Warped Tour, the traveling festival that has catered to pop-punk and Hot Topic enthusiasts since 1995, is finally ending.
Festival founder and producer Kevin Lyman announced the tour’s end on the festival’s website, writing, “though the tour and the world have changed since ’95, the same feeling of having the ‘best summer ever’ will live on through the bands, the production teams, and the fans that come through at every stop.”
2018 will be Warped Tour’s last cross-country festival tour, but fans can expect a 25th anniversary celebration in 2019.
Warped Tour has not been without controversy, particularly regarding how the touring bands have historically treat their teenage and female fans. Just this summer Leonard Grave Phillips, frontman of The Dickies, berated a female crew member who called out punk for being predatory, yelling that she was a “cunt.” “I understand the word ‘cunt’ is inflammatory and that many women have been abused by this word,” he later wrote in a non-apology. “I should have called her an ‘asshole.’” Bands like Eagles of Death Metal and Offspring later defended his actions.
And behavior like this has been a recurring issue for years. In 2015 Warped Tour faced criticism for putting the band Front Porch Step on the line-up after allegations that he sexted underage girls surfaced online. That same year musician Austin Jones, who was on the Warped line-up, was arrested for soliciting child pornography from teenage fans. And in years prior bands associated with Warped Tour like Blood On the Dance Floor and Lostprophets have fielded allegations of sexual assault and harassment against minors.
A lot of these incidents, Lyman points out in a recent Billboard interview, did not actually happen at the festival. But Warped Tour frequently gave rising acts a platform for their music and a spot at the tour could help launch their career—as it did for stars like Katy Perry, Paramore, and Fall Out Boy—but like much of the emo and pop-punk scene, also carried a reputation for being a hostile environment for young female fans. In 2015 Lyman was reportedly considering making Warped Tour 21 and up, but later retracted his statement on it.
So it seems symbolic, now, that Warped Tour would be ending right at the moment so many other creative industries are reckoning with sexual assault. Warped Tour may be the end of a musical era: teens weren’t really coming out to the festival anymore, Lyman tells Billboard, and rock music isn’t exactly topping the charts these days. But when it comes to pop-punk and emo dealing with the predatory behaviors of many of its members, there’s still work to be done beyond the death of the tour.