One day, you’re a young punk, body-surfing shirtless across a sweaty crowd of high schoolers. The next, you’re worrying about your own kid behaving like a little punk in his seventh-period history class. Life is impermanent and ever-changing. Time can temper and mold even the most hard-core into mortgage-having, child-rearing, carpooling taxpayers.
That is, with one exception: Vans Warped Tour.
Since 1995, the only thing the world could count on through four presidents, a major recession, and several wars is that each summer would bring Warped Tour to a city near you. Until now.
Last November, in a statement titled “All Things Must Come to an End,” Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman announced this year's fest would be the last. The annual rock summer camp outlasted even some its most famous participants. Entire careers have launched and folded — Motion City Soundtrack, My Chemical Romance, and No Doubt, to name just a few — in the time the tour has existed.
Next month in West Palm Beach, Warped Tour will say goodbye, and that sucks. Many of us have outgrown the need to spend an entire day running from one dusty stage to another while smothered by unbearable heat and teenage angst. But having that experience was almost a rite of passage for so many music fans across the nation.
For better or worse, Warped Tour has remained pretty much unchanged for at least the past decade. In addition to always being there for America’s teenagers, the tour has also helped propel up-and-coming bands to stardom, including Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, and Jimmy Eat World. It has featured a diverse cast of characters, such as Cypress Hill, Green Day, the Black Eyed Peas, and even Katy Perry.
More than 50 bands are scheduled to perform Sunday, August 5, at Coral Sky Amphitheatre (with no burgeoning pop stars that we know of). Here’s a quick-ish list of some of our favorites worth seeing across the six stages.
Pennywise (Journeys Left Foot). The most old-school of all the legacy bands on the 2018 lineup, Pennywise was on the second-ever roster (and the first sponsored by Vans). The SoCal punks are the epitome of all things Warped tour: ageless, loud, and still pissed off about the shitty state of the planet.
Less Than Jake (Journeys Right Foot). Returning for a recording-setting 12th time, the Gainesville natives will help close out the fest they practically own. If anyone should be here for this farewell, it’s Less Than Jake. Perhaps the only ones who have supported LTJ more than Warped Tour are the bandmates' parents. Maybe.
Reel Big Fish (Journeys Left Foot). Another festival favorite that seems to have a preferred parking space at Warped Tour is the never boring Reel Big Fish. Mainstays of the circuit, Aaron Burnett and his rotating troupe of bandmates always have an energy that exhausts even the tweens.
New Found Glory / Simple Plan / We the Kings (Journeys Right Foot). The simultaneously best and worst thing about Warped Tour is the sheer number of acts on the bill. Attendees have plenty of options but also some hard choices to make. That being said, the Journeys Right Foot Stage is stacked this year. Three festival vets will share the venue throughout the day: the South Florida hometown heroes of New Found Glory, who have been around since Warped Tour’s infancy; Simple Plan, which is only second to LTJ in fest appearances; and We the Kings, yet another great band from Florida with the hooks, the harmonies, and the home-field advantage that provides another reason Warped Tour was smart to end its run in the Sunshine State.
Mayday Parade / State Champs / Waterparks (Journeys Left Foot). Although the Left Foot Stage isn’t quite as strong as its counterpart, these bands are by no means chumps. On the one hand (or foot, ha, sorry), Mayday Parade provides expansive, sweeping rock anthems with an occasional piano ballad. Meanwhile, State Champs and Waterparks are both emotive but punchy, creating a balance worthy of teenage feelings that spike or plummet at a moment’s notice.
The Maine / Real Friends / This Wild Life (Journeys Right Foot). Oh, hey, we’re back on the right foot. Weird. It’s like this stage is really, really damn good or something. Anyhoo, the bands rounding out the strength of this group are a trio of emo/pop-rock all-stars. There's the Maine, Real Friends, and This Wild Life. They continue the cathartic and rousing songwriting traditions of Dashboard Confessional and Warped Tour alums such as Good Charlotte and Taking Back Sunday.
As It Is (Owly.fm). A number of bands performing on the Owly.fm Stage could be the unexpected standout act of the day. For its part, As It Is combines the eternally appealing combo of sensitive frontman/lead singer, endearing melodies, and the occasional crunch of a guitar. Also worth checking out are Broadside, Knucklepuck, and Trash Boat.
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Lighterburns (Full Sail). Although the San Diego three-piece is a recent addition to the musical landscape, Lighterburns is precisely the sort of band Warped Tour has helped to make popular for so long. It's the prototypical alternative band with just enough pop sense to craft the kind of catchy song the tour loves. A cross between the Ataris and Unwritten Law, the Lighterburns have a sound the kids love. It's the same sound that has drawn the kids out of their holes and into the sunlight each and every summer for Warped Tour.