I was late to the Warped Tour party: my first one wasn’t until 2012. No particular reason but I had been perfectly content going to club shows to see 2 or 3 bands at a time. Baking in the hot sun for 10 hours to see abbreviated sets didn’t really interest me.
I finally relented and saw it as an interesting opportunity to knock out a few interviews and get samplings of a few acts both familiar and new.
In hindsight, that’s exactly what I wanted and exactly what I got.
While some felt that this year’s lineup didn’t acknowledge the earliest years enough, it really is a fair representation of what the tour has evolved into. There are some faces that have never left (Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish, come to mind) some long-running acts that never really got a proper run before (Unearth) and the next generation is still being given a big boost (Sharptooth, Doll Skin). There were some familiar bands who hopped on when they could fit it into their summers. While this was a nice bonus and led to some last-minute surprises, in many ways, 2018 was just another year of the festival.
If anything, this year was one of the least I was able to soak in the actual performances as my interview schedule and the layout made me less mobile.
With so many acts that have been on the tour over the years, there was no way to represent everyone and make everyone happy for this final run. Would the older crowd even turn up for a nostalgia-fest? Would the kids appreciate the history lesson? What about the acts that did it for one year, got huge and never returned? Would focusing only on all of the newest and hottest acts be financially feasible and even capture the spirit of the festival? If you think about it, there’s really no way to appeal to everyone. It’s been the same argument every year and that’s been one of the most consistent parts of Warped.
These last seven summers have been truly important to me. The festival has brought me scorching heat, pouring rain, the chance to see some bands I never thought I’d get to experience, introduced me to some new artists, allowed me to meet and interview some incredible people, made me push through some overwhelming crowds, and walk many, many miles.
No one knows what the future will bring. That’s not really important. What is important is the great memories we have already made and will fondly recall forever.
Besides, it’s not like music is going anywhere. There will always be something to lure us out for a day full of fun.
Words by: JJ Ellis
Photos by: Henry Chung