Warped Tour: Promoting Artists Since 1995

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Pennywise at Warped Tour 2007 (source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pennywise_Warped_Tour.jpg, user: darren_k) Starting each December, punk, rock, and indie music fans (among other genres) all over the country excitedly check announcements to see if their favorite bands will be playing the annual Vans Warped Tour. And at the end of last month, I was extremely excited to see that a band from my local area, Major League, was announced to appear on the tour this summer. For most bands, this opportunity is huge — the tour spans the entire country, allowing bands to play to a large number of different crowds within several months. If the band has just released a new album, then the tour is an exceptional opportunity to promote it, too.

For 20 years, it has been the dream of many alternative punk and rock bands to secure a spot on Warped Tour. In 1995, the tour was started by Kevin Lyman to display punk rock music. It was then sponsored by the skate shoe company Vans in 1995 and has been ever since. The tour has since become the largest U.S. music festival featuring dozens of bands of various genres, a punk rock “flea market”, and a whole lot of activism. Because of the tour’s wide collection of different music genres, many diverse groups of fans attend each tour date.

As for the fans, Warped Tour is a unique opportunity to see dozens of their favorite bands the same day for a very affordable ticket price. Since bands are constantly playing all day on several different stages, many festival-goers have time between the acts of bands they like to check out bands they have never seen or heard before, allowing them the possibility to discover a new favorite. This is especially great for up-and-coming bands who have not yet had much of an opportunity to reach out to fans outside of their home city. In fact, this is the sole purpose of the tour’s Ernie Ball stage. Ernie Ball is a company that makes guitar strings and also hosts a stage on Warped tour each year devoted to up-and-coming bands. To win a spot to play on the stage, Ernie Ball hosts a Battle of the Bands each spring where aspiring local bands can register to compete to play their local tour date. One lucky band is chosen among others by a panel of judges (including Lyman himself) to play on the Ernie ball stage, and also receives thousands of dollars in music gear, a studio session, and a feature in Alternative Press. Because of Warped Tour and the Ernie Ball Stage, talented and hardworking local bands are rewarded each year with an opportunity that would otherwise be difficult to find.

Though Major League is more than just an up-and-coming band (having toured around the country with big-name bands such as Silverstein and Hands Like Houses), I have no doubt that Warped Tour will succeed in expanding the band’s fan base as thousands of fans may be hearing of them for the first time on the tour. Also, it will be an opportune time to further promote their most recent full length, There’s Nothing Wrong With Me, which came out in November. The Vans Warped Tour is an impressive festival for bands and fans alike, and it does an incredible job of connecting fans to new music. Tickets are on sale now for this year’s tour—don’t miss out!