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Our thoughts on the final Vans Warped Tour lineup

Vans Warped Tour — the iconic music festival, which has served as a pitstop for just about every pop punk, alt rock, and post-hardcore band since its inception — released this summer’s lineup on March 1.

After 23 installments, Founder Kevin Lyman announced in November that 2018 would be Warped Tour’s final run, making this year’s lineup even more important.

If you’re of a similar mind to many scene followers, then you’ve noticed Warped Tour’s lineups dipping in quality over the past five or so years — steadily moving away from its early 2000s culture that fostered punk, pop punk, alt rock and even some hip-hop. Warped was an industry stepping stone for bands outside of the mainstream, and if a band conquered the festival, then it could do anything.

But fans have started to speak out.

And the vitriol came to a head in February, when Warped’s Twitter account got into a spat with fans and bands over the criticisms — just like mine — that they couldn’t book a good lineup.

It’s clear they see this through a different lens, one that seemingly defers some responsibility to the bands that don’t want to play the festival. This type of outburst from a corporate account came as quite a surprise to many, but I have to give the organization credit for acknowledging issues that fans of the scene have been grumbling about for years. They are not absolved of accountability by any means, but it is nice to hear the other side of the coin here.

Now, back to the lineup.

One disappointment is the amount of bands that are only playing a couple dates:

  • All Time Low: 6/22 – 6/24
  • Taking Back Sunday: 6/24
  • Sum 41: 7/17
  • Underoath: 7/16 – 7/18

On the bright side, the festival will showcase pop punk veterans Bowling for Soup for a handful of shows, Mayday Parade, Simple Plan, Warped Tour (very) regulars We The Kings, and a healthy dose of a little bit of everything, including Reel Big Fish, 3OH!3 and August Burns Red.

This summer will also showcase the latest generation of pop punk — State Champs, Sleep On It, With Confidence, Real Friends and LouderNow favorites Knuckle Puck are penciled in for every stop.

Warped sprinkled in a little bit of the old and a whole lot of new with its final installment. You can bet LouderNow will be in attendance when Warped hits Southern California in June.

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