The punk, heavy metal, and hardcore music communities are bracing for the end of the Vans Warped Tour, which will come to a close after its final run next year. While some mourn the loss of the festival, many are saying good riddance to Warped Tour and all the shocking and unsavory events that have transpired at it over the last 23 years. Ranging from the bizarre to the truly dangerous and disturbing, Warped Tour horror stories have become almost as synonymous with the music festival as, well, music.
Warped Tour helped to establish a number of now-mainstream acts, catapulting careers and giving worldwide exposure to performers who had never previously played a high-profile stage. The roster of Warped alumni is a long and surprisingly diverse one, including The Black Eyed Peas, Blink-182, Fall Out Boy, Katy Perry, My Chemical Romance, Yelawolf, and will.i.am. Don't let these innocuous acts fool you, however; some terrifying stuff has gone down at Warped over the years.
Read on to learn some of the worst things that happened at Warped Tour.
I don't take "good selfies" I'm just this attractive �� pic.twitter.com/aqYYFbN6d7— FRONT PORCH STEP (@Frontporchstep) September 26, 2014
There have been multiple reports of sexual harassment on the Warped Tour. One of the most prominent happened in 2015, when Front Porch Step (real name: Jake McElfresh) was accused of sexually harassing and digitally stalking underage girls during the tour. He apologized, but the public's response was swift and loud, putting pressure on tour founder/organizer Kevin Lyman.
At first, it seemed like Lyman would boot Front Porch Step from the tour, but McElfresh ended up playing. "Are you going to rape some little girls?" someone yelled during his set. From the stage, Front Porch Step responded, "The difference between you and me is that I know who I am, and I f**king am very proud of that. So you can go ahead, watch my set. Thanks for the ticket money, dude."
Mosh pits have never been thought of as safe spaces. Even in ideal conditions, they are extremely dangerous and pose a number of threats to people's well-being. Of all the world's mosh pits, the Warped Tour pit may take the prize for outright awfulness.
Moshers have been trampled and seriously injured, and fellow attendees haven't seemed to care that much. In a story from October 2012, one festival attendee recounted coming across an unconscious girl in a mosh pit. Not only did no other moshers stop to help, they were actually "crowd surfing out, just to catch a glimpse of this girl."
Security guards were trampled as they attempted to help her. Paramedics finally got through, but how many lives were risked just so a few people could thrash around a mosh pit? And no one stopped to help the unconscious woman? A prime example of humanity at its worst.
There have been rumors of some Warped Tour bands buying and selling drugs. While it's certainly not shocking that a hardcore band would partake in substances while on tour, the way one band allegedly went about it can only be described as brazen.
In July of 2015, the band Slaves was reported to have bought and/or sold drugs right from their merch table. Slaves denied the claim, declaring "There were NOT drugs involved nor was anyone in our band looking to buy, or sell drugs" in a publicly issued statement. This defense did not save Slaves from getting voted off Warped Island: in an assembly reminiscent of a town hall meeting, festivalgoers booted Slaves from the tour.
This one is another alleged infraction committed by Slaves, and it's a doozy. Rumors abounded in July 2015 that the band had dumped the sewage tank from their tour bus out of the bus's window. Again, Slaves denied the allegations. "We did NOT empty our non existent sewage tank from our bus all over." So does this mean that they emptied their bus's existent sewage tank all over? Either way, it's pretty gross.