If you ever fallen in love with the thrill of going to live shows to lose yourself in the crowd and get lost in the music watching your favorite band rip it up on stage and traveling across state lines to go live it up at a killer music festival then there’s a pretty high chance you’ve probably heard about the Vans Warped Tour. It’s surely earned it’s place and reputation in the music world over the last 2 decades that it’s been in existence.
The list of bands that have made their mark and left their blood and sweat on the stages of this music festival goes on for miles and the amount of music lovers that have created unforgettable memories at this legendary festival is off the charts. I know I certainly have, I couldn’t even tell you how many gallons of sweat i’ve lost and wicked tan lines i’ve gotten over the years at this fest under the blazing hot sun at the Central Florida Fairgrounds. I’ve even been fortunate enough to light it up on stage with one of my bands there, along with a few fellow bands.
Brief History Of The Warped
Vans Warped Tour definitely became one of the staple concerts for every passing year. First beginning in 1995 it was originally supposed to be called just “Warped Tour” but the following year in ’96 it gained the monumental sponsorship of the Vans skate shoe company and has been called “Vans Warped Tour” ever since. Over 1,000 documented bands have played this monumental fest.
This is excluding the Ernie Ball stage which is set for all of the local bands in each town to get up, set the stage ablaze and get some love and exposure in their own hometown. Vans Warped Tour has proudly taken the title of the longest running festival in the US with this year marking the 24th year straight and it’s also taken the title of the largest traveling festival with on average more or less than 100 bands play this stellar tour every cycle.
The musical flavors have definitely diversified over the years, Vans Warped Tour originally started out as an Alternative Rock fest, but then started to take on more of a Punk Rock and Ska vibe, and since then has thrown in the metalcore and hip hop flavor. Musical acts like The Dropkick Murphys, Pennywise, Goldfinger, Flogging Molly, Black Dahlia Murder, As I Lay Dying, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Katy Perry, Incubus, Eminem, Ice-T, N.E.R.D., D12, and well the list goes on to close to 2,000 bands!
The Man, The Myth, The Legend Kevin Lyman
Born April 5th, 1961 out of Pomona, California, Kevin Lyman has had quite the exciting career in the music industry and is still going strong. He’s the founder of 4Fini which is a live event production company and brand strategy firm. Him and his company 4Fini has been involved with an extensive list of festivals, events, award shows, and concert tours worldwide but most notably of course the Vans Warped Tour. He’s also worked with Monster Energy, Rockstar Energy, Hurley, Vans, Volcom, Tilly’s and several more.
Lyman is currently active with 5 tours, Vans Warped Tour, Taste of Chaos, Whatcha!, INTOUR, and It’s Not Dead. Not to mention the slew of past tours and festivals, including Lolapallooza, Rockstar Energy Mayhem tour, Vans Triple Crown and around 23 more tours. He was actually working on the Lolapallooza music event for 3 years straight before he decided to start up the Warped Tour.
He’s been awarded the Humanitarian award twice for his philanthropic work through the Vans Warped Tour and various other activities. Vans Warped Tour usually always has food drives at each stop and in 2014 they were able to collect 33,000 pounds of food over the course of the tour cycle. He’s also co-founded the Unite The United Foundation along with John Reese. Unite the United is a foundation that helps raise money and support other non-profit organizations, thus far they’ve raised over 1 million dollars.
Lyman’s main focus over the past 2 decades has been the Vans Warped Tour but unfortunately he’s decided 2018 will be the last official year of the legendary tour, aside from a 25th anniversary show next year in California. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be stopping, he’s stated his next focus is his latest project FEND (Free Energy Not Drugs) which is geared towards bringing awareness to the Opioid drug epidemic. He’s also stated that he’s always wanted to be an educator in any way, so there’s no doubt he’ll be putting everything he’s got into this just like he did with Vans Warped Tour.
A Shining Light On Stage
With the simple fact alone that the Vans Warped Tour has been running strong for over 2 decades, showcased almost 2,000 bands that have poured their everything out onto the stages and it’s even traveled across the pond to Europe. There’s no surprise to hear that many bands have gotten their start or a tremendous push from this amazing tour early on in their careers.
Some along the lines of Eminem, Katy Perry, No Doubt, A Day To Remember, Blink 182, My Chemical Romance, Echosmith, Paramore and many others. Shucks, I even remember when the group Beebs and Her Money Makers from here in Orlando got asked to finish out the rest of the tour by Kevin Lyman himself.
The Impact and Life & Times of Vans Warped Tour
Vans Warped Tour has done so much for the music community than just be another music festival. It’s made an incredible impact in so many different ways, it’s helped bring punk rock a little more into the mainstream and gave a ridiculous amount of bands a megaphone to project their voice and message to the masses. This has helped so many bands catapault themselves further along the yellow brick road they began to pave for themselves to be seen and heard and truly make a name for themselves.
It’s made a tremendous effort to make massive charitable contributions to it’s community, almost setting a Guinness world record with it’s food drives, awareness campaigns for various concerns that needed light shedding, plus the delicious backstage band bbqs to help bring a sense of community to the tour. It’s also always been a down to earth environment where at any given moment you could randomly run into one of your favorite musicians out and about doing there thing. One of my favorites was personally running into Jason Butler of the incredible band Letlive and him just being an incredibly down to earth and humble person.
The One and Only
There will never be another festival quite like Vans Warped Tour, it came in right at the perfect time to fill a void the music scene was missing and paved the way for so many bands to do what they do best. It gave a place for teens to go and be whoever they wanted to be and just let loose and forget about the outside world for a moment. It brought a sense of community to the music world by not only giving people a chance to kick it with their favorite bands but also gave an opportunity for bands to be exposed to each other and create a much stronger bond.
It’s helped feed thousands and thousands of people through it food drives and bring awareness to the nation. It’s incredibly sad to see such a legendary music festival pass the baton off for another festival to pick up where it left off but the impact this festival has had over the span of time has surely left it’s mark in the music world. It’ll be incredibly exciting to see what Kevin Lyman has in store for it’s 25th anniversary show next year, I know I definitely plan on being there to let loose and have the time of my life. Where will you be?