All of our stomachs dropped as if we heard the news of a passing loved one when Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman announced that 2018 would be the last coast to coast venture of the festival.
...the tour was over we survived. -blink-182
Exploring into the unknown with just a few old buses, a few semi trucks and a couple of venues the Warped Tour started off into dusty roads back in 1995 on its first excursion with bands like No Doubt, and Sublime. Since then the punk rock/skate tour has been a cross country summer camp and a right of passage of punk rock since then.
It quickly grew momentum nabbing up bigger state venues, sponsors and bands. The traveling circus became a familiar home to bands like Pennywise, NOFX, Bad Religion and Rancid.
At the end of the new millennium, MTV and TRL gave birth to the "Y2k's early 90's resurrection" of punk rock and so pop-punk was re-born. Bands like Blink-182, Green Day, Linkin Park and even hip hop icons like Ice-T and Eminem found their place among the thousands flocking far and wide to see over 50 bands, over a dozen skaters, lucha-wrestling, comedy acts a circus performers in what can be described at times as "The Best Day Ever".
blink-182 Warped Tour 99'
During the mid 2000's the U.S. recession and presidential "powers that be" on capitol hill fueled the political fires for punk bands like Anti-Flag and NOFX while bands like The Used, My Chemical Romance, and Fall Out Boy were all in freshman or sophomore years, all finding commradery and a home. In just a few short years later, more hip hop, pop and metal sprouted where a lot of mainstream artists saw some of their first breaks like Mike Posner, Katy Perry, G-Eazy, Gym Class Heroes, Bring Me The Horizon and A Day To Remember.
So as we anxiously await for summer, and the list for the last "Best Day Ever" is finally up; I ponder the aftermath; "Where do we go from here?" and where will we flock to when there is "no place to go" without a "punk rawk show".
I compiled a list of festivals throughout the US and compared them to my experiences over the years going to the Warped Tour. I can't replace you sweetheart, but I'm going to have to get over you...
Riot Festival - Chicago, IL
The 3 day punk, metal and hip-hop festival isn't just for bands and artists like Misfits, GWAR, Descendents, Wu-Tang Clan, Social Distortion, Public Enemy, Patti Smith, System of a Down and Merle Haggard but it's also marketed as "Riot Festival & Carnival" with rides, games, wrestling and food vendors. Chicago might be the riot's home, but it has uprooted from time to time to cities like Toronto CAN, Philadelphia PA, and Dallas TX.
Rock On The Range - Columbus, OH
Since 2007 a 1 day festival has expanded to 3 day weekend, adding a carnival type atmosphere, and comedy acts not to mention selling out a three day total of 130,000 people. The MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus has seen the likes of some of punk and metal's greatest. Avenged Sevenfold, Black Veil Brides, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, and Metallica just to name a few. If metal isn't your forte there are bands like Coheed & Cambria, Sum 41, The Offspring, Anti-Flag and Taking Back Sunday to wet your punk pallet. If you're a friend to the north, good news, Winnipeg CAN has a ROTR as well!
Punk In Drublic - (SELECT CITIES)
Created by Fat Mike of NOFX and named after the album of the same band, Punk in Drublic Festival joins craft beer and an all day punk rock festival. The highly successful first year brought together bands like Goldfinger, Bad Religion, Strung Out, Guttermouth and of course NOFX in a number of locations from Arizona and Idaho to the entire length of the state of California. With its success in summer of 2017, it's made its way to Europe and in 2018 has spread to the east coast Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Massachusetts.
Summerfest - Milwaukee, WI
The World Festival was certified in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Largest Music Festival in 1999. It lasts 11 days and draws nearly 1 million people at the gigantic Henry Maier Festival Park. Including every type of genre, it has seen past acts like Keith Urband, Paul McCartney, Blink-182, Tom Petty, Panic! At The Disco, A Day To Remember & Zac Brown Band. The festival starts the last Wednesday in June, and with artists like that this years line up begs to be just as great.
FireFly Music Festival - Dover, DE
Red Frog Events alongside Goldenvoice held the first FireFly fest on June 20th 2012 at the Woodlands International Speeday, a 105-acre festival ground that spans over 4 days. Some of the acts included Jack White, The Killers, and the Black Keys. The Following years the acts included Twenty One Pilots, Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney, blink-182, & Muse. This year's fest is being held June 14th-17th back at The Woodlands with bands like, Jimmy Eat World, Eminem, Logic, Lights, MGMT, & The Killers.
Rocklahoma - Pryor, OK
Also known as "Rock Fever" the annual 3-day rock fest features 4 official stages, offsite stages, camping, onsite vendors, and where it is estimated to see 30,000 people per day will venture in its 3 day weekend. Past acts have included bands like All that Remains, Clutch, Cheap Trick, LA Guns, & ZZ Top. The festival has had a more "down-homey" feel in recent years, however nobody knows what the future may hold.
Welcome To Rockville - Jacksonville, FL
On May 8th, 2011 in Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville, Fl a handful of hard rock artists started what would become bigger with years to follow. Originally with 2 stages, it branched to 3 stages, and now has an entire 3 day weekend event. Originally headlining bands in 2011 like Godsmack & Red Jumpsuit Apparatus it has now headlined bands such as Ozzy Osbourne, The Used, Avenged Sevenfold, The Offspring, Pennywise, & Black Veil Brides.
