Yellowcard will be among the lineup for the Vans Warped Tour.
Headliners on the Warped Tour include veterans Yellowcard and State Champs
Too much of a good thing: That\'s an old saying that Kevin Lyman says applied to the annual Vans Warped tour — at least when it came to last year\'s edition.
"I think for me it\'s not what we\'ve added, it\'s what we\'ve taken away this year," Lyman says, describing what\'s new and different about this summer\'s tour. "I think we were trying to appeal to too many things. I think sometimes you can offer almost too much. I think we were getting to the point where we had too many stages. We had comedy tents. We had acoustic tents — all great things and great components — but when you put them all in one place it kind of maybe confuses what your message is about. I took this very back-to-the-basics approach with Warped tour this year."
Lyman, who founded Warped in 1995 and continues to book and manage the traveling modern rock extravaganza, has done away with the comedy, EDM and acoustic tents added in recent years.
He\'s tweaked the mix of bands that will play this year. It\'s still a huge lineup — about 70 acts on seven stages on each date. But where last year\'s tour focused almost entirely on newer acts, the 2016 lineup has a veteran presence; Lyman has brought back several groups that were a major presence on Warped a decade ago.
That\'s a return to Warped\'s roots, where a few alternative rock stalwarts were on the bill to provide a bridge to the fresh faces. But Lyman noted that dynamic was missing last summer, as the tour was anchored by several rising stars of the punkish metal scene, such as Black Veil Brides and Pierce The Veil.
This year, long-established punk pop bands like New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Less Than Jake, Sum 41 and Reel Big Fish are among the bigger names on the bill.
"It\'s weird calling the bands like Good Charlotte, New Found Glory, Yellowcard, now the legacy or older bands, but they are," Lyman says. "They\'ve been around. They\'re survivors in this business now. And Warped tour always had that balance. If you go back in history, it was Pennywise, Bad Religion, NOFX, and the young bands were New Found Glory and Yellowcard and Good Charlotte. Now those bands are going to come out, a nice package of those, to hopefully mentor the younger bands that are out."
For these veteran bands, which could easily do headlining tours during the summer, there is a benefit to playing Warped.
"All of these bands at that level usually can financially maybe command a little bigger guarantee than they would get on Warped tour," Lyman says. "But they understand it\'s important for them to play for younger audiences, too. Then the younger bands get to play with their heroes, the bands that turned them onto music. I think we have that good balance out there this summer."
This year\'s lineup still has a strong representation of alt-metal/hardcore bands — a genre that Lyman says speaks to many of today\'s teens and young adults the way punk bands did in the late 1990s. Acts on the tour that fall into that vein include Tonight Alive, Whitechapel, Crown the Empire, Every Time I Die and Veil of Maya. But the lineup doesn\'t have as much of a presence of acts in genres like hip-hop, electronica, mainstream pop or folk — and instead leans very much toward alternative rock.
That, Lyman says, returns Warped to its roots and helps fill a void on the summer tour landscape, which lacks a destination festival or other package tour tailored so strongly to the music tastes — and budget — of the teen/college age rock fan.
"I want to give that kid who doesn\'t maybe have a festival their festival," Lyman ays. "That\'s what Warped was. It was always kind of that alternative festival. I think if you look at this lineup we are. Warped\'s not for everyone, and I\'ve always said that, and I think I was trying to appeal to everyone."
One thing that isn\'t changing is the lifestyle component to the tour, as this year\'s Warped will continue to give fans opportunities to learn about and get involved with nonprofit organizations (some 25 such groups have a presence at this year\'s tour). Vendors will offer products tailored for the Warped audience.
Lyman was especially pleased to get Headcount, an organization that registers people to vote at concerts and other music events, added at the eleventh hour.
"They didn\'t have the financial resources [to join the tour], and I\'m the bright person who says we need to register young people to vote," Lyman says. "So you know what, we put up our money to make sure they\'re out there registering people to vote. It would be crazy [for 2016 to be] the first Warped tour in an election year without an organization out there registering young people to vote."
Lyman is hoping the 2016 edition of Warped goes smoothly — something that is not assured considering the number of bands and support personnel on the tour.
Last year\'s tour had its share of issues and drama. For one, Slaves, a band fronted by former Dance Gavin Dance/Emarosa frontman Jonny Craig, was kicked off the tour after a town hall vote by Warped tour performers. While Slaves denied allegations made against Craig, including that he sexually harassed a female crew member and been drunk and disorderly on the tour, bands expressed concern for Craig, who has a history of drug and alcohol problems.
Lyman also took heat for allowing Jake Mcelfresh, who performs under the band name Front Porch Step, to do an unannounced acoustic set at the Nashville stop on the Warped tour. Earlier in the summer, Mcelfresh canceled a number of Warped dates after allegations were made that he\'d contacted teenage girls, and exchanged sexually explicit photos in some cases.
Despite such issues, Lyman continues to believe in the concept of Warped.
"Warped is just in my heart and soul," Lyman says. "I can treat certain things, like Taste of Chaos [another of his tours], like a business. But I\'ll still be there the first two days [of the Taste of Chaos tour] …The last thing I need to do is to jump on a plane right now and go out there, but I\'m like we need to be there to show the people that are involved in our projects that we support them. And Warped is such a living, breathing animal, as we all know, I still find it necessary to be right in the middle of it every day."
• 11 a.m. July 8, BB&T Pavilion, 1 Harbour Blvd., Camden. $41.50, general admission
•11 a.m. July 11, The Pavilion at Montage Mountain, 1000 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton. $41, general admission. ticketmaster.com