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A summer tradition is coming to an end, and the man who started it fears the concert industry will leave too.
The Vans Warped Tour, an annual tour for teenage and young-at-heart rock fans since 1995, is no more. Tour founder Kevin Lyman announced this is the final year for his touring punk, metal and all-things-agro caravan, which rolled into Shakopee’s Canterbury Park Stadium for the final time Sunday with 40 bands spanning six stages.
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“Oh my God, this is the last time we’re going to park this car,” Lyman said from the road two weeks ago, a month before the tour.
Sunday’s regional final even prompted Gov. Mark Dayton to declare it “Minnesota’s Twisted Tour Day.” So wear your vans even if you’re not going to the concert.
Warped Tour, which began as a less artistic, more funky and wacky answer to the then-thriving Lollapalooza tours, became a vehicle for skateboarder punk bands like Pennywise, NOFX, No Use for a Name and Anti-Flag, and later became more emo-flavored. . Bands including All American Rejects, Take Back Sunday and Twin City’s Motion City Soundtrack (“I’ll never understand why they didn’t get bigger,” Lyman said of MCS).
But Warped has also featured hip-hop, reggae, ska and an array of acts not mentioned above over the years. It also nurtured some superstar acts along the way, like Eminem, No Doubt, Sublime, Kid Rock and Katy Perry (yep, that Katy Perry).
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In the Twin Cities, Lyman, his crew, and his mantra of keeping music festivals cheap and youthful have earned him a lot of respect from other seasoned concert vets.
“To this day, it was the most positive overall experience I’ve had on tour,” said Minneapolis rap stalwart Slug (Sean Daley), whose atmosphere was a big draw for the group in the mid-2000s. scrubbed from it to add to its successful festival soundtrack.
Despite being indie-rap outsiders on the track, Slug recalled, “All the other bands were so cool and welcomed us, and that was the whole attitude behind the tour.” He also remembered how hard the crew worked: “I’ve never complained that any of my tours were too tiring after Warped.”
Rose Presents Vice President Gene Hollister was also amazed at the painstaking work being done. Rose has partnered with Lyman every year, the local promoter stops in the Twin Cities area of the tour, including the 1998 installment where Warped famously paired with Ozzy Osbourne’s Ozfest in Somerset, Wis.
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“The staff gets there at 6 in the morning, they’re ready to open by 11, and then by midnight they’re ready to pack,” Hollister said. “And then they do it all over again the next day in another city.”
Lyman, reached by phone on a rare day off, said the chaotic day-to-day schedule kept him from getting “too emotional” about the termination. Part of the reason he ended it was the daily grind: “This was every summer for me,” he said.
The 57-year-old Roddy is also excited about his next ventures, which include becoming a professor at the University of Southern California and the leader of FEND (Full Energy No Drugs), a new organization to fight opioid overdoses. Here’s what Lyman had to say. .
On Warped’s continued vitality: “The numbers have been good for the last few years,” Lyman said. “But I felt we weren’t getting the 14- to 17-year-olds. Their first event was always attended by a large crowd of young children, but not so much in recent years. I think it’s more of a social thing than a crooked trip. Kids are distracted by video games, cell phones, Netflix, and a million other things. We didn’t see the crowds we depended on for refills. There are also plenty of other festivals. “
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On what Warped’s end means for other tours and festivals: “I’m in awe of the industry I’m in. I say to my friends in the industry: We need to focus on how these people appreciate moving forward. To see live music. Because by the time they’re 18 to 21 and they’re not already going to live shows, it’s not going to become part of their DNA like so many of us before them. As I leave this tour to become a professor, I’m going to talk about these issues with my students. Going to solve a few.
On Canterbury Park, Warped’s Minnesota home for a decade: “The people who own the racetrack have always been very supportive. For us, it’s about finding the right kind of rental deal that can make this trip work at the low ticket prices we always want to maintain. They are great at it. And I think a lot of the kids coming out are from those cities. Our numbers are always very strong.
On a one-time-only combo with Ozzfest at Float-Rite Park in 1998: “We were still kind of on the fast track as a tour, so they gave us a football field half the size to do the full Warped tour. It was interesting to navigate the world of Ozzfest and they It was interesting to see that the backstage had like 27 layers, and we had one pass that you could take anywhere.
“We had to leave early that day, but we decided to go up there on a hill and shoot bottle rockets at the Ozzfest stage and the buses, and then we left. We had fun with it, and I think it – in terms of numbers and audience – showed that Warped Tour wasn’t just a little sideshow, it was a real thing.
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On Warped Tour’s Most Famous Alumni: “People think Eminem was the first hip-hop artist we had, but we already had the Alkaholiks and some others. I knew he was going to break, and he knew we helped. .The next year he recognized [his security team] when he sent D12 to some Warped shows.
“Katy Perry is the epitome of a warped artist: She worked her ass off. We were working on her breakout on the radio that summer, so she was doing 5 a.m. radio shows, doing TV, and then coming to the venue. And she was always on Warped Tour. When asked about its timeline, she says, ‘It taught me how to be a live performer.’
“Kid Rock, I knew he was going to be a star. He knew it for sure. He was a hypocrite. He is still a hypocrite. But it works for him. He’s one of those guys who sometimes talks about Warped Tour, but that’s okay. He was playing on a 1-foot stage and was paid $100 a show.
On why Warped doesn’t cater more to its original, Gen-X-aged crowd: “I noticed as my own friends got older, they weren’t physically strong enough to be out in the sun all day. Ward Tour is physically demanding. There are no animal comforts on this tour. But I always felt that Warped’s main mission was trying to replenish the indie and punk scene by bringing in new people.
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On the renewed interest in the final tour: “At times the crowds are bigger than ever. We may have our second biggest summer overall. We see a lot of audience
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