My favorite part of American History classes throughout high school and college were always learning about the 1960s and 1970s, particularly the classes where we discussed how counterculture (being defined as a way of life and set of attitudes opposed to or at variance with the prevailing social norm) influenced our country. As an avid festival attendee and music lover, I always enjoyed learning about Woodstock, the hippies, and their place in my history textbook. For those of you that don't know, Woodstock took place over the three day period of August 15- August 18th in upstate New York in 1969.
More modernly, comes the annual touring festival- Vans Warped Tour, which was founded by Kevin Lyman in 1995, and has not missed a year since. Warped Tour holds the record for the world's longest continuously run travelling festival, at this year being its 22nd year.
Woodstock and Warped Tour have similarities, starting with the crowd that was in attendance at Woodstock, and the crowd that floods the gates of Warped Tour shows across the world.
Influential artists of the era such as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead and The Who played over the three-days during which Woodstock took place. This time span was referred to as the "Three Days of Peace and Music," during which the worries of the festival goers were mitigated (at this time, America was at war with Vietnam). The people at Woodstock were a like-minded group individuals who share the same liberal, pacifist beliefs. Instead of vocalizing their political ideologies and protests of the war through violence, they accomplished it through art and music.
When Warped first began in '95, bands including Sublime, No Doubt, Quicksand, and Deftones were on the lineup, which drew in a crowd that reflected similar political and musical messages to those in attendance at Woodstock. Even in the years following, bands such as blink-182, Jimmy Eat World, Eminem and A Day to Remember helped to contribute to Warped Tour's popularity. The whole 'punk' genre of music as a whole even came from the counterculture, which was the crowd that made up the attendance of Woodstock. Most bands- even on the current Warped lineup- are almost all exclusively left-wing liberals, and continue to make an influence on the audience of 2,000+ people that attend each stop on the tour.
Left-wing, progressive organizations continue to sponsor Warped Tour every year, usually having tents at the festival, giving out freebies such as bandannas or sunglasses just for visiting their tent and signing up for newsletters. Some of the sponsors of 2017 include PETA,To Write Love on Her Arms, FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement), Feed Our Children Now, and Hope For the Day. You can find the whole list of sponsors here http://vanswarpedtour.com/sponsors/ if you are interested in learning more.
I have been an avid attendee of Warped Tour since 2009, and have not missed a year to this day. Although the scene at Warped Tour has shifted even since I have started attending the festival, I will continue to support all of the bands that work so hard to keep the music from the punk scene alive, and the organizations that want to positively impact the world, one individual at a time. In my mind, there is no doubt that the headliners and attendees of Woodstock who are no longer with us today would have loved the passion and the culture that happens not just inside the gates of Warped Tour, but in this music scene as a whole. So what do you think- is Vans Warped Tour the spiritual successor to Woodstock? I think so.
For more of my experience at this year's Warped Tour, head over to my YouTube channel: