It’s the final cross-country voyage of the Vans Warped Tour. Since 1995, the unofficial punk rock summer camp has introduced us all to iconic acts from Bad Religion to Katy Perry.
The final lineup stood tall on the legendary inflatable board. 3Oh3! Is one the main headliners this year making it their sixth appearance. Less Than Jake is one of the few that has played the most with 10 appearances and playing selected dates on this run.
The largest and longest-running traveling music festival kicked off at the Pomona Fairplex on Thursday, June 21. Every show at every venue has a different layout. The Fairplex in Pomona, the home of the LA County Fair hosted it one last time on Thursday, June 21st and the sold-out Ventura date that sold 17,000 tickets.
Each date of this last Warped Tour includes different headliners. Pomona hosted Reel Big Fish, The Used, Simple Plan, Motionless in White, Black Veil Brides, We the Kings, Tonight Alive, Echosmith, and 3Oh!3 It was recently announced that Joan Jett and The Blackhearts will be joining in the fun in Noblesville, Indiana.
Ventura was lucky enough to have Taking Back Sunday headline their main stage and future dates on the run will have Pennywise and Story of the Year join in on the fun one last time.
Paul Cimarusti, who attended the Ventura stop, first went to Warped Tour in 2005 to specifically to see Thrice but he ended up experiencing his best memory years later in 2009.
“My favorite memory was when I got to see Meg and Dia perform and meet them at their tent.” They were awesome and super sweet,” he added.
That’s how eclectic Warped Tour has been for the last 24 years. You can see from the heaviest sets to the more pop-subtle acts like Meg and Dia.
Yet, Warped Tour was the spot to meet your favorite acts. For Adrianna Castillo from Mexico City it was running into the Craig Mabbitt of Escape The Fate in line for beer.
“I can’t believe that just happened!” as she looks down on her selfie with Mabbitt.
Castillo who was here with a couple of her cousins couldn’t contain her excitement.
“It’s a family affair. I have traveled the last few years from Mexico to meet up with my cousins for this. I’m going to miss this tradition next summer.”
Castillo added that the festival had tried something in her hometown but it got postponed. Warped Tour has gone international for several years now. This year, Japan will host and will be headlined by Korn who have never played the festival.
Even though this year’s lineup did not have the impact some fans wanted for the final run, one thing still thrived: dedication. Up and coming artists were handing out music in the parking lot as always, posters were plastered on the fences, fans were still able to meet bands at their tents and even more so, kids were able to be active with all the non-profits tents educating them from Pitbull love and political activism.
The relevancy of the tents flourished more than ever. All the activism and non-profits tents, including Warped Tour’s founder, Kevin Lyman’s FEND eagerly sought out the attention of festival goers. FEND, which stands for Full Energy No Drugs wants to educate people on the opioid crisis the country is facing.
At the reveal party Lyman mentioned that music drove him to do a lot of things and FEND is the new direction that Warped Tour is taking him.
What will next summer be without Warped Tour next year? Where will punks go to mosh? Where will the kids go to experience 10 bands at the same time? Sure, other festivals exist. Some, better than others but none will ever have the attitude and the nostalgia that Warped Tour carried.
There a few more weeks left for the final run. You can find dates here.
WORDS BY CYNTHIA JO
PHOTOS BY MEG LOYAL PHOTOGRAPHY