The Vans Warped Tour’s final cross-country run is currently underway.
“Today, with many mixed feelings, I am here to announce that next year will be the final, full cross-country run of the Vans Warped Tour,” Kevin Lyman said in a statement last year.
The announcement came with shock and sorrow from fans, especially those who regularly attend the punk-rock summer camp. When I was 13, I remember waking up absurdly early because I was looking forward to attending the Vans Warped Tour, my favorite day of the summer.
The Vans Warped Tour has been beloved since 1995, when the tour first traveled across the United States and Canada. With acts like No Doubt, Sublime and Quicksand, it’s easy to see why the tour had such popularity. What you probably didn’t know is Salt Lake City was the first Vans Warped Tour stop in August of 1995 at the Saltair.
Saltair was the first venue to host the Vans Warped Tour in Utah, but it’s the Utah State Fairpark we associate with the festival here. The tour has regularly been held at the Fairpark in Salt Lake City, so the abrupt venue change to the USANA Amphitheatre this year was a surprise. This year’s unexpected change in venue was met with mixed feelings of hesitation and outrage. Never would I have ever thought the Vans Warped Tour could be successfully held at USANA.
Not only were my expectations met, but they were exceeded. USANA did a great job as the venue for the Vans Warped Tour on June 23. There were more than enough stages, bathrooms and vendors to keep festival goers comfortable and content. Lack of space was an original concern of mine, but there was more than enough room for all Warped Tour attendants.
The venue can have a major influence on the happiness of attendees, but the artists playing have an even greater impact. The Used, Mayday Parade, Simple Plan and State Champs were some of the 80 plus acts featured on the tour, all of whom have played the tour multiple times in the past.
Mayday Parade played midday on the Journey’s Left Foot Stage in West Valley to a sea of fans. The band used to sell CDs in the parking lot outside of the Vans Warped Tour. This year, Brooks Betts continued the tradition by walking around the festival selling signed copies of their June 15 release, “Sunnyland,” despite being the headliner and arguably one of the biggest bands on the tour. This goes to show how much momentum the Vans Warped Tour has given hardworking, passionate artists the opportunity to further their careers.
It’s The Used, though, who have a special place in the hearts of Utahns since their formation in Orem in 2001. Since then, the band has played the Vans Warped Tour seven times and has released seven full albums, one being their 2017 release, “The Canyon.” This year, The Used hand-picked fan favorites to play each day, including “Take It Away,” “The Taste Of Ink” and “Pretty Handsome Awkward.”
The horde of audience members who left after their set is a clear indicator of just how many people were specifically there for them. But the festival goers who remained until the last band played exhibited just how much no one wanted to leave the cherished Vans Warped Tour behind.
But that’s just what we will have to do. It is unlikely the Vans Warped Tour will play in Utah ever again although the precise future of the tour has yet to be determined. Kevin Lyman plans to “commemorate the tour’s historic 25th anniversary in 2019.”
What the tour’s 25th anniversary will look like in 2019 is unclear. What is clear is the Vans Warped Tour is going to be missed. The tour may never come to Utah ever again, but those living here and around the country have had unique experiences, memories and opportunities at the Vans Warped Tour.