When the final cross country run of the Vans Warped Tour was announced, many fans were shocked and saddened by this announcement. For 20 plus years, the summer months were dedicated to this tour and the experiences that fans gained from what this event had to offer. For many bands, it marked a big opportunity to capture a fan base that might not have never known who they were if it wasn’t for Warped. This iconic series of shows helped make rising bands household names after their stretch of performances, giving them that launch that they needed to be some of the biggest names in the industry. For as long as I can really remember Warped Tour was the thing that everyone talked about in anticipation as the summer crept closer and closer, announcing their excitement for the bands that were part of the massive lineup.
When the 2018 run of the Vans Warped Tour stopped in Charlotte, NC fans waited in line for hours before the doors opened to be a part of the magic that this show offers. Once the gates opened, fans quickly packed the areas around PNC Pavilion, checking out merch, finding out what bands were playing where and attending some of the pre-show artist signings. It wasn’t long after the doors opened and the first few bands hit the stage that mother nature decided to cool things down by dropping heavy rainfall on the attendees, but that did not dampen their spirits in any form, but the rains brought clear blue skies for the remainder of the day after the clouds had passed.
There was a common thing among most of the bands that I spoke to, despite the sheer exhaustion that they faced after 19 shows in a row, was the legacy and history that the tour was going to leave not only just on the industry itself but on the bands as well. Many of the artists on this year’s run of the tour, had been fans in the crowd at one point, seeing their favorites playing on stage hoping to have that same opportunity one day, but now the tables had turned and this year they found themselves on the opposite side of the barrier. For them, that meant the most, being, involved in something that has had such a major influence on so many people’s lives over the years and also being a part of the history that is Warped Tour.
Even though the bands had been playing these same stages, across so many different cities and time zones over the past few months, many battling exhaustion and sickness, they still gave their everything on stage. At that is part of the power that the tour is, no matter what, you will get the best experience of your life, rain or shine.
I think the biggest question that fans walked away with after Simple Plan closed this night out is, “what happens now?” For many, this had become the summer escape, their ritual, the one constant in their changing lives, but now that is was over, what do they do next year? Knowing the music industry, the bonds and friendships that many of these artists have made, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more packaged tours happening the help fill the void that will be left in our summers, I also wouldn’t out the chance for a 3-day Warped Festival somewhere next summer or some pop-up dates around the country.
Never fear, I’m sure our summers will not change much, and we will still be able to create some amazing memories with our friends while checking out some of the next generation of musicians.
Thank you, Vans Warped Tour, 2018 was a magical year for all of us, thank you for the memories and thank you for exposing us to the music that we love.