Fifth Vans Warped Tour Getting New Look

Pioneering punk rock outing plans swing dancing and increased extreme sports attractions.

The fifth edition of the Vans Warped Tour -- featuring such punk acts as Pennywise, Blink 182 and Less Than Jake -- will kick off this June where last year's tour ended, with a show in Austin, Texas.

But plans are to start off on a different foot.

"We're trying to change the whole look of the tour," festival organizer Kevin Lyman said of alterations and additions planned for this year, including a swing and Latin music dance tent and more extreme sports attractions.

The pioneering punk rock and extreme-sports tour is tentatively set to open June 25 and wind through the United States, stopping in a couple of Canadian cities along the way before it heads overseas in July. The tour will spend three weeks in Europe, beginning with an Aug. 16 stop at an as-yet-unannounced venue.

Among the other groups already confirmed to play the U.S. leg of the outing are such hardcore punkers as Grinspoon, Dropkick Murphys and Spanish rockers Molotov, Lyman said.

Last year's Warped tour, for which SonicNet created the website, featured sets from punk rockers Rancid, Bad Religion, Deftones, NOFX, Reverend Horton Heat and pioneering ska-pop act the Specials.

Lyman said one of the switches this year involves turning the local stage back to local promoters. Last year organizers booked the three main stages as well as the hometown bands who played the local stages. "It got too crazy to book all the stages," Lyman said of last year's approach. "So we will travel with three [stages] this year and let the local promoter pick the best local bands."

Another change is the introduction of a swing and Latin dance tent to satisfy the growing number of bands and fans of those popular sounds. The tent will be anchored by a band made up of college musicians playing everything from swing standards to punk rock and rock classics, Lyman said.

"I think the whole swing/mambo thing was overexposed and now it's going back underground," Lyman said of the reasoning behind the addition of the tent.

In addition to the swing band, the L.A. reggae group Common Sense will anchor the dance tent. The two groups are also expected to provide the music for a traveling fashion show that will feature gear from the tour's core clothing merchants.

Also new this year, Lyman said, will be an art exhibit featuring the creations of professional athletes and musicians, including members of bands on the tour.

Among the extreme sports Lyman said Warped hoped to expand on this year were motorcross and possibly a base jumping area with athletes bungee-jumping from a 200-foot crane.

A full slate of bands and the confirmed tour itinerary will be available soon, Lyman said.

Pennywise and Molotov have already signed up for the European portion of the tour, and Lyman said the German punk band Die Artze has agreed to play the tour's five German shows. Warped will also play Australia -- as it did last year -- in early 2000, Lyman said.

North American Vans Warped Tour Dates:

June 25; Austin, Texas; Southpark Meadows

June 26; Houston, Texas; Artro Arena Lot

June 27; Dallas, Texas; TBA

June 29; Phoenix, Ariz., or Las Vegas, Nev.; TBA

June 30; San Diego, Calif.; TBA

July 1; Los Angeles, Calif.; TBA

July 3; Tahoe, Calif.; Boreal Ridge

July 4; San Francisco, Calif.; Pier 30/32

July 6; Seattle, Wash.; Kingdome Lot

July 7; Vancouver, B.C.; PNE Center

July 8; Portland, Ore.; Downtown Park

July 9; Boise, Idaho; Idaho Center

July 10; Salt Lake City, Utah; Fair Grounds

July 11; Denver, Colo.; CU Field

July 13; Kansas City, Mo.; TBA

July 14; Minneapolis, Minn.; TBA

July 15; Chicago, Ill.; United Center Parking Lot

July 16; Cleveland, Ohio; Flats at Nautica

July 17; Philadelphia, Pa.; Core States Center Lot

July 18; New York, N.Y.; Randall's Island

July 20; Pittsburgh, Pa.; IC Light Amphitheater

July 21; Buