After much speculation at the end of this summer, founder Kevin Lyman has announced that next summer’s iteration of the Vans Warped Tour—North America’s largest touring music festival—will be the venerable summer event’s final run.
Read more: Why Kevin Lyman won’t give up on punk rock
“I have been a very lucky person to have traveled across the country—sometimes around the world—as one of the founders and producers of the Vans Warped Tour,” says Lyman in a statement to AP. “And with many mixed feelings, I am announcing that the last full cross-country run will take place in 2018. In 1995, I had already worked many years in the music business—including spending four summers on the Lollapalooza tour—and I thought for one summer I would like go out and put on my own show, mixing music and action sports. With the support of so many people, I have now spent the last 23 summers bringing that show to a city near you. We have brought that show to over 11 million people around the world and watched that same world change while doing so.”
The Vans Warped Tour began in 1995 when Lyman envisioned a travelling cavalcade that would marry his loves of extreme sports and music. The tour’s maiden voyage of the U.S. included No Doubt, Deftones, Sublime, L7, Quicksand and Sick Of It All, alongside respected names in the skateboarding and BMX worlds. In the ensuing 23 years, Warped has hosted close to 1,700 bands from superstars (Blink-182, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy) to musical footnotes, as well as giving visibility to more than 90 nonprofit organizations (A Voice For The Innocent, To Write Love On Her Arms, Feed Our Children Now, Music Saves Lives, Hope For The Day, among many others), prompting Lyman to create his own nonprofit, Unite The United.
Citing both the increasing costs incurred by the physical nature of running the tour the way he does and the highly competitive climate for artist bookings, Lyman felt that the model of the touring festival had run its course. Although Warped as a travelling roadshow operation will cease to exist after next summer, Lyman will continue to create individual events under the banner of Warped (the recent Warped Rewind At Sea cruise), as well as other productions, such as the old-school-punk fest, It’s Not Dead. After this final 2018 cross-country run, Lyman will then be focusing on a series of special events in 2019 to commemorate Warped Tour’s 25th anniversary.
“Throughout these changes, the Warped spirit will manifest in other ways and—much to the chagrin of some—I am not done and have many more things I hope to accomplish for this scene that I have been so lucky to be part of,” Lyman says. “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, crazy adventure. Take care, and be safe.” alt
Watch more: Kevin Lyman on Warped Tour 2017