Vans Warped Tour has a problem. It won’t be news to anyone who’s attended the festival, or paid attention to its lineups over the course of the last 20 years, but the bands that populate Warped’s roster historically fall into two categories: the hated and the undeserving.
Well, according to the internet, anyway. 140 character criticisms run the Warped gamut, quoting a myriad of complaints. Unproven, overrated, misogynistic, and outdated blanket most attendee’s issues, with sexist allegations recently swinging to the top. Whether rightfully or wrongfully, Warped Tour’s become Twitter’s punching bag, and it’s a bit over-the-top. Unbridled negativity needs to stop overshadowing the great experience Warped Tour provides.
My Warped Tour included more high notes than I could have imagined. I bookended a great day between a funk/R&B/rock band’s acoustic and electric sets. I watched a new friend play with a buzzing pop-punk band and old friends rampage through an experimental post-hardcore set. I enjoyed a female-fronted pop-rock show from a band I’d never experienced. I partied as easycore’s bearded return made a massive crowd go wild. I sang along to an acoustic duo’s soft show. I saw one of my favorite bands play Warped on their final year together. I jumped around as my childhood favorites performed a secret set with surprise collaborators.
I had a blast.
And my friends? They loved it, and experienced an entirely different show. The nostalgic went for Through Being Cool, Ocean Avenue, The Walking Wounded, and What It Is To Burn. The youthful launched towards What You Don’t See, Fashionably Late, and Issues. We all spent our day in different ways, and rarely saw each other – exactly the way Warped Tour should be.
And make no mistake – you’re going to hate a few Warped bands. I’d be pleased as punch if Attila was thrown off the tour (or the nearest cliff), but their presence at Warped was unbeknownst to me. I didn’t want to see the band, so I didn’t. There’s enough quality and variety that attendees can simply avoid any acts they’re not interested in.
And if you don’t care for the roster, or if you staunchly disagree with a band’s inclusion? Don’t go to Warped Tour. It’s a perfectly acceptable solution – no hard feelings from Kevin Lyman or other attendees. Voting with your wallet is the best way to both support and inspire change.
It’s simple, really. There’s Warped pros and there’s Warped cons. There’s valid points on both sides from highly passionate people. We’ll all make our own decisions, but you’ll definitely find me sunburned each summer.