VWT final tour banner, courtesy of VWT
Vans Warped Tour, my friends, is no more. The last nationwide tour is finishing up (with 35 odd more dates to go), but for Denver *cue the sad music* the Warp is over. Are you sad yet? Get tissues, we’ll wait…
You OK? Let’s keep going.
We got the email for the tour a few months ago and thought, “oh hell, yeah, let’s rage.” And then we asked some friends who we should check out because there were so many new names on the list. We talked amongst ourselves and decided to keep it political so we replied to every “do you want to interview our artists” email with, “We’re interested in interviewing any band that’s fronted by a Person of Color, LGBT identified, or Woman. Or bands majority those identities.” Out of approximately 50 bands slated to play the Denver leg of VWT, we were given a list of five bands that met our criteria.
Here’a blurb from Natalie Schaffer at Big Picture Media Online, event organiers:
This summer, after twenty-four years, the Vans Warped Tour
will make its final cross-country run. Founder Kevin Lyman announced this via a statement
through the tour
‘s official website late last year.
“The Vans Warped Tour is the largest traveling music festival in the United States and the longest-running touring music festival in North America. Originally conceived by Lyman in 1995, as an eclectic alternative rock festival, with a focus on punk rock, over the years the tour has grown to include a multitude of genres, including metal, hip-hop, reggae, pop and more.
It remains one of the best tours to attend to discover emerging acts, to learn more about wonderful non-profits and companies who are working to make a positive impact on the world that surround them, and to meet like-minded friends.
Over the past two decades, Vans Warped Tour has built a legacy as the must-attend summer festival for rock and music lovers alike. Since its start it has provided a platform for established as well as up-and-coming artists, with past performers including blink182, No Doubt, Sublime, Beck, Katy Perry, NOFX, Limp Bizkit, Black Eyed Peas, Green Day, Eminem, Yellowcard, Bad Religion, and countless others.
Anthem Films, Dola Media Group and the staff at Vans Warped Tour have teamed up for the official Vans Warped Tour documentary, which will hopefully be released at the end of 2017. The documentary will be a 4-part series chronicling the rise, the fall, and the future of the tour and will be filmed during the tour‘s final expedition this summer.”
Sure sounds diverse. We were shocked that the good folks over at Vans were cool with going out with such a decidedly lacklust White, male bang. We even thought to ourselves, for one brief instant, that this could be part of the reason the tour was concluding.
While diversity was low, I’m happy to report the spirit of resistance and inclusiveness was abundant. And while there were few bands that met our criteria, we were able to see them all without (except Senses Fail, who’s lead singer identifies as Queer).
But damn, the diverse voices held it down. From stumbling across Plasma Canvas
who absuletely killed with such memorable songs as Kill the Nazi Next Door and #GenderParty to Kaiser Sozie, a duo of Black rockers who held sway over a small and seriously enthralled group of revelers. The frontman was talking about his past as a homeless person and getting it together to do music. Badass.
Other favorites through the day included Tonight Alive, whose feminist, body positive anthems made us cheer, Chase Atlantic, Tatiana DeMaria, Sharptooth – whose constant musical breaks to berate sexual violence and encourage treatement for mental health was one of the most positive uses of stage time we caught all day – and Doll Skin, whose badass set was enough to finally take me past head induced drunkeness into full on revelry.
Finally, dancing our way through photo pits instead of doing our actual jobs, we absolutely loved the closers, The World Over, The Used (whose crowd may have been the biggest we saw all day), Falling in Reverse, MayDayParade, and Simple Plan. What a way to end our day. Sure, we were dehydrated, heat exhaustion on the verge of setting in, and exhausted from walking the hot asphalt all day (hey, Pepsi Center, next time more awnings, ok? Geez), but we had a blast. And good news, we have the pictures to prove it.
In a final note, we were able to sit down with two mental health providers that are along for the Vans Warped Tour ride: Can You Hear Me Now and To Write Love On Her Arms. These organizations both seek to bring a sense of safety, healing, awareness, and love to the VWT stages across the country. CYHMN has actual therapists on board for serious conversations while TWLOHA is there for the conversation but willing to help you seek apprpriate providers should they be needed. All these folks are also in the business of Music Cares, keeping musicians on tour equipped with health care in case of accidents. Many musicians, in turns out, don’t really think about things like health care till it’s needed. We are glad to see VWT making these spaces and options available for the musicians and the concertgoers. It’s important.
We could go on and one. Truthfully, you had to be there. But that’ll never happen again. VWT is dead. Long live VWT. And long live the other conscious tours that have passed and will continue. Shit, we just saw one of the most deep, conscious tours when Joey Bada$$ came through with the AmeriKKKana Tour. If artists continue to challenge the powers that be, as they should, and continue to make music that reflects the outrage and the hope and the love that we all feel, well, chances are we won’t even miss Vans Warped Tour. Rather, it’ll be a memory of something beautiful and good that spawned thousands of likeminded, good hearted, music forward, love first tours and shows that we’ll all embrace, and that will bring the same conscious, gorgeous energy to our kids, and to our grandkids. Bands end, musicians pass, but good music is forever. Amen.
Here’s a bunch of pictures by De La Vaca. Sorry we partied too hard and forget to take pictures of the rest of the show. #WarpedTourForever
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