"Everyone's Treated Equally," Says Festival Founder Who's Never Organized a Diverse Lineup

In case you haven’t heard—the Vans Warped Tour, the annual North American traveling emo/pop-punk festival—will call it quits this summer after 24 years. As someone who once looked forward to and volunteered on Warped, treating it like Christmas in July, believe me when I say: Good fucking riddance.


As expected, Warped and its main players have begun eulogizing the event, as seen in the video above—it’s largely inoffensive, save for a line around the 42-second mark when festival founder Kevin Lyman declares, “It’s pretty simple. You come, you play 30 minutes. Everyone is treated equally.” Uh, cue loud record scratch noise. What?

Perhaps there’s some DIY ethic inherent in the idea of Warped—everyone does play for the same amount of time, and I guess if you’re one of the bijillion white boy emo bands given space on the tour, you are treated equally...equal to all the other white boy emo bands on the tour. As we learned in 2014, when women made up only 6 percent of Warped’s performers, the fest has a track record of mediocre lineups seemingly allergic to any kind of diversity, gender or otherwise (to be fair, all fests have a gender problem). It feels especially damning at Warped, where the majority of attendees are young women (again, in 2014, 53%) who rarely get to see themselves represented, and are asked to enjoy their favorite alternative bands in a space we’ve seen, time and time again, is dangerous for themabusers seemingly outed daily.


When Warped Tour dies, I hope we will remember it as a place where music happened, and no one did enough to protect our girls. When Warped Tour dies, I hope we remember to do better. Until then, leave the “everyone’s treated equally” talk outta here.

Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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