Vans Warped Tour, an iconic traveling alternative rock summer music festival, will cross the country one last time in 2018 — one year before its 25th anniversary — and members of Loyola’s alternative, hardcore and indie rock club, Loyolacore, are sad to see it end.
Kevin Lyman, the founder of Warped Tour, broke the news in a Nov. 15 statement posted on the tour’s official website. In a subsequent exclusive interview with Billboard Magazine, Lyman cited declining ticket sales and exhaustion as two reasons for the decision to discontinue the tour. He didn’t return The PHOENIX’s request for comment at the time of publication.
“Though [Warped Tour] and the world have changed since [the first tour in 1995], 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,” Lyman said in the statement. “I truly look forward to seeing as many of you as possible during this final cross country run, and getting to thank you for your support on this wild adventure.”
Vans Warped Tour has hosted more than 1,700 alternative rock and pop punk bands during its 23-year run, including Fall Out Boy, Simple Plan, Blink-182 and several other stand-out artists. The tour has also worked with charities such as To Write Love on Her Arms, an organization that helps those who struggle with depression, and the music-motivated blood drive Music Saves Lives. The tour has come to Chicagoland every summer since it began, visiting the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater (19100 Ridgeland Ave.) in the southwest suburb Tinley Park.
Vice President of Loyolacore Alex Sabatini has attended the tour every summer since 2011 and said he was devastated when the news broke.
“I had a very visceral reaction,” Sabatini said. “My friend messaged me the [official statement] and I thought, ‘This can’t be true.’ I actually started crying.”
Sabatini, a senior psychology major, recognizes the impact that a “safe space” such as Warped Tour can have for members of the alternative and indie music scenes — including himself.
“I used Warped Tour as a way to release pent-up frustrations and angers and emotions that build up from day-to-day life,” Sabatini said. “It’s one of the few times in the year where I can just be myself and let loose what I need to let loose.”
Senior criminal justice major Amber Loveshe, the president of Loyolacore, said the news of Warped Tour’s discontinuation came as a surprise to her.
“I just started going five years ago,” Loveshe said. “I feel like I didn’t get my full worth out of it compared to the people who’ve been going for 10 years.”
Besides feeling saddened by the end of the tour, Loveshe said she also feels somewhat frustrated about one of the alleged reasons behind it — reducing sexual misconduct in the music scene. In his interview with Billboard, Lyman discussed the recent rise in sexual harassment allegations in the entertainment industry since producer Harvey Weinstein was accused in October, and implied this also influenced his decision to end Warped Tour. According to Lyman, there haven’t been many incidents involving male band members harassing female fans on his tour, but it has happened occasionally. Some believe ending Warped Tour may prevent future instances of misconduct, but Loveshe disagrees.
“It doesn’t seem like that’s a way to fix the problem,” Loveshe said. “It seems to me that it’s punishing what’s already happened, but it’s punishing the wrong people and not getting to the actual problem.”
Sabatini said he acknowledges the problem of sexual misconduct in the music industry, particularly among alternative rock artists and some of their fans — most recently, rock band Brand New’s frontman Jesse Lacey confessed to soliciting inappropriate photos from an underage female fan.
“My one qualm with the [alternative rock and pop punk] scene is that so many of the guys in the scene are creepy,” Sabatini said. “There’s a lot of guys who aren’t… but there’s always people who will try to grab at girls [who are] crowd surfing. It’s like, ‘Why are [they] doing that? What’s the purpose?’”
No matter the reason behind Warped Tour’s end, Sabatini and Loveshe agree it’ll leave a void in the lives of alternative rock fans. However, Lyman said in his statement there’ll be a celebration of the tour’s 25th anniversary in the summer of 2019. The lineup for the 2018 tour hasn’t yet been announced.
To order presale packages for the 2018 Vans Warped Tour, visit www.vanswarpedtour.com.