Warped tour founder Kevin Lyman announced in November that this year’s version of the long-running punk festival will be the last. But Warped will still have a presence in 2019 thanks to a four-part series celebrating the tour’s 24-year run, which scheduled to come out next spring to coincide with the festival’s 25th anniversary.
A collaboration between Anthem Films, Dola Media Group and Warped, the series is being presented as a four-part series that looks at the history and vast influence of the tour, which has hosted virtually every punk-rock act of the past three decades (along with less-likely artists including Beck, Katy Perry and Eminem). Paramore’s Hayley Williams has said she “grew up” on the tour.
“The documentary that we’re putting together is really about the legacy of the tour,” director DJay Brawner tells Variety. “Of course, this year being the final year it’s important for us to capture moments from the culmination, but what we’re really trying to put together is a story about how the tour started and grew over the last 24 years, with all of it culminating with the final day and what that means for this team of people, the future of the brand and everything in between.
“So what we’re really trying to put together is something where we celebrate the faces of the tour, artists like Blink-182, Limp Bizkit, No Doubt, Fall Out Boy, Katy Perry, Taking Back Sunday — the list goes on and on. Getting all of them to tell us their story of Warped, and also all the people who have been involved it from other angles, like the [longtime sponsor] Vans team, the various sponsors, the music managers and publicists of all the tour over the years.”
“Breakdancing, skateboarding, punk rock, and hip hop were the backdrop of my coming of age,” Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst tells Variety. “When I got the idea for Limp Bizkit and how I wanted the experience to feel, I didn’t know where it would fit… until we were asked to play the Warped Tour. The tour literally changed our lives in the best way. We were playing live in front of people who liked the same things — not necessarily much breakdancing, but all the rest. It was an instant roaming family. We were officially apart of something that made sense for us. I’ll never forget all of the artists we met and bonded with: We were surely fish out of water there, but it felt like home to me.”
While Brawner says his crew’s filming will take place this summer, there is an abundance of footage from the previous years to draw on. “We’ve got archival footage that goes all the way back to the first year of the tour.”
Lyman hopes the tour’s sense of camaraderie will be celebrated in the as-yet untitled series. “Warped was not about just one band but about a community,” he says. “Every person has a role and it only succeeds by 100% effort. In bands’ performances that is the key to standing out.”
Among the acts that shared Lyman’s spirit of community and took to social media were All Time Low singer Alex William, who wrote, “The Warped tour introduced me to the counter-culture, the music and the DIY dream that inspired me to create and perform. Without it, I probably would not be where I am today.”
Neck Deep called it some of “The best days of our lives.”
Brawner, a veteran of 23 Warped tours as a musician and/or fan, has no shortage of his own memories. “We can all look back fondly at our time seeing our favorite bands play 20-minute sets and a second later another band that is also one of your favorites popped up on another stage,” he says. “I think that experience is such a positive one for people who grew up in the music scene.”
As for Lyman, who cited his age (57) and other interests as a reason for ending the tour, admits to some mixed feelings now that the end is nigh — although he has high hopes for what the series and the tour’s legacy might bring about. “Personally,” he says, “I hope it inspires someone to step up and do it better than I did.”