A Profile Of The Vans Warped Tour

Anti-Flag at the 2006 Vans Warped Tour. Photo © Nicole Lucas

The Early Days of the Warped Tour:


In 1994, Kevin Lyman had a vision: after working on events that paired skateboarding competitions with live music, he decided to create a national (and later worldwide) tour, pairing extreme sports with live punk music. The shoe manufacturer Vans agreed to sponsor it and the tour was born.

In what has now become a regular summer event, the Warped Tour winds its way through the U.S. and Canada from June to August each year, before it hits a few stops outside of North America as well.


Sports to The Extreme:


The Vans Warped Tour is much more than simply a concert; it’s a full-blown event. In addition to the approximately 100 bands that play each date, there are all sorts of sports demonstrations, ranging from BMX bikes and skateboards on halfpipes and street courses to wrestling and other random bits of weirdness. Past years have even included motorcycles stunt jumping and a human cannonball.

The Warped Tour Flea Market:


The tour also features a concourse of booths that create a feeling of a punk rock flea market. Vendors on the tour include merchandise booths for the touring bands (often populated by members of the bands themselves, chatting with fans and signing autographs), random merchandise, skateboard companies, clothing manufacturers and politically active groups.

And yes, some music, too...:


But the tour really is about the music.

In its early days, the tour weighed heavily on punk to fill its roster, with the occasional hip hop or reggae artist to present a rounded out musical experience. Recent tours have relied more on pop punk, post-hardcore and emo; but there will always be the old-school punk standbys who have been a part of the tour since its inception – bands like Bad Religion, NOFX, Anti-Flag and The Casualties.


Photos From Warped Tours Past:

We have compiled some of our favorite recent Warped Tour memories in this listing of Vans Warped Tour photos from recent years.

Kevin Lyman - The True Warped Guy:


Proving that he’s not willing to take any part of the year off, Kevin Lyman also organizes the Taste of Chaos and Mayhem tours, and is a partner at Sideonedummy Records. Not only does he organize the tours, but he’s a fixture on site at each date. Keep an eye open and you may see him running around making sure the event goes smoothly. He truly may be the hardest working man in show business.

An interview with Kevin Lyman

On Beyond Warped:

As much as we might not always realize, the summer isn't only about Warped, and music isn't only about punk rock. There's a lot of music out there and a lot of music festivals. If you’re in the mood for more festival action outside of just punk rock, check some of these options out: