Vans Warped Tour Announces Lineup for Final Summer

This post originally appeared on Boston Ska (dot) net.

“This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”

The Vans Warped Tour recently announced the lineup for their final summer tour. The list of bands is pretty underwhelming. Acts of note include Reel Big Fish and Less Than Jake, but none others with immediately appeal to the ska audience. (The Interrupters are appearing on select dates not including Massachusetts). The tour visits the Xfinity Center in Mansfield on July 27.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve really never been the target audience for Warped. I was never a big festival guy in the first place and I’ve certainly aged out of their ideal demographic. I went a few times in the Mid-00’s and did enjoy myself, but I won’t pretend to have any glory days stories from the 90’s. Like many other musicians, I definitely shamelessly shilled for my own band in an effort to get on an Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands stage (it never happened).

What struck me as I looked at this year’s line up was just how homogeneous the line up had become. The tour got its start including hip-hop and rap acts alongside ska-punk bands. Diversity was a strength. It wouldn’t have been off-brand for the tour to return to its roots and include a wider variety of acts. I’m not so naive to think including a slew of ska bands would have kept the tour afloat, it definitely wouldn’t. However, I recently read that hip-hop had recently become the most consumed genre. Why not take advantage of that? I understand that the concert-going audience has decreased and that the tour always had a challenging financial component, but I think there’s more going on here with regards to reaching young people anxious—aware of it or not—for music and community.

Any other pity I might have felt was lost when I read Warped founder Kevin Lyman’s interview with Billboard magazine. He has a complete disregard for sexual harassment and sexual assault. When considering where high schoolers have gone, he falls back on tropes and reports about young people not wanting to go out. I take that all with a grain of salt and the whole interview did not sit well with me. He deserves the respect and credit for getting this tour going but that doesn’t give him a free pass.

Regardless of how you or I might feel, this does mark the end of an era. Warped Tour meant lots of things to lots of people and helped many bands get in front of big audiences. Many all ages show-goers would never have had a chance to see some bands depending on where they lived. Having said that, I won’t be attending this year just for the sake of marking the milestone. I suggest heading to CA for Back to the Beach Fest, Brockton for Punk in Drublic, or Virginia for Supernova Ska Festival.

Vans Warped Tour 2018 Details

Friday, July 27, 2018, 11 AM
Xfinity Center, Mansfield, MA, 02048
Tickets on sale March 8, 2018. Collectible 3D tickets are on sale now.
More Mansfield Details from the Vans Warped Tour Website

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