Warped Tour 2018: The exit interviews from Hartford

There’s no doubt that bands and artists who have been asked to join the Vans Warped Tour over the years have felt absolutely burned out by the seemingly endless bus rides between venues, the early setup times and the quick turnaround after their set that has them already preparing for the next city. But that doesn’t mean that some folks won’t miss it once it’s gone.

This past Sunday (July 15), Vanyaland hit up Warped down in Connecticut and caught up with a few bands ahead of their sets at Hartford’s Xfinity Theatre to see what they were feeling about the end of an era that, in many ways, shaped an entire generation of punks, metalheads, and even rappers.

We approached a handful of artists with a few ballpark questions, and here’s what they had to say:

‘What are you going to miss most about Warped Tour?’

This Wild Life’s Kevin Jordan: “I think there’s a lot of camaraderie on this tour that you don’t see on something like a club tour with four or five bands on it. Sure, you got a decent group of people that are together every day, and they’ll spend time from noon to 10, but with just the sheer mass of Warped Tour, I’ve met so many great people, like I’ve loaded the trucks with guys, half of which I don’t even know their names, but they’re like nameless homies, basically. On our first year on the tour, I walked in with the impression that everyone was just going be assholes, but you don’t really find that many bad apples on Warped. It’s really just a ton of cool people working super hard.”

‘Are you upset that this the last Warped Tour or are you more honored that you were asked to be a part of the final run?’

Sleep On It’s TJ Horansky: “It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling. I think this community and this scene is losing a lot by losing Warped Tour. I mean, I’m sure they’ll do something else in the future, but just not a full national run, but it’s definitely bittersweet. I do feel very fortunate to have been given the chance to be on the last run, and it sucks that it’s going away, but I think this is the best Warped to be on, honestly. A lot of dates are selling out, a lot of people are really excited, and fans are hungry for new music it seems, so I feel super fortunate to be on this year’s tour.”

The Interrupters’ Aimee Interrupter: “We all grew up watching our favorite bands play Warped Tour, it’s so musically historical, because it’s where we watched all of our favorites play, so it just feels like we’re a part of history here.”

The Interrupters’ Kevin Bivona: “I wouldn’t say I’m upset about it, because when chapter ends, another begins, so I can’t wait to see what Kevin [Lyman, Warped Tour founder] does in the future, because he’s always been such a big part of bringing punk rock to the masses, and we’ve played both of the It’s Not Dead Festivals that he ran in Southern California, so we were happy to be a part of that, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds and hopefully be a part of that, as well.”

‘How has the Warped Tour atmosphere helped you become better artists, or even just closer as friends?’

The Interrupters’ Kevin Bivona: “When we first did this tour back in 2016, we were sharing a bus with another band, and I think, we couldn’t have been any more different, but as people, you bond with people and with bands that you might not wind up running into because of the amount of variety there is on this tour. We were exposed to music that, if we were on just a punk rock tour, that we might not have seen, and I hope it helps us get on a bill with a band that we might not normally be on a bill with.”

Sharptooth’s Lauren Kashan: “Warped Tour has definitely helped us get our sets to be super tight. Tweaking it and figuring it all out, there have been so many shows to see what works well, and what we could save for another day, and we’ve also become a lot more confident in our live show ability. Looking at our crowds from the start of our show, to the end, we want to create this big spectacle that people can’t look away from, so you just watch as people creep over, because they’re probably thinking ‘what the hell is going on?’ and it’s continued to bring more and more people to the stage during our sets. And, also becoming friends with all of these other bands on the tour has been huge for me especially, but for all of us as a band, as well.”

Photo by Jason Greenough for Vanyaland; follow him on Twitter @dadbodvanilla.