Vans Launches Livestream ‘Channel 66’ Live From LA, NYC, Chicago, Mexico City


DTLA Vans is one of four urban locales where the brand’s new ‘Channel 66’ will livestream from

Vans, a brand long supportive of live music, today announced Chanel 66, an ambitious new livestream content platform self-described as “community radio meets public access TV.”  The channel, which can be accessed here, will feature a wide variety of live content weekdays from four urban locales: The General in Brooklyn, NY, House of Vans Chicago, Mexico City (broadcasting in Spanish), and Vans DTLA Channel 66 in Los Angeles, a reference to the brand’s 1966 founding, will feature musical performances along with DJ sets, radio shows, talks and workshops that will touch “music art, action sports and community,” according to the company. Preliminary bookings include Japanese Breakfast, Channel Tres, Vic Mensa, Laura Jane Grace, Duckwrth, Rosa Pistola, Flea, Serena Isioma, Action Bronson and skater Daniel Lutheran among others.

Additionally, Channel 66’s programming will feature recurring shows such as “Chessboxing with GZA” of Wu-Tang Clan greatness; a New York Hardcore show with Walter Schreifels of Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits, Rival Schools, CIV fame; the beloved Afropunk festival’s Channel Interference; Poetry and lyricism by Young Chicago Authors, a non-profit youth organization; The Girl Ultra Show, featuring the R&B artist from Mexico City; and an All Ages Show spotlighting Los Angeles’s rich DIY and punk heritage.

channell. 66

The Vans initiative also supports independent venues and retail, including the clubs Zebulon in Los Angles and The Empty Bottle and The Metro in Chicago. “Part of our programming vision for Channel 66 is to uplift independent venues, skate shops, and record shops,” Vans senior manager of lifestyle marketing Brooke Burt told Pollstar. “They’re the ones in the most need and it’s critical to us that these cultural institutions survive and we do what we can to uplift them and we’re doing that a few ways: We have an initiative right now called Foot the Bill where we’re letting partners design shoes and selling them on our site and we’re giving them 100% of the proceeds.”

Channel 66 will also feature programming from and by these venues. Other businesses supported by the initiative include indie labels Wax Trax!, Drag City and Numero Group and the skate shops Uprise in Chicago and Kingswell in Los Angeles.

The Vans livestream channel is only the latest live music initiative from a brand that has long supported live events. Vans is perhaps best known for its long term title sponsorship of Kevin Lyman’s Warped Tour dating back to 1994 and which sold over 11.5 million tickets across its 24-year run and hosted early performances from now-global superstars like Katy Perry, Eminem, Blink-182 and many others. That ended in 2018, the same year Vans pulled up the stakes on its Greenpoint, Brooklyn House of Vans space which it opened in 2010 as a concert venue and skate park inside a 25,000 square feet warehouse and featured a wide variety of free music events.
Over the course of the last decade, a number of brands that long supported music either decreased their live music programming or suspended it entirely. This includes most recently Redbull, but prior to that Converse, Mountain Dew, Intel, VitaminWater and Toyota’s Scion (which no longer exists) pivoted away from the music space. Vans more recently, moved over to pop-up events like the one in early-2019 in Detroit that featured a four-day concert and culture series at The Jefferson School  with a variety of artists including  Thundercat, Protomartyr and  Amber Mark among others.
Vans Warped Tour 2016!
Vans Warped Tour 2016 poster

Having long recognized the value and excitement of live performances, Vans’ Channel 66 initiative may be the best way to present live events in lieu of not yet being able to congregate in large numbers. All the platform’s programming, for now, will only be livestreamed.  The intrinsic value of live performances, explained Burt, “is one of the reasons we strategically chose to make Channel 66 live in the spirit of the House of Vans. If you were there you witnessed something special and intimate with you and the artists. And we wanted to replicate that through this platform by keeping it live only, even with the performances. So you have to tune in to watch it. And if you don’t tune in, you’ll miss it. So it replicates that to the best we can. That sort of IRL like tangible experience.”

At the same time Burt explains the local yet universal appeal Channel 66’s programming which “celebrates each of the four cities’ creative culture and creative identity, their heritage and subcultures. At the same time, we wanted those stories to be relevant enough to someone if you’re sitting in the middle of the country and you don’t live in these cities, it’s still going to be something that’s of interest to you.”

When asked about aspiring to the genius of community radio and cable access, which few Gen Z’ers may fully appreciate, Burt cites her “small but mighty” team. “A couple of people on my team, our backgrounds are in radio,” she says. “A lot of us started out in radio, so radio has such a special place in our hearts. And the way that it’s live and that it is so community-driven, there’s something to that that aligns with bands. And then the other piece is thinking back to ’90s public access, we always joke about “Wayne’s World,” but there is something to that and just giving people shows and letting them run with their crazy ideas. And that’s kind of the intent of this platform.”

Channel 66 went live on Feb. 8th and will continue to broadcast starting at 11:00am EST / 8:00 am PST every weekday with Friday nights featuring headlining live performances and DJ sets at