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Warped Tour Founder's SoCal Festival Proves Punk's Not Dead

Rancid, Coachella
Crystal Chatham/The Desert Sun-USA TODAY NETWORK

Rancid performs during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 17, 2016. 

Rancid and the Dropkick Murphys are headlining this summer's It's Not Dead Music Festival, SoCal's largest punk rock event scheduled to return to Glen Helen Amphitheater in San Bernardino, Aug. 26.

It's Not Dead 2 includes bands from all slices of the punk rock pizza pie including old school English bands like the Buzzcocks, the Exploited and GBH; California punkers like Good Riddance, Guttermouth and the U.S. Bombs and ska acts like the Toasters and Voodoo Glow Skulls. Not one to miss an up-and-coming act, It's Not Dead 2 promoter and organizer Kevin Lyman is even calling on a few of the bands from his Van's Warped Tour to play the all-day festival like The Flatliners, The Interrupters and Skating Polly.

"And there's a lot of great bands in LA like The Grim and Love Canal that always got to open the shows, but never got their just due," he tells Billboard. "So I'm doing this for the guys and bands that never got to play for their kids, or in some cases their grandkids. These guys are getting up their 50s, 60s and even 70s."

Dropkick Murphys and Rancid are touring together this summer with 24 dates planned across North America, wrapping their tour with the It's Not Dead Festival.

"[Rancid singer and guitarist] Tim Armstrong really wanted to do it and thought it was a great way to end the tour," explains Lyman, adding it's nice to have the flexibility to stage the comeback to the 2015 It's Not Dead festival, especially after 20 summers running the tightly scheduled circus that is Warped Tour.

"Two years ago we did it in October and now we're doing it in August," he tells Billboard. "People ask me why I don't do it at the same time every year, and the reason is because I don't want to. I do Warped Tour every year and there are summers I wish I could take off."

Lyman's working relationship with Rancid dates back to his early days in the LA punk scene, booking shows with punk producer and Goldenvoice founder Gary Tovar for Rancid and predecessor band Operation Ivy.

"I've known them all for a long time and did some of their first shows as Rancid, opening for Bad Religion out in San Bernardino," Lyman said. 

Also making a return is the pop-up art exhibition 'Art's Not Dead' and the 'Punks Well Read' book signing and book store, curated by photographer Lisa Johnson.

There's no VIP package for this It's Not Dead 2, explained Lyman who said "everyone is a VIP this year." Tickets are 42.50 plus $19 in fees. Visit itsnotdeadfestival.com for more information.

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