern punk family, is built.

Katy Perry
Lisa Johnson
– Katy Perry
Katy Perry plays Vans Warped Tour 2008.
Katy Perry
I was incredibly grateful to have the Warped Tour be my first road experience, and am forever indebted to Kevin Lyman for rolling the dice on me when I was just a girl with a MySpace video. I still carry all of Warped’s lessons with me on tour now: hard work, going with the flow, and how to be the greatest juggler in this circus.

Rand Levy, Rose Presents founder
It’s not easy to be the Worlds Oldest Teenager, and have as deep a heart and soul and sense of charity as Kevin Lyman. Kevin is a magical combination of street sense and show business wisdom. He cares about his fans and created Warp events, year after year, that entertained and educated those fans, around the world. … And he helped a few bands too!
Matt Malles, Star Business Management partner
Kevin Lyman created a safe place for kids to be themselves. And that goes way beyond ticket counts and gross sales. Kevin instilled, in anyone that could hear him, that we could accomplish anything we put our minds to. He did this by hiring us, by corresponding with us and or by straight up teaching us. We are the underdog, we are the misplaced and we are the hardest working people you will ever meet. That is 100% due to Kevin Lyman and his belief in us.
Jake Round, President of Pure Noise Records
I started my label out of my bedroom in 2009. While it was still in the very early stages I spent three summers on the Vans Warped Tour in 2010, 2011 and 2012, selling merch for a friend’s label. During that time I got to know many bands, managers, agents as well as Kevin and his great staff. 
My career would not have been the same had I not spent those summers on the road. Kevin was one of the earliest believers in me and what I was doing. He took meetings with me before a lot of other people would answer my emails and took an interest in both me as a person and my bands that were starting to have success.
Warped Tour was a huge part of youth culture the last 24 years and everyone in the alternative rock space owes Kevin a huge thank you for helping to create and curate that for so long. Punk rock has always been a life style and I think for many kids across the world Warped Tour was the soundtrack to it. I am sad to see Warped Tour go but I am happy that Kevin finally has his summers back and wish him all the best with whatever is next for him. 
Less Than Jake’s Vinnie Fiorello
Warped Tour was a perfect storm of summer touring, great friendships between bands, and a built in audience. Warped became a great way for new eyes and ears to see and hear the band. It was the opportunity to reach into another direction when our core audience became abit older with more responsibilities during day time hours of Warped Tour. 
What started as “Punk Rock Summer Camp” pulled away from that not because the hard Work Work and ethics changed but what became a youth culture shift into gravitating towards different genres of music. That’s not a bad thing either because it added another layer to Warped that made it more diverse.
I’ve said it before, I say it again – Kevin Lyman is the hardest working person in the music business and Warped is responsible for more careers in the music world than we will ever know. 

Vans Warped Tour 2015
Lisa Johnson
– Vans Warped Tour 2015
Kevin Lyman poses with members of PVRIS, Beartooth, New Year
Kate Truscott, sponsorships & new business for Kevin Lyman Group
I have learned everything I know from the experiences that I’ve had because of the events & environments that Kevin has created. I have a life, a career, my best friends, and the best experiences of my life because of him, and these tours. Getting to work with Kevin every day for the last 15 years has taught be about the kind of leader, business person, and human I want to be, and I cannot wait to see what we as a company are able to create together in the future. Also – to any kid that gets him as a professor – buckle up, pay attention, and get a helmet, it’s going to be a hell of a ride.
UTA’s Dave Shapiro
When I began my career as an agent 15 years ago, most people wouldn’t take my call or give me the time of day, but Kevin made sure to invite me to his office each year to discuss my Warped submissions – and offers always followed. This is how Kevin made Warped so unique. It wasn’t about the biggest bands or the highest grosses, it was about the community helping each other out and supporting one another. Kevin understands this better than anyone and he built an incredible event rooted in these ethos, launching the careers of so many established rock artists today.
Randy Nichols, Force Media Management CEO
In the summer of 2006 Underoath was one of the biggest main stage headliners on Warped Tour. I had gotten a call that there were major internal problems between band members that were about to explode. I drove directly to the airport and booked the next flight. Due to thunderstorms I sat on the runway for five hours and couldn’t meet with the band to help. The only viable option to address the issue was to ask Kevin to talk to the band on my behalf.  Twelve years later I’m still blown away with what he did, he told the guys they should go home and work their problems out. He was more concerned with their mental health and future than having his main stage headliner finish the tour. At midnight I arrived to a surreal view of the parking lot where all the stages and buses were gone except Underoath’s bus sitting in the middle of the empty frame of what was once a Warped show.  I rode on the bus with them for 24 heading home and slowly began working with them on their issues. In 2007 the band returned to finish what they missed and we were excited to join Warped for three shows this summer to celebrate this history of the tour.
Everyone knows about all the bands that Warped Tour helped break but an even bigger story is the generation of music industry executives that Kevin inspired and educated who will leave their mark on the music industry for decades to come.
Scott McGhee, 1 Degree Entertainment Music & Management Group
Quicksand, Orange 9mm, CIV, H20, I stayed involved for the first three years with all my bands, me and Kevin. We had 15-17 people sharing bus space with all the bands. I think it’s really been a tremendous part of music and culture. That was the goal to a certain degree. For the lifestyle bands to have their time, to actually say something and to be part of something, and for kids to have something that was theirs, that they believed in and was part of their lifestyle and culture. It got huge, but at the same time they did a great job keeping the identity of what that really was. They brought it to a bigger level but continued to cultivate younger artists. They believed in, and cultivated and developed, some really young great talent over the years. And that’s what it was about from the beginning. And they carried it all the way through. I was really proud of being a part of it, and I think they’ve done a fantastic job, Kevin and his team, keeping the integrity of what it was.