Fifteen years have passed since the launch of the Vans Warped Tour, and co-founder Kevin Lyman still loves every minute of it.

The 2009 version of the 46-date traveling punk rock festival started June 26 at the Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, Calif., and is scheduled to wrap Aug. 23 in Los Angeles. It features performances by Bad Religion, NOFX, Underoath, Thrice, 3OH!3, Black Tide, Flogging Molly, Bayside, Less Than Jake, Flipper, Shooter Jennings and the Gallows, among others.

Last year's Warped Tour grossed $13.2 million and drew 482,423 fans to 34 shows, according to Billboard Boxscore. It featured such artists as Katy Perry, Motion City Soundtrack and Paramore, among others.

Warped Tour co-founder Kevin Lyman, who has also helped launched the Rockstar Taste of Chaos and Rockstar Mayhem tours, sat down with Billboard.biz during the trek's Pomona stop to discuss the longevity of the festival, how the economy could impact future ticket prices and his plans to launch a country-themed music tour.

How are tickets sales for this year's Vans Warped Tour?
We beat last year. In this economy that's pretty good. A lot of kids walked up today. With $40 at the door at Warped Tour, you can come down and buy a ticket. We're in a good space. I feel strong, plus I'm watching the bands tonight and I just know how the Warped Tour picks up momentum. And the momentum behind bands like 3OH!3 and the excitement about some of these younger bands will start bringing more and more kids out. I think we'll be fine. Our whole model's built at 600,000 tickets. ...If we can fall right in that over the 46 shows, we'll be great, we'll be in business another year.

In the video clip below, Lyman discusses with Billboard.biz his future plans for a country-themed music tour and how philosophy on booking bands for Warped Tour has changed over the years.


Warped Tour is known for its affordable ticket price. Will the currently challenged economy impact future prices?
The really good promoters are going to start paying band percentages at doors. It's going to have to go back to that. The crazy guarantees have to be over, because it just has to change. It's so easy to lose money with this business and so hard to make money. We're going to have to tour smarter, a few less lights and a few less trucks -- things like that. It's not the promoters who should take all of the burden; the artists are going to have to start taking some, or stay home.

This year marks the the 15th Warped Tour. How has it changed since its inception?
We've been talking about that today. It's funny -- it changes, but it doesn't change. I think it's more perception of the fan. Some have been coming in and saying, 'Wow, it feels different out there because of this,' or they're enjoying this. It's still the same kind of feeling, you walk backstage at the Warped Tour and there's just more people now -- and the foods better.

Do you have anything new planned for future Warped Tours?
We always start in the bus after the first few days. Last year I started making notes the first week, because we were dealing with fuel costs going crazy. It cost us $290,000 more for gas last year, but we started making notes and that's when we came up with a single main stage. So we actually have it down to one production bus and two semi-trucks, which has really helped out. Fuel prices are stabilized right now and I think we're OK. But you really have to plan a year ahead of time.