Living In a Post-Warped World: What’s Next?

Evangelia Livanos and Kevin Lyman
Julia Lofstrand Photography
– Evangelia Livanos and Kevin Lyman
speak at Pollstar Live! 2019
Living In a Post-Warped World: What’s Next?

Moderated by:
Mike Marquis, Paradigm Talent Agency

Kevin Lyman, CEO, Kevin Lyman Group
Evangelia Livanos, Owner, Synergy Artist Management, Co-Founder, Public Consumption Recording Company
Barbara (Babs) Szabo, Co-Founder, Emo Nite
Andy Serrao, GM, Fearless Records
Living In a  Post-Warped World: What
– Living In a Post-Warped World: What
Mike Marquis, Evangelia Livanos, Kevin Lyman, Andy Serrao, Babs Szabo
A panel of punk rock vets and enthusiasts discussed how Warped Tour ending its 24-year run of cross-country tours last summer has challenged rock bands and their teams to be more creative with their tours. 
Synergy Artists Management owner and Public Consumption Recording Company co-founder Evangelia Livanos noted that it’s going to be tough for a lot of the up and coming bands because they used to plan their careers around Warped, including timing the release of albums to coincide with the traveling festival. She added, “Bands have to become creative and we need better touring. There has to be less touring and less competitive tours.”
While rock artists don’t draw the same streaming numbers that hip-hop artists do, Fearless Records GM Andy Serrao pointed out that rock bands can still utilize the streaming data when routing tours. He brought up how hip-hop acts will use the data to see where their fanbases are – and they won’t go on tour until there’s a demand. 
Paradigm Talent Agency’s Mike Marquis added, “I think you have to look at creating interesting content and demand before you can even figure out a live show.” He noted that he’s told his bands before that they should wait to tour until after they make new music that resonates with people.  
One strategy that has seen success is embracing the streaming mindset of pairing acts from other genres, rather than sticking to only touring punk bands with other punk bands. 
“Streaming allows you to listen to Jimmy Eat World and then go right to Drake,” Livanos said. “A couple rappers and then a band or two, it rounds out the bill.” I think having different types of audiences come in is the way to grow.”
Coming up with unique tour packages that is so important when there are so many tours and bands out there – there’s gotta be a hook to it to catch people’s attention. 
Emo Nite co-founder Barbara (Babs) Szabo discussed a recent Emo Nite tour with 3OH!3 and Lil Aaron where they wanted to create a show with a vibe of a house party, where fans could come up on stage with the artists and the show would feature constant performances. She said, “It took so many conversations and logistics … We had to train everyone’s brain – this is cool, this is new, rather than band, break, band.” 
Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman chimed in to remind the audience that Warped was always about more than the music – that it’s about building community and giving back. 
“I just booked what I liked at Warped and my greatest concern was we worked with 90 nonprofits a year that were relevant to our artist,” Lyman said. “That’s what’s concerning me.”
He gave props to Szabo and Emo Nite, noting “they actually care about the culture of this, it’s not just led by dollars” but then called out festivals who are charging nonprofits to appear at their events. Lyman instructed, “Open your doors and let them do good in the world.”