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Warped Tour's 2018 Edition Will Be Its Last

Futuristic at Warped Tour 2017.EXPAND
Futuristic at Warped Tour 2017.
Jim Louvau
Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman has announced that 2018 will be the tour's final cross-country road trip.

Phoenix fans will have one last chance to dust off their emo shirts and lace up their Vans when the Warped Tour comes to Arizona on June 26, 2018.

In an era where music festivals spring up and tear down in fixed locations, Warped Tour stood out for traveling like a pop-punk circus. Next year will mark its 24th anniversary.

In an interview with Billboard, Lyman cited declining ticket sales and a shrinking pool of bands as among the main reasons why the festival is coming to a close. Lyman also noted that the festival's target fan base of teens don't come out in force like they used to.

The tour has faced other challenges over the years.

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One major factor is the booming summer music festival industry. When the first Warped Tour kicked off in 1995, it thrived in a decade in which it faced little in the way of major competition from other festivals. But with the rise of bigger music festivals with more cultural cache like Coachella, Warped Tour had to contend with competing for both audiences and acts.

There was a time when the tour, best known for booking pop-punk and emo acts, had enough visibility and clout in the cultural landscape that it could book “against type” acts like Eminem, The Black Eyed Peas, and Katy Perry. But that hasn't been the case since the music festival industry kicked into high gear.

Vans Warped Tour has also been beset by controversy over the years, including accusations of sexual harassment aimed at some of its performers. Warped also garnered blowback for hosting a pro-life tent on tour, alongside several nonprofit organizations who table on an annual basis at the Warped Tour.

Though Lyman has said that the 2018 Warped will be the final tour, he also said there would be a 25th anniversary celebration of the tour in 2019. Whether that's an indicator that Warped Tour will transition to a single-location festival remains to be seen.

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