Twenty-five years ago, a man named Kevin Lyman had an idea, an idea that grew to become the largest traveling music festival that has ever assaulted the United States. On August 4, 1995, the first ever Warped Tour began its journey. The following year, the well-known shoe company, Vans, became the tour’s main sponsor. Over the last 25 years, hundreds of bands and artists have toured the country as part of Warped, giving punk and alternative rock music fans something to look forward to every summer. For some, Warped Tour has been a yearly tradition, for others, a dream waiting to become a reality. But as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and on July 21st, 2019 at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountainview, CA, Vans Warped Tour made its final stop.
Sets on Sunday kicked off at noon with the likes of Street Drum Corps, Farewell Winters, Shiragirl, and Confide, but a clear standout of the early afternoon portion of the day’s lineup was Circa Survive, the first band to hit the Vans “Off the Wall” main stage. Drummer Steve Clifford, bassist Nick Beard, and guitarists Brendan Ekstrom and Colin Frangisetto took their places, followed by lead vocalist Anthony Green. After a brief introduction, Green beckoned the crowd to come closer, drawing the crowd to the front. Giant beach balls were thrown into the sea of spectators as the first song, Act Appalled, began to play. Once the song began, Green jumped off stage and launched himself into the crowd, singing the entire first song suspended in the air by hundreds of hands supporting the singer’s weight. With the mic hanging between his teeth, Green returned to the stage, fans and first timers alike being treated to emotional and passionate performances of Child of the Desert and Holding Someone’s Hair Back, entertaining the masses with his resonating voice and a few mic stand tricks. Closing out their set with Get Out, Circa Survive set the tone for the day on a high note.
Vans Warped Tour offers an array of entertainment apart from musical acts. Between afternoon and early evening sets, including Thrice, Elder Brother, Juliet Simms, Hyro The Hero, The Starting Line, among others, festival goers also had the opportunity to watch skate demos on the half pipe and live wrestling courtesy of Lucha VaVoom. Or, for something more low key, attendees could walk through the Warped Museum curated by rock photographer Lisa Johnson, exhibiting art created throughout the 25 years Warped Tour has rocked the nation.
Many different genres of music have been added to Warped Tour’s lineups throughout the years, but punk has always been the true staple of the touring festival. In a sea of alternative, post-hardcore and pop-punk, one true punk band that gave one of the standout performances of the night was Sum 41. Clad in studded denim vests and ripped jeans, frontman Deryck Whibley took center stage, joined by guitarist Dave Baksh, bassist Jason McCaslin, and drummer Frank Zummo. Audience members got to rock out to classics like Motivation, Walking Disaster and In Too Deep, but of course with their new album dropping only two days prior, fans also got to hear one new track, Out For Blood, most of the audience already knowing the words and singing along. Without a doubt, Sum 41 pulled one of the largest crowds of the night, and did not disappoint.
The last day of the last Warped Tour was full of standout moments from each band that graced the stage. Atreyu surprised the audience with their cover of You Give Love a Bad Name, Yungblud brought out special guest Machine Gun Kelly to perform F**k The NRA, right before performing Move Along, The All American Rejects spotted a man in a banana costume and insisted he join them on stage for the rest of their set, and frontman of The Used, Bert McCracken dazzled the crowd with haunting recitations from Shakespeare between songs. But probably the most memorable moment of the night was one that wasn’t planned at all. NOFX was scheduled to perform at 9:30pm, but due to complications with travel, they were running behind. In true Warped Tour fashion, members of Sum 41, The Used, The Starting Line, Thrice, Atreyu, All American Rejects, Hyro The Hero, Yungblud, and Goldfinger from the day before joined forces to fill the time, performing covers of NOFX songs Stick In My Eye, Linoleum, and Bob, forming impromptu supergroups and keeping the crowd going until the headliners finally landed. To most, a headliner showing up late to the party would be an inconvenience, but what could have been a timing disaster turned into something magical. As far as send offs go, for Warped Tour 25, it doesn’t get much more punk rock than that.
CLICK HERE to view more pics of Atreyu.
CLICK HERE to view more pics of Sum 41.
CLICK HERE to view more pics of The Used.
CLICK HERE to view more pics of Lucha VaVoom.