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20th year of Vans Warped tour is no big deal to backer

| Sunday, July 13, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Kevin Lyman
Kevin Lyman, Vans Warped Tour organizer
Kane Hibberd
Devil Wears Prada

This summer marks the 20th anniversary of the Vans Warped tour, but you won't see those associated with the tour making a big deal about it.

There's barely a mention of the anniversary on the Warped website.

There's no logo commemorating the occasion. The only real promotion is a 3D commemorative ticket that fans can buy as a keepsake for the occasion. The tour is at First Niagara Pavilion, Burgettstown, on July 15.

Otherwise, Warped 2014 looks a lot like the Warped tours of the past 19 summers. It offers a full day of music from more than 50 acts across multiple stages, plenty of opportunities to learn about the 20 or so charities and other organizations involved with the tour and how they benefit the communities the tour visits, and an array of vendors to visit over the course of the day.

“I don't need to run a flag around that it's 20 years,” tour organizer Kevin Lyman says. “I've been getting a few notes from some people and some letters from people saying they worked on it in this year and they went on to do very well in life. And their experience on the Warped tour trained them either to work hard or stay focused or gave them inspiration. That's all you need.”

This year's lineup, Lyman says, seems similar to the one he assembled last year. Once again, there are no blockbuster headliners, but a lot of emerging acts that seem ready to make a mark, as well as a good number of more established acts — such as Yellowcard, Saves The Day, Every Time I Die and the Devil Wears Prada — that have enjoyed some degree of decent popularity at some point in their careers.

Lyman has always loved seeing bands build a buzz on Warped and then go on to bigger things on the heels of their stint on the tour.

This year, Lyman sees Echosmith, a group that was bubbling under the radar last summer when it also played Warped, as a candidate for a breakout.

“They were on Conan (the “Conan O'Brien Show”), and they're on all of the big TV shows,” Lyman says. “And they're coming out on Warped tour again, and it will be interesting to see their (growth) this year.”

Bad Rabbits may be another band to watch.

“I think they're going to be one that people, their crowds, are going to be extremely larger than they were the first time they were out with us,” Lyman says.

So far, it appears that Warped will draw its usual number of ticket-buyers this summer — about 500,000 for the entire tour. The early dates did OK, Lyman says, but he expects that as the tour rolls through July and chatter about the acts playing the tour increases on the web, the dates will draw bigger numbers.

“We're out there, and I think for a lot of kids, this tour really still means something,” he says. “And they come out and support us, and they want us to be there.”

Alan Sculley is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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