Two of our writers decided to write two separate opinion pieces in response to yesterday’s Warped Tour incident. You can read Nick’s below and MJ’s here.
Writing this sucks. It really does. Warped Tour has long been the highlight of my summers. It was a place where I could go with my friends and spend an entire day watching my favorite bands perform. It truly shaped my taste in music, and some of my fondest memories are of those 110-degree Texas days in the middle of July. Which makes what I’m about to say even tougher.
I won’t spend a dime on Warped Tour going forward, nor will I make any effort to support it, and I will urge others to do the same.
The actions of Kevin Lyman spit directly in the face of the culture of safety and progress that so many fans, bands, and organizations are trying so tirelessly to create in this music scene. With one action, Lyman conveyed that none of that matters to him. Not your safety, not your progress, nothing. And what makes it even worse is the fact that it remains a mystery why he would take those actions. There are literally no positive motives to allowing Front Porch Step to play. Tickets had been sold and there was no prior announcement that he would be playing, so the (already frail) argument of “Well kids like it so it’s a good business decision” holds no water. So why then? What could Lyman’s reasoning possibly be? There is quite honestly no answer that would make any sort of reasonable sense.
Which brings me to my main point. Yesterday the #BoycottWarpedTour wave began picking up steam on social media. Music listeners began taking vows to never attend Warped again. This stance was met by a combination of cheers and opposition, with the latter leaning on the argument that it is not fair to punish the other bands on tour for the wrongdoings of a select few individuals. And they’re not wrong.
Choosing to forgo boycotting doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t equate to you encouraging the negative actions. If you go and help spread positivity and speak out against the deplorable actions, that’s fine. It’s a shitty situation for fans and bands this year as there was no warning that this was happening. Tickets were bought and bands were booked. I find it hard to hold that against people.
But to me, choosing not to support the entire entity seems to be the right thing. That entity was made and is controlled by a single person who has shown nothing but disregard toward his festival’s attendees. And he should feel those repercussions.
A boycott is somewhat of an empty threat coming from me, as the chances of me attending going forward were slim enough simply due to work and my changing music tastes. But I will surely encourage people I know not to buy tickets in the future. I won’t write about it. I won’t record podcasts about it. I will go out of my way to point out each and every single time I can that Kevin Lyman is a bad person.
As for the argument that a boycott hurts others that weren’t involved, there are ways to affect that change while also supporting the bands made up of decent human beings on the tour. Buy their merch online. Buy their records. Tell your friends about them. Catch them on their next tour. Even reaching out to them on social media and saying “Hey, you guys are cool” is doing something. In my eyes, the argument that a boycott of Warped hurts the other artists involved doesn’t fly. There are so many ways to support those bands that don’t involve putting money and attention directly into the pockets of a man who is fine with endangering his increasingly young fan base.
This music scene is quickly becoming a heaping pile of trash. It’s extremely disheartening to watch a once-great community devolve so swiftly into a haven for bros to expel hate and abuse. But we can start remedying that by not taking it anymore. Let Kevin Lyman know how you feel about his shitty tour that allows degenerates to prey on fans by not supporting it. Let Kevin Lyman know how you feel about his blatant disregard for your safety by not supporting him. Let the bands that speak and act out against this nonsense know how you feel by supporting them in the numerous other ways you can. But most of all, let Kevin Lyman know that we don’t need, nor will we accept, his bullshit. Make your own scene. And make it better.