Doom and gloom at the final Vans Warped Tour

Doom and gloom at the final Vans Warped Tour

Doom and gloom at the final Vans Warped Tour
July 11
19:16 2018

Vans Warped Tour did not go down without a fight — and neither did its fans.

The thousands of attendees gathered around the iconic, inflatable, ever-changing list of set times of the Warped Tour, seemingly unfazed by the summer heat, rain and cloud to ground lightening in the distance. Once they figured out when and where their favorite artists of the 67 would be performing over the next 10 hours, they trekked from stage to stage and puddle to puddle in masses. The event was a mixture of melancholy and excitement with veteran attendees mourning their misfit summer camp and first timers thankful to be a part of the final tribute.

Friday marked the final Vans Warped Tour at the Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas and the end of an era. While the tour will continue through the summer at other venues around the country, 2018 is set as the final year of the festival.

Founder of Vans Warped Tour Kevin Lyman announced in November that 2018 would be the last year of the cross-country Vans Warped Tour, but also said there will be a 25th anniversary event in 2019. Lynman created the 24-year tour in 1995 after working with Lollapalooza for three years. The festival has hosted thousands of bands over the years, many of which got their start on the tour and later rose to national notoriety. While some people suggested that declining ticket sales and band participation were the reason for the end of Warped Tour, others suggested that Lynman was simply exhausted from the consecutive summers on the road.

Either way, veterans and newcomers alike were surprised to hear about the death of Vans Warped Tour and traveled from all over the area to pay a final tribute at the mecca of metal.

“I’m actually shocked to be honest with you,” said Francisco Gonzalez, 33-year-old Dallas resident and eight-year veteran of Warped Tour. “I was not expecting it. It’s unpredictable, but I have a feeling that a few years later it’s going to be like, ‘Hey guess what, it’s not really the last one.’”

While many long-time attendees felt like they were saying goodbye to an old friend, others saw the event as the last opportunity to experience the hype that is Warped Tour.

“That’s the reason why I finally bought tickets,” said Tyler Clagon, a 26-year-old from Azle, Texas, and first-time attendee of Warped Tour. “I’m married with kids, but screw it. I’ve got to be here, man.”

English alternative rock musician Yungblud performs at the Vans Warped Tour in Dallas, Texas. This year marks the last official run for the music festival. Slade Meadows

The Vans Warped Tour is known for its heavy and sometimes abrasive music, ranging from the genres of metal, punk and rock with wide variations and classifications of each. The tour may not always be for everyone, but this iteration is more than a festival — it’s the death of an icon.

“It’s a f*****g blast,” Clagon said. “I mean, I don’t know half the bands, but man, it’s still a good time all around. There’s a few I’m looking forward to like Knuckle Puck and some of the ending bands, but mostly I’m just here for the experience.”

Some may say the best way to describe Warped Tour is as “choreographed chaos.” Thousands of people wandered from stage to stage in very little clothing. The air was perfumed with the scent of body odor and weed, and tattoos and piercings easily outnumbered the attendees. Girls flashed bands like Bowling for Soup, who promptly flashed them back. Upwards of 50 people crowd-surfed during Simple Plan’s set after the lead singer prompted people to take the opportunity to check it off of their bucket list.

Falling In Reverse ended the night at the Dos Equis Pavilion, but Warped Tour is unique in that it has no headliners. The bands rotate set times and stages at each stop along the cross-country festival in order to give every band a chance to shine and headline. Set times are not released until the morning of the tour stop, which are displayed on the inflatable list located at the gates of the event, making it a central hub for attendees.

With Warped Tour coming to an end, many people are wondering if the festival should, or even could, be replaced. The feelings on the subject vary widely from attendee to attendee.

Steve Bost attended the first Warped Tour in 1995 before Vans became the sponsor. He returned to Dallas to experience the final Vans Warped Tour with his daughter.

“I don’t really think anything can replace it,” Steve said. “Warped Tour was unique because you’ve got your metal bands. I went to Metal Mayhem a few years ago, and then of course they retired Edgefest, but Warped has its own unique [style] that you can’t see at too many other places.”

Both Steve and his daughter are sad to see the festival go but are not surprised considering the recent death of similar festivals, such as Edgefest.

“It would be cool if someone did come in and do something just because everything else around here has died off,” said Jade Bost, the 16-year-old daughter of Steve Bost and second-time attendee of Warped Tour. “Edgefest is gone, this is going to be gone and there’s not going to be anything else really to do.”

While Steven does not believe Warped Tour can truly be replaced, he welcomes the idea of a similar festival stepping forward to provide a stage for up-and-coming artists of the genre.

“It would be nice because it opens up a lot of bands that normally don’t get exposure,” Steven said. “It would be nice if we could see something like [Warped Tour] come around again.”

Another festival could arise and fill the void that will be left in the wake of Warped Tour, however, Clagon has his doubts that the event could be replaced by any other name.

“I don’t know, man,” Clagon said. “Yeah, you can always get some bands together, but [Warped Tour] always holds something dear to everybody’s heart, so we’ll see.”

But the final verdict from Gonzalez on replacing Warped Tour was a clear one:

“I don’t think so,” Gonzalez said. “There’s only one Vans Warped Tour.”

Featured Image: A young man crowd surfs during Simple Plan’s set at the Right Foot Journey Stage at the Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas. This was during the 24th annual Vans Warped Tour and its final tour. Slade Meadows

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Slade Meadows

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