The Vans Warped Tour presented by Journeys hit Nashville yesterday, where about 12,000 turned out to the Tennessee State Fairgrounds to see upwards of 100 bands. Tour founder/producer Kevin Lyman tells Billboard that attendance will hit about 520,000 this year, on a par with some of the tour's most successful years ever. Among the headliners this year were Breathe Carolina, Dangerkids, Less Than Jake, Issues, Of Mice And Men, The Summer Set, Watsky, We The Kings, 3OH!3, Bad Rabbits, Bayside, Save The Day and Yellowcard.
With its non-profit exhibits, educational "classrooms" led by bands, "reverse daycare" for parents, and 8:45pm stop time, Warped is unique among touring festivals and the longest-lived branded tour in the industry. This year, Warped is in its first year with Journeys as its presenting sponsor, which will aid in career development for Warped bands.
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Lyman tells Billboard that the Vans Warped tour "builds communities, collecting up to eight tons of canned foods in each market and with more than 65,000 pints of blood donated in the name of Warped. Warped is music-based, but for me it’s turned into the largest classroom in America. We've changed the mindsets of a half million kids. On the way to a show it used to be, ‘How do I get my six pack?’ Now these kids go, 'I’ve got my three cans of food to donate, where do I bring my old cell phones,' because we’re recycling them. Warped gives me a chance to be that teacher I always wanted to be."
Warped has some 900 people on the road this year, and has fine-tuned its load-in to less than two hours. By 10pm, Warped's 21 trucks and 80 buses and vans were on the road to the next town as this venerable rock 'n roll summer camp winds down a milestone year.