SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif. — Hundreds of concertgoers came forward this week, accusing the famed Warped Tour festival of enticing them to a litter-strewn field and forcing them to watch older men perform “terrible, unspeakable acts” for their own entertainment.
Warped Tour organizers were quick to defend themselves.
“Hey, these kids were free to go as soon as their parents came to pick them up,” Warped Tour creator Kevin Lyman said. “When they’re there, watching Good Charlotte, they’re having a great time — but then, years later, they say it was an awful, embarrassing experience that they can’t talk about? If these bands were so bad, why didn’t these people just leave?”
The earliest allegations stem as far back as 1995. One teen, who presented a hemp knit beanie as proof she attended the 2013 tour, recounted being stuck in the pit of the Kia Forte Stage, forced to watch as one band after another exposed their awful music to hundreds of minors in broad daylight. “They promised us a quality music experience and a corporate-sponsored good time,” the accuser said. “What we got was anything but. I still have nightmares about Bowling for Soup.”
Attorneys for the Warped Tour issued a statement denying any wrongdoing by their client.
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“We had around 60 bands playing in our 2017 lineup, and we firmly believe these bands are legitimately talented. They are not simply formulaic pop-punk, designed strictly for profit,” read the statement. “We have a sworn affidavit signed by 50 ‘rock ‘n’ rollers’ in support the Warped Tour’s history of ‘totally legit and swag’ musical choices.
“I’d forgotten all about it,” said another anonymous Warped Tour attendee, who was 14 at the time of the incident. “But when the accusations started, I had this horrible flashback to watching Royal Crown Revue in Panama City in the ’90s. Everyone was swing dancing. It was just disgusting. They’ve gotten away with it for over 20 years.”
While not publicly acknowledged, some have quietly suspected the timing of the accusations, coming after the Warped Tour announced that their 2018 offering would be their last.
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Photo by Noel Vasquez.