Vans Warped Tour 2015: A Q&A with Kevin Lyman

The Vans Warped Tour has been travelling across the length and breadth of the US since 1994 and proudly holds the title of being the States' largest travelling music festival.

In 2012, Vans Warped Tour headed across the pond and became integrated into the UK alternative music scene. It's now a yearly staple in the pop punk calendar. This year, we spoke to the man who started it all - Kevin Lyman - about what the UK brings to Vans Warped Tour.

The Vans Warped Tour has a long and successful history – how do you keep it fresh each year for the fans and for the people working behind the scenes?

I think we always keep that feeling of accessibility and try to throw a few surprises you may not expect each year. It is a year round process to make this work. The US tour has only been over two weeks and getting calls and emails all day about next summer.

Is there a notable difference in the fans and atmosphere when the tour is in the US compared to when it’s in the UK? 

Other than being indoors I would say no. The Warped fan is passionate and open minded about their experience.  In the UK people worry a little more about the billing.

You have been working on the festival for 20 years. Are there still things you want the festival to achieve?  

I think in some ways we have become a classroom as much as a festival. You can learn about non-profits, brands and bands that you might not have been exposed to.

How much of a hand do you have in selecting the acts for the line-up? How important is diversity of musical acts and genres to you for the festival? 

In the US I book the whole thing, but in the UK I have a great partner in Mark Walker and Kilimanjaro.  They know the local market and have a great influence.

Have you been to any UK festivals? If so, which ones and what kind of experience did you have? 

Many years ago I brought Warped to Leeds and Reading and they would give us a small tent to set-up in.  Every year we went up in size, since the kids would start to tear down the tent we were in. I think we drove the promoters crazy with the way we did things but they saw that people loved bands like Pennywise, Blink 182, Bad Religion, The Vandals and Less than Jake. They all started to get offers to play on the main stage after the biggest tent got tore down.

Aside from the music, what else can people going to the Vans Warped Tour get involved in or go and see?

It’s great that in the UK the signing lines are always popular. Attendees can get involved by bring a can of food for the food drive and skip the line.

Are there any up and coming bands on the 2015 line-up that are ones not to miss?  

We are bringing a couple bands who played in the US that I loved watching; The Beautiful Bodies and The Kenneths. I am also looking forward to seeing Heck and John Coffey.

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One Comment


You are so lucky to interview Kevin Lyman! I can't wait to meet him one day and thank him for Vans Warped Tour it has helped me learn to love myself and has always been my anti depressant! Great article too!

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