When the Warped tour was born in 1994, it was overshadowed by the well-established alt-rock gathering Lollapalooza and when Warped was getting its bearings in 1996, it was drowned out by the headbanger’s delight, ‘Ozzfest. The following year, the estrogen-fueled Lilith Fair commenced.
Much of the media gave more attention to the other fests at that time.
Well, the Warped tour is still rolling along these days while the Lilith Fair, which tried to come back last summer and failed, is dead. Lollapalooza is no longer road worthy. Perry Farrell’s vision is now a cool weekend event in Chicago held every year in early August. Ozzfest still draws but it’s not an annual event.
But the Warped tour keeps growing. Fans routinely pack venues. A myriad of bands play the event. Sets have been increased from 30 to 40 minutes.
“I love being out at Warped tour,” Gym Class Heroes vocalist Travie McCoy said. “It’s about as good a time as you can have as a performer.”
Gym Class Heroes, which co-headlined the 2008 Warped tour with Paramore, is back for the 2011 event, which will take place Thursday at the Susquehanna Bank Arts Center.
“It’s fun because you’re having barbecues backstage,” McCoy said. “There are a lot of bands and the sets are shorter than usual so you get to hang out with guys in bands, You have an opportunity to see bands. It’s an eclectic scene. Fans get to see all types of bands. I just can’t say enough good things about it. We love to play the Warped tour.”
A disparate bunch of groups are once again set to take the Warped stage. There’s the expected punk rock (Unwritten Law), pop-rock (The Ready Set), ska (Less Than Jake) acts and much more.
“It’s a great deal if you’re a music fan,” McCoy said. “You buy a ticket to one show and you experience so much.”
Some times you’ll catch a seminal old school punk band like Bad Religion, who have been part of five Warped tours or avant-pop recording artists like Beck or future pop monsters such as Katy Perry, who was part of the Warped tour in 2008. “It was an awesome experience,” Perry said. “I had a great time being part of that. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. The Warped tour is incredible for performers and fans. It might be the best time you’ll have during the summer.”