After 24 years of a very successful cross country tour the Vans Warped
Tour has sadly ran its very last run across the United States with a
jump over the Canadian border to Toronto, Ontario.
Maureen: I remember first hearing about Warped Tour sometime in
the late 90's. At the time I was a bit too young to attend by my
parents’ standards but in 2001 I finally got my chance. After winning
tickets from the local terrestrial station WBER I was finally able to go.
The station had rented a Greyhound bus and hired a driver to drive all
the winners up to LaSalle Park in Buffalo, New York. That morning I had
boarded the bus at the station with my Sony Walkman containing a
cassette of Good Charlotte's debut album and some disposable
cameras in my oversized bondage shorts. I was unaware of what was in
store for that day never having been to any sort of music festival
besides Lilith Fair. Bands like Rancid, Sum 41, Good Charlotte and
others would grace the stages and completely blow my mind with their
performances. This is what cemented my future for me. I wanted to
shoot and interview bands and write reviews of their shows and
albums. Most of the bands I loved were receiving little to no coverage
and I wanted to do my best to make sure that they got the recognition
that they deserved. This was around the time that an old friend of mine
and I had started Burning Stars which was called Punk Rawker Magazine
at the time. MJ and I had the chance to cover the tour together at the
Molson Amphitheatre in Barrie, Ontario, Canada on July 30th, 2005. It
was fun seeing The Transplants, Bleed The Dream and The Starting
Line among others with her that day. We had been invited to watch The
Starting Line side stage for her birthday. Julie and I had covered the
tour multiple times together over the years. I remember a time we took
an 8-hour Greyhound bus ride to the Time Warner Amphitheater in
Cleveland, Ohio on August 2nd, 2007 at 3am to cover that date of the
tour. There was another late-night car ride with friends from Rochester,
New York to Montage Mountain in Scranton, Pennsylvania on August
11th, 2005 to work with MySpace for the day. We had unofficially
covered Warped Tour 2001 and would later go on to officially covering it
the following year all the way through its final cross country run in 2018
discovering new bands and making friends along the way. When it was
announced that Warped Tour would do its final cross country run in
2018 it was bittersweet. The tour I had grown to love so much was
coming to an end. There are way too many memories, all good, to
share here but we are both thankful and grateful for all the experiences.
Warped Tour had given us a chance before anyone else had and we
have learned so much along the way.
The final run of the tour included bands like Simple Plan, Tonight Alive,
Senses Fail, Sharptooth, Reel Big Fish, The Interrupters, Tatiana
DeMaria, Dead Girls Academy, Assuming We Survive and so many other
great artists. They had brought back Ventura, California for the final
run and that was always one of my favourite stops on the tour. I was
fortunate enough to cover that date as well as the Las Vegas date and
head back to where it all started for me in Buffalo, New York to
volunteer at the Owly.fm tent for the day.
Julie: Last year (2018) I attended and shot a date on the final, full
cross-country Warped Tour. This was a bittersweet moment for me.
Warped Tour has always felt like a mini getaway in the summer. A place
to see bands I love, discover new music, and spend time with friends,
old and new.
Personally, I have gone to Warped Tour on and off since 2004. One big
reason I went was to see Silverstein. This is a big moment for me, one I
got to share last year with my daughter (a newer Silverstein fan) was
taking her to Warped Tour so she could see them. What I realized was
that it was like a distant family. People I never met, making sure
someone younger could also enjoy this experience. That's not
something you always find at places like this.
Warped Tour was the first festival I shot as a photographer, in my
teens. Something like that really helped my confidence and pushed my
drive. I'm forever grateful to everyone involved. It wasn't just music, it
was a lifestyle. There were many tents to get all kinds of information
that were helpful to life.
If you get the chance, check out one of the three 25-year anniversary
events this year (2019). There are many great bands playing that have
played Warped Tours over the year.
MJ: When I was asked to write something for Warped Tour I didn’t
know what to say. I still don’t know what to say. The tour connected
me to music and friends more than I thought it would. I had never been
to a festival before, I hadn’t really gone to many concerts simply
because as a teen who didn’t have much money they were out of reach.
My parents sent me to my first Warped Tour in Barrie, ON in 2005 for
my birthday. I got to meet one of my best and longtime friends that
day, Maureen. I also got to see my favourite band for the first time live,
Avenged Sevenfold. We hung out with friends, met bands, wrote
reviews, worked on interview questions and took photos. It was my
first time seeing what it was like to cover a festival and also seeing just
how hard my friend worked for her website. She asked me if I’d like to
help her out with it and I’ve been working in the background ever since.
I returned to Warped Tour in 2006 with a group of friends from high
school and my sister, who hadn’t been before. While I wasn’t working
that day for the website, I did still get to take some photos and show
my friends around the tour grounds much like Maureen had done a year
before for me. We got to meet some bands, see some greats and have
a dust bath in the pit. All in all, it was a great time with some of my
best local friends and my sister. I have Warped Tour to thank for the
Without Warped Tour I probably never would have had the chance to
see a lot of the bands I saw in such a short span of time. Bands like;
A7X, The Offspring, Transplants, NoFX, Dropkick Murphys, My Chemical
Romance, Fall Out Boy, The Starting Line, The Casualties and so many
more. I also might not have ever met Maureen in person. The tour
inspired me to take a photography course and get myself a camera…
Thank you Warped Tour for the experience… for everything. You will be
The end of the Vans Warped Tour is bittersweet, and the tour will
definitely be missed. Big thank you to Kevin Lyman for an incredible 24
year run and for making the 18 years we have been covering it nothing
but amazing. We also want to thank Lauren and everyone at Launch
Media, Libby and everyone at MSO PR, Mike at Earshot Media, Dayna,
Becky and everyone at Big Picture Media, Bethany and Danielle and
everyone else for all their help over the years.
Warped Tour's Final Cross Country Trek: End Of An Era
Words by Maureen Benedict, Julie Popelka and MJ Murphy
Photos by: Maureen Benedict
From top: Sebastian Lefebvre, Pierre Bouvier and Chuck
Comeau from Simple Plan in Ventura, Jenna McDougall from
Tonight Alive in Las Vegas, Lauren Kashan of Sharptooth in
Las Vegas, Michael Vampire and Benji of Dead Girls
Academy in Ventura, Remington Leith of Palaye Royale in
Las Vegas and Kelly Ogden of The Dollyros in Ventura.
More photos from the Ventura, California and Las Vegas,
Nevada dates can be found here.