The Warped Tour is a wondrous thing. Since its birth in 1995, it has been as consistent the stars in the sky. Thousands–yes, thousands–of bands have been a part of the annual craziness. How does founder Kevin Lyman do it year after year? Billboard takes a look.
Vans Warped Tour founder/producer Kevin Lyman has been working to keep his mobile gang of bands and backroom staff rumbling along since 1995. It’s no small feat, keeping this longrunning institution shipshape in the face of a rapidly changing music industry.
Aggressively streamlining the routing, gaining new sponsors and taking a look at the successes within the electronic circuit were all in the 4Fini, Inc. bossman’s bag of tricks this year, but ultimately, as with his other branded touring events, the bands remain the most crucial component.
“It really comes down to your lineup. The fan has so much access to what you’re doing and they are going to look and decide in ten seconds whether they are coming. What we’ve decided to do is reverse it: we’ve decided to announce the young up and coming bands for about three months leading up to the main stage bands so hopefully Warped Tour still has that sense of discovery. Kids warm up to some of these younger bands. It was fun last year to watch people learn about Bad Rabbits. Kids kind of rallied around them and by the time the tour started, they had a nice crowd.”