Here’s a sentence that no one ever wanted to have to type: It’s the last year of Warped Tour.
Dammit, 2018. Why? Why
Since 1995, the sweaty, raucous, multistage spectacle has been a summer staple for virtually every nook of the USA. It’s helped make rock-lovin’ household names out of the likes of New Found Glory, All-American Rejects, Flogging Molly, Motion City Soundtrack, and a gazillion other bands. There have also been some fun and somewhat unexpected guests along the way: Katy Perry, the Black-Eyed Peas, Joan Jett, and Ice T.
Among the bands, none has played more Warped Tour dates than Gainesville's ska-punk vets of Less Than Jake.
The band will join 3OH!3, Reel Big Fish, Pennywise, Simple Plan, and others at Coral Sky Amphitheatre this Sunday.
“[Tour founder Kevin Lyman] is very instinctive... if he thinks it’s time to end it, then it’s time,” Less Than Jake's founding member, drummer, and lyricist extraordinaire Vinnie Fiorello says. “This tour has been such a foundation for summer, for discovery... of new bands for kids to listen to and for everyone to find new things to be fans of. I’m sad to see it go.”
This year’s tour kicked off June 21 in Pomona, California, and has, as in some years past, zigzagged across the country to the Sunshine State. It's generally been the same lovable shindig it's always been: several stages covering open fields sprinkled with merch booths, free stickers galore, sporadic meet-and-greets, and water stations.
Fun historical fact: The West Palm Beach show is the final scheduled Warped Tour date, period.
“Whereas in 2016, the last time we played Warped Tour, it felt like a little bit of a struggle to get people out — there is clearly no struggle this year,” Fiorello says. “People have been coming out to pay their respects for sure. And it feels like an older demographic than usual. We have moms and dads that were fans in the '90s bringing their kids out to make memories together. It’s pretty cool.”
Once Warped wraps, Less Than Jake plans to take a breather before hitting some big-time festivals up north, including 350 Fest in Tinley Park, Illinois; and Four Chord Music Festival in Pittsburgh. Then, in November, it’s off to the United Kingdom with Reel Big Fish.
Regardless of what’s ahead for Less Than Jake (or any other Warped regulars), it’s generally sad to know there isn’t another Warped summer adventure to look forward to.
“One of the biggest negatives about this is that there is just not a replacement for Warped Tour,” Fiorello says. “It’s always maintained a younger demographic, blending all kinds of styles and genres. There is nothing else like it.”
Vans Warped Tour. 11 a.m. Sunday, August 5, at Coral Sky Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach; 561-795-8883; vanswarpedtour.com. Tickets cost $45 to $55 via ticketmaster.com.