The 2015 Vans Warped Tour will forever be known as the year that sexual allegations and harassment claims marred its reputation. For years, the worst things that had been said about the traveling rock show was how the lineup “sucks” and how all the bands “blow.” This year, things took a turn for the worse with all the allegations surfacing on the internet since before the tour even officially began.
Now that this year’s disgraced incarnation of the tour has come to an end, founder Kevin Lyman has spoken out about one main suggestion he might put into effect in order to secure the safety of future concert-goers.
In an interview with The Stranger, Seattle’s “only newspaper,” Lyman revealed a plan to put an age restriction on the tour.
“Next year we’re going to have no kids on the tour,” he explained to the publication. “It’s going to be really tough if you want to be on this tour and are 21 and under. Whether it’s the artist, crew… anyone.”
At first glance it would appear that Lyman meant that there will be an age restriction for those who want to go to the shows alongside the artists and crew. The tour founder later cleared his statement on Twitter by telling those concerned that the age restriction would only be for the bands and crew members working the tour.
The massive clean up comes on the heels of a lot of backlash Lyman got from how he dealt with all the sexual allegations from those involved with the tour.
The worse offense being when he allowed Front Porch Step aka Jake McElfresh to perform at the Acoustic Basement tent in Nashville. The singer has been pulled from the lineup following allegations of sexual harassment against underage girls. But for those attending the Nashville date, they were surprise and shocked when, without any notice, McElfresh was added to the stage lineup.
To say no one was amused by the turn of events was an understatement; artists scheduled to perform on that stage that day dropped off almost immediately and took to Twitter and other forms of social media to get the word out.
Back in May, another Warped Tour-bound band, Set It Off announced that they had kicked out their bassist after finding out that he had been making sexual innuendos around female fans, inappropriately touched others, and sent weird messages online to females.
Then, there was YouTuber Austin Jones who was kicked off the tour for allegedly asking girls to send him videos of themselves twerking because it would “make him happy.” He also lied about his age at the time. Jones’ antics almost resulted in all the YouTubers being kicked off the tour completely, but Lyman quickly revealed he acted irrationally and allowed all but Jones back on the tour. (Personal note: the tour could have done without them.)
But if those cases weren’t enough, a couple of weeks before the tour concluded, another 2015 Warped Tour band, Slaves was kicked off the tour when it was reported that frontman Jonny Craig had harassed the band’s merchandise worker while drunk. Immediately after it was reported, there was a town hall meeting scheduled and Slaves was kicked off the tour. Soon after the incident, they were dropped by their booking agency and all their 2015 tour dates were suspended.
While we have no suggestions as to how this can all be remedied, it will be interesting to see how Warped Tour 2016 will try to avoid all the bad press and missteps it has encountered this past summer. Even though we have been going to these shows since we were 15 years old, it might be a good idea to put an age restriction on it (see Ultra Music Festival).
From experience, 15-year-olds are not exactly known for thinking straight when the lead singer of their favorite band is right there and some scuzzy guy is offering to let you meet them for “a price.” But that’s just our perspective on the matter.