In 476 C.E., the last of the Roman emperors, Romulus, was overthrown by the Germanic barbarian Odoacer, putting an end to the 1000 year rule of the Roman Empire. In 1521, the last Aztec emperor, Cuauhtemoc, surrenders to Hernan Cortes and the final city of the Aztec empire came into control of the Spanish. All dynasties eventually fall. So, it was with great grief that fans of rock and roll heard this would be the last tour of the annual music dynasty known as Vans Warped Tour.
Since 1995, Van’s has sponsored Warped Tour. A traveling rock show with stops throughout Canada and the United States where fans can mosh and crowd surf to their hearts’ content. Although its first year was labeled as an alternative rock festival, it began focusing on the punk scene in 1996. Anyone who’s made the trek to the tour can hear the punk influence immediately. Ear piercing screams and low tuned guitars flood the airwaves in the venue.
After a successful run, Kevin Lyman announced that the 2018 Vans Warped Tour will be the last, full cross-country trip. It has been hinted that there will be a celebration next year to commemorate the 25th year of the tour. But this year, will be the last year to soak in Warped Tour as we’ve come to know it.
I remember vividly my first trip to Warped Tour. It was the summer before grade 11. Jean shorts, tank top and backward-fitted cap seemed the best outfit. I was a heavy rock virgin at the time. I knew I liked it but had yet to experience the face-melting noise coming off the main stage set-up. A boy never forgets his first mosh pit either. I distinctly remember getting punched in the face during The Devil Wears Prada set and thinking, “Yeah okay, this could be fun”. Was it ever. There’s something cathartic about wildly flailing around in a group of sweaty, shirtless metal-heads. I also remember having a crowd surfer thrown on my face and having my nose erupt in a torrent of blood. Overall, 10/10 day.
Vans certainly didn’t hold out on talent for their final tour. There are pop-punk bands like Four Year Strong and Fenix TX, Sum 41 for anyone looking for some early 2000’s punk, some August Burns Red and Beartooth for metalcore lovers, and of course, my favourite band of all time, Every Time I Die. That’s worth the price of admission right there.
Blood, sweat, but no tears. That’s how the final Warped Tour should go. An event like this is all about comradery. Like minded people coming together to share in something that has been a musical institution for years. You can mosh like nobody is watching, revel in the sweaty bliss of rock and roll, but don’t be sad it’s over. Be happy you got the chance to go in the first place. If you want to catch the tour this year, it’ll be in Toronto on July 17th. Horns up and rock on!