Warped Tour -- that perennial bastion of snotty teen punk -- used to be the last place parents wanted to spend a Saturday. Trudge around a dusty suburban parking lot while dozens of bands in white belts howled about adolescent malaise? Without even a proper cocktail venue?
But now that the festival has turned 21 -- yes, that is the grim reaper breathing its frigid invitation to oblivion down your neck, since you asked -- organizers are beginning to plan around the fact that it's a multigenerational endeavor now. At the tour's annual lineup announcement and kickoff party at Club Nokia on Tuesday night, founder Kevin Lyman announced a new policy: one free parent or guardian ticket for every ticket buyer under 18.
This is a savvy and very 2015 move for a festival, especially this one. It's a reflection of festivals openly luring the boomer demographic (just ask AC/DC at Coachella). It boosts the number of bodies through the door, particularly ones who are likely to buy lots of beer to make the neo-screamo go down easier. And it sets up the premise that Warped is a safe space for parents to send their kids, because there will be plenty of parents around.
According to Billboard, Lyman also said there would be a designated parents tent with air conditioning and movies, and that "the comedy tent will be a great place for parents to hang out."
The lineup has the usual deep well of punk-aligned bands, but also a few notable departures like the rappers Riff Raff and Kosha Dillz and a whole stage of YouTube stars. For a festival that has been synonymous with American suburban teenage life for more than two decades, it's a remarkable run that, even as it expands its reach by booking the likes of a young Katy Perry, has kept consistent long enough to have many of its stalwart acts like Senses Fail become almost retro-cool again.
The fest hits Pomona June 19. That said, is there no music festival safe from dads in bucket hats and action sandals?