Coachella - Palm Springs, CA
Held since 1999 in Indio California at the Empire Polo Club in the middle of the Colorado desert, the Coachella Music and Arts Festival is the rock, indie, hip-hop and EDM concert spanning over 2 weekends in April. The 2017 festival was attended by 250,000 people and grossed $114.6 million. The success of Coachella led to GoldenVoice establishing two additional music festivals at the site, Stagecoach and Desert Trip. Past acts have included Prince, Beastie Boys, AFI, MUSE & Gorillaz.
Voodoo - New Orleans, LA
The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience is a multi-day music fest in City Park, In Mew Orleans, Louisiana. Inaugurating back in 1999, this 18 year old festival shows music from hip-hop, rock, and indie music as well as local bands of every genre. Voodoo’s annual line-up traditionally features top-tier and innovative artists from a variety of musical genres. Highlights from the last 15 years have included performances from Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, Eminem, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cure, Tiesto, Nine Inch Nails, Deadmau5, No Doubt, Ozzy Osbourne, The Black Keys, Neil Young, Green Day, KISS, Snoop Dogg, Duran Duran, R.E.M. (in one of the band’s last U.S. performances), My Chemical Romance, 50 Cent and 311.
Bonnaroo - Manchester, TN
The four day music festival that began in 2002, usually starts the 2nd Thursday of June and lasts until the following Monday. It has been held at what is now the Great Stage Park on a 700 acre farm since its inception.
It has been called by Rolling Stone Magazine as "One of the 50 Moments that Changed Rock & Roll" & "Festivals of the Decade" by Consequence of Sound among the 10 Best Festivals by GQ Magazine. The festival's Planet Roo has been credited through the years for its non-profits especially towards the environment. In the Silent DJ each person is given headphones while entering the DJ's set that sync with the music. Everyone is listening to the same song through the headphones while appearing from the outside to be dancing to no music at all. It draws an estimated annual attendance of around 70,000 people. Notable acts include: Metallica, TOOL, Prince, Jay-Z & Kanye West and 21 Pilots.
Aftershock - Sacramento, CA
Sponsored by Monster Energy drink, the metal and rock fest has been held every September since 2012 in California's capital of Sacramento in Discovery Park starting out as a 1-day concert, expanding to a 2-day festival. Notable acts include: Slipknot, Bad Religion, HIM, Primus, Nine Inch Nails, and Danzig.
Lollapalooza - Chicago, IL
The all genre music fest started in 1991 by Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell as a farewell tour for the band. It ran until 1997 and then picked back up in 2003. From the beginning through 1997, Lollapalooza toured the entirety of the US, much like the Vans Warped Tour did, but found its home in Grant Park Chicago when revived in 03'.
In the 2-3 period the festival can see upwards of 160,000 people and broadens its diversity to all genres of music, also broadcasting live and globally on Red Bull TV. The festival has spread to over half a dozen countries including Germany, Paris, Chilie, Argentina, Brazil, and recently announced Israel. Notable acts include: Lady Gaga, Green Day, Rancid, Metallica, blink-182, Chance The Rapper, and Outkast.
Governors Ball Music Festival - Randall's Island, NY
More affectionately referred to as the "Gov Ball" the multi-genre music fest, draws an average attendance of 150,000 people over its 3 day span. Aside from music, a multitude of food trucks, activities and games are also going on the entire time. Starting in 2011, the "Inaugural Governors Ball" was held on Governors Island NYC. The 1-day festival which was headlined by Girl Talk, Pretty Lights, & Empire of the Sun amassed the highest attendance of ANY event in the history of Governors Island, outselling DMB & Bassnectar in 2011 that same year. The following year, it just grew to 2 days, adding bigger bands, and more genres. Notable acts include: Eminem, Childish Gambino, Wu-Tang Clan, Dinosaur Jr., TOOL, and Gaslight Anthem.
Although in the US we do not see these festivals, they're still bad ass and need very much well needed honorable mentions.
Summer Sonic Festival - Osaka/Chiba, Japan
Years Active: 2000
Notable Acts: blink-182, Green Day, NOFX, Slipknot, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Taylor Swift, Rihanna.
Reading & Leeds Festival - Reading/Leeds, England
Years Active: 1955
Notable Acts: Green Day, Nirvana, Ramones, The Kinks, My Chemical Romance, and Linkin Park
Groovin' The Moo - Multi-Location, Australia
Years Active: 2005
Dates: April - May
Attendance: 15,000 (per show)
Notable Acts: The Black Keys, Against Me!, Andrew WK, Parkway Drive, Wavves, 21 Pilots, and Public Enemy.
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Now, I know that there are a shit ton of other state wide festivals that I haven't even touched on, if there are any others in your own hometown, let me know!
- Thoughts on last coast to coast Warped?
- Any festivals in your hometown that aren't on this list?
- What's your DREAM festival line-up?
- Any sick attractions if you could build a festival?
The Pop-Punk Dad features bands from around the globe. Email me awesome bands at: ThePopPunkDad@gmail.com