Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman thought he'd build some early enthusiasm for the 2006 edition of his pop-punk extravaganza by announcing some band names in mid-November. What he didn't expect was that, by confirming some acts, a slew of others would start claiming that they're also on the bill.
Which is exactly what's been happening, according to Lyman. And he's less than psyched about this wave of what he calls "Warped Tour fraud." In fact he's downright angry.
"Basically we've become aware of several bands that have not been booked on the 2006 Warped Tour who are soliciting sponsorship money from companies by claiming that they're playing on next year's tour," Lyman said. "We're already aware of a couple of bands that have been telling companies they're playing Warped, and we're finding out about more every day. And when we do, those bands are banned from not just next year's tour, but all future editions of Warped. We don't tolerate fraud."
Lyman said he's been made aware of a few bands that have been reaching out to Warped corporate sponsors looking for money, clothing and other merchandise, which they promise to wear and sell on the 2006 tour. Of course, it's not exactly the smartest plan in world, considering that Lyman deals with almost all of the tour's corporate sponsors.
"Basically I know all these people who work at these companies, because I deal with them on a face-to-face basis," Lyman said. "So they've come to me and said, 'Hey, so-and-so band is telling us they're on Warped, and they want some video games or some energy drinks.' And then I've gone to the bands and basically told them to knock it off."
Lyman announced the first wave of Warped '06 headliners last month (see "Motion City Soundtrack, Thursday, NOFX Already On Board For Warped '06"), and while most of the main-stage acts on the tour are paid, several bands on smaller bills are not, and so they rely on corporate sponsors — as well as merch sales — to remain on the tour. Lyman said the bands he's busted for fraud (which, according to him, are "small-time acts") not only hurt their fellow bands, but also damage the relationship between Warped and its sponsors, which helps keep ticket prices low.
"Everybody knows that Warped has cheap tickets, and that's because we rely on corporate sponsors. And when bands try to rip those sponsors off, it not only confuses the marketplace, but it can only make the price of tickets go up," he said. "We have problems every year, people trying to take advantage of Warped's open community. In the past people were trying to sell sponsors' tickets and passes on eBay. And now they're trying to trick those sponsors. I mean, it's got to stop, because I don't want to start running Warped like some sort of military camp or something."