According to a new interview with Billboard and a press statement, Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman will be ending the full touring iteration of the punk institution in 2018. Some version of the festival, however, will return 2019, the year of its 25th anniversary.
“Today, with many mixed feelings, I am here to announce that next year will be the final, full cross-country run of the Vans Warped Tour,” Lyman wrote. “I sit here reflecting on the tour’s incredible history, what the final run means for our community, and look forward to what’s to come as we commemorate the tour’s historic 25th anniversary in 2019.”
Lyman told Billboard that he was ending the tour in part he was “just tired,” and in part because he found it increasingly hard to remain profitable in a country crowded with festivals and a time in which the music “community” Warped Tour catered to “is, for many reasons, not as unified as it used to be.” He noted that the Warped Tour had been significantly less well-attended in recent years and that the tour’s age demographic had gone up:
Well…to be honest, this past summer, the 14 to 17-year-olds disappeared. I kept thinking, “Is it the Warped Tour? Is it the bands I booked?” Well no, I booked all the bands that should become the next Sleeping With Sirens or Pierce the Veil. I booked Neck Deep and Knocked Loose and I Prevail and Beartooth — all doing really well as bands. But when our demo jumped, our average age jumped almost three years last year, up to 19. So then you’re sitting there at night on the bus going, “Where are the kids?”
The Warped Tour has booked everyone from pop-punk and ska mainstays like Blink-182, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Less Than Jake to pop and rap acts like Eminem, the Black Eyed Peas, and Katy Perry, in the burgeoning stages of their careers. The tour has also consistently championed smaller acts. Lyman said that he definitely hoped to bring Less Than Jake and Every Time I Die for the band’s final year, and said he’d love to have back other high-profile vets like Eminem, Ice-T, and Fall Out Boy if possible.
Warped Tour came under fire last year and earlier this year for allowing the anti-abortion group Rock For Life to be one of the 73 nonprofit organizations setting up a tent on the tour.