To Warped Tour And Kevin Lyman, Thanks For Inspiring Us All
Kevin Lyman made the sad announcement that punk rock summer camp is coming to an end. Without this tour and Lyman, I would never have started my career.
So many people know Warped Tour, the longest running traveling music festival in the United States. Since 1995, the Vans Warped Tour has been a staple in the summer plans of teenagers all over the United States. I remember my first Warped Tour, back in the early 2000s, waiting outside the gates clutching my actual hard ticket, eagerly anticipating checking out some of my favorite bands for the first time. And Warped Tour was the concert you knew you could not only check out your favorite group, but you could also meet them too! Sit in line for 30 minutes, then you get the chance to see Taking Back Sunday, Rufio, My Chemical Romance, NOFX, MXPX and more. Warped Tour was the place where dreams came true.
It was at this concert I decided I wanted to work with music the rest of my life. I spent every summer waiting for the Warped Tour season to start, so my friends and I could plan out a good week or two where we would travel up and down California, following our favorite bands to make sure we didn't miss anyone. The one downfall of a festival concert. If you hit up Pomona, Chula Vista, LA and Ventura you could make the time to see almost every single band on the bill. We made friends with people who worked the tour, to the point where bands, security and even crew knew who we were and let us through with no issues. These were my favorite times of my high school years. Memories that can never be taken back and never erased. Playing ping pong with Coheed and Cambria, watching Fletcher from Pennywise play street hockey, meeting Eric Smelling from NOFX's adorable chihuahua Mississippi, that one time Anti-Flag lost their sunglasses and everyone lost their shit, when the singer from Story Of The Year ran over my foot with a skateboard and when the Aquabats decided to light fireworks backstage and security got called. I got to stand side stage and onstage for some of my favorite groups and see the magic of a concert and crowd like a band sees them. These memories shaped me into the person I am today.
I looked up to Kevin Lyman like he was a living and breathing god. Because he made dreams come true and was the nicest and most down to earth man I ever had the privilege of speaking to. Every time we were lucky enough to see him, and Warped Tour or later on at Coachella or Stagecoach, he was kind and took the time to say hello. We were little girls just awestruck at meeting the person who orchestrated the affair that was a festival concert. And his kindness I haven't forgotten to this day. I asked him once, backstage while we set up some things for catering so we could earn our keep at the show that day, if I wanted to get into music and the industry what should I do. What was my first step, where do I go? And he simply told me one thing....
Follow your passion.
So I did. I majored in Communication Studies because he did. I went to college, got my degree, but kept my music dream alive. I still went to Warped Tour every year to see my friends and to listen to the same bands I knew and loved. Then I got my job at the radio station. Finally doing what I loved and actually paid to go to concerts and to interviews bands for a living. I see some of the comments from friends from high school when they see what I do and they say they're not surprised. I've been obsessed with music since I was young, and I would do anything to go and see a show. Driving hours to San Diego to get to SOMA to see Coheed and Cambria on a Tuesday night and making sure I'm back in time for school the next day. I did it all the time. I still do, but now it's to get to work on time. All my past memories and my future memories I owe in some part to Kevin Lyman. Kevin, gave me a direction when I didn't know what to do and how to make my dreams a reality. And I could never thank you enough for that.
So this year I will attend the last touring Warped Tour. I'll throw on my Vans, tons of sunblock and pack my fannypack with the essentials. I'll watch the bands and enjoy the heat for the last time in the grass, or on the asphalt or even in the dirt. Because I remember those tour dates too. I'll even pack a bandanna. Because this tour needs to be celebrated and appreciated in all its high school glory.