The 2017 Vans Warped Tour Official Launch Party
with Memphis May Fire, BlessTheFall, Stacked Like Pancakes, Jule Vera, Microwave
Full Sail Live / Orlando, FL • 3.22.17
by Christopher Long
Hundreds stood in line for more than an hour – all waiting patiently to be scanned, wanded and passed through the thorough security checkpoint. But this scene wasn’t playing out at O’Hare, LAX or JFK. This sea of fresh-faced teens and culture-conscious journalists had converged onto the campus of Orlando’s Full Sail University – eager to get the full scoop – the official 411 on this summer’s sweat-soaked, sun-burnt rock and roll caravan – the iconic Vans Warped Tour.
Hosted by the tour’s founding visionary, Kevin Lyman, the media-driven hoo-ha kicked-off precisely at 6pm and proved ultimately to be more of a raucous rock show than a pretentious press conference.
Welcoming the enthusiastic crowd of 500+ to the state-of-the-art, Full Sail Live auditorium, Lyman was gracious and unassuming – wasting no time in thanking the tour’s official sponsors, including Vans, Journeys, Full Sail, Skullcandy and Monster Energy Drink. Dressed casually in dark jeans and a gray sweatshirt, the industry mogul then plugged the upcoming Vans Warped Re-Wind Cruise set for Halloween 2017, before revealing a few funny hate tweets he’d received recently regarding this year’s line-up.
“We look back sometimes to move forward,” Lyman commented in response to line-up-related criticism. “This line-up is very reflective of where we started in 1995,” he added. “We try to book an eclectic line-up, and this year is a super-eclectic line-up.”
From there, full-on fun and games ensued, as Lyman introduced the night’s first live act, Jule Vera. The Alabama-based band has become an anointed darling of the U.S. rock press since debuting on the 2015 Warped Tour. With their sophomore record ready for a summer release, JV has returned for the 2017 outing – much to the delight of the Full Sail crowd.
Fans cheered throughout the show, as other 2017 Warped Tour bands, including metalcore stalwarts, BlessTheFall and Memphis May Fire, popular ska purveyor, Stacked Like Pancakes and newcomer, Microwave also made surprise live appearances. Special guest VIPs from such marquee combos as Hatebreed, Attila and Beebs and Her Money Makers were on-hand as well, offering their personal insights and past Warped Tour experiences, while the individual line-ups that will grace this summer’s various sponsor stages flashed, crashed and blasted across two different jumbo-sized video screens.
Known almost as much for his philanthropic efforts as for his professional exploits, Lyman also was joined onstage by legendary Alarm frontman, Mike Peters. In 2007, Peters co-founded Love, Hope, Strength – the world’s leading rock and roll cancer foundation. “Saving lives one concert at a time,” LHS and The Alarm will both be out in full force on this year’s Warped Tour.
And in classic Warped Tour “get ’em on and ’em get off” fashion, the entire show – five live bands and all, wrapped-up in just 90 minutes – with the ever-gracious host standing front and center – waving farewell to his flock, while encouraging all (once more) to come out for some great live music this summer.
Lyman has left the building!