Kids dig the punk rock

In the 1970s, bands such as the Sex Pistols and the Ramones began the punk rock movement for youths who felt different from the norms of society.

Known for anti-government views and at times outcasted by society, followers of punk are often decorated with piercings and tattoos while having colorful and outrageous hairstyles.

Every summer, the Warped Tour travels across the United States, providing a festival of music and extreme sports these kids can gather and enjoy the attitudes and extremities that bring them together.

Founder Kevin Lyman said he grew up listening to punk music. As the scene grew more popular, he decided to start a tour, combining sports such as skateboarding and in-line skating with an assortment of punk bands.

“(The Warped Tour) is a celebration of being alive,” Lyman said. Now in its seventh year, the tour has only come as close as Orlando in recent years. However, Warped Tour is scheduled for Tampa this year for the first time ever, and will be at the USF soccer field on July 29.

“(Tampa) has a great scene,” Lyman said. “And I hear there’s good food there.”

According to Lyman, the tour almost didn’t survive its first year. After losing a lot of money, Lyman got Vans, a shoe company, to sponsor the event the following year. Ever since, the tour has grown and adds new activities, athletes and bands every year. “The essence of Warped Tour stays the same,” Lyman said. “It’s simple fun, slightly chaotic, controlled anarchy.”

Bands such as Blink 182 and Limp Bitzkit performed at the Warped Tour before making it big. Hip hop bands such as Jurassic 5 and even Ice T have even added to the mix of music in past years.

This year, the Warped Tour is adding a reggae group, Morgan Heritage, to the line-up. They will be the first reggae act to ever be on the tour.

Una Morgan, who plays the keyboard and does vocals, said the group will be joining the Warped Tour on July 25. They are looking forward to the tour and the new experience, hoping the audience will accept their music.

“This was really designed by God,” Morgan said. “If he didn’t have his hand in it, none of this would have been possible.”

Morgan said the members of Morgan Heritage enjoy listening to punk music and bands such as Blink 182. She said they are excited to be part of such a diverse tour.

“Hopefully the momentum that has been going so far will continue throughout the Warped Tour,” Morgan said. “It’s different, (we’re) bringing a little flavor to the soup.”

Lyman said he is already looking for bands to play in next years’ tour. The selection of bands comes from Lyman keeping his eyes peeled for new acts and looking at what shirts kids are wearing, along with listening to demo tapes.

Lyman said many bands bring their own stages to the show and set up and play, and encourages people in Tampa to do the same. He said whoever brings a tent, a generator and equipment can play.

“It’s the good nature of the Warped Tour,” he said. “No other tour’s going to allow this to happen.”

The Warped Tour will include a total of six stages, two of which are considered to be the main stage. Each stage alternates bands, with the two main stages containing the headlining acts. The other four stages are reserved for lesser-known or local groups.

Lyman said he creates the line-up the morning of the show, and said it is important to arrive early due to this fact.

Freshman Doug Draper said he is planning on going to the tour because he enjoys the music.

“I’ve never been and I have an opportunity now,” Draper said. “There’s a lot of different bands, and a lot that I listen to.”

Not only is the Warped Tour a festival of music, but of sports as well. Professional athletes from sports such as skateboarding, in-line skating, freestyle motorcross, vertical skating and even paintball will be performing for guests. Lyman said there will also be an amateur contest, where local athletes can compete in events.

The tour has booths for each band selling merchandise as well as attractions and other entertainment. One booth is a “Ladies Lounge” containing items of female interest, and this year will have female bands playing throughout the day. There will also be a “Reverse Day Care,” where parents of Warped Tour guests can relax in an air-conditioned area and employees can answer questions about what the tour is about, as their children watch the sports or bands.

There will also be chances for guests to win prizes, such as an autographed skate deck from the band Pennywise. Yoohoo, also a sponsor of the tour, is also giving away a total of 45 skateboards, one on every day of the tour.

The lineup for Tampa includes more than 30 bands scheduled for the main stage, including bands such as 311, Fenix TX, Rancid and the Vandals. The additional stages will have other local and smaller bands to add to the combination of the music on tour. “Music is a universal language,” Morgan said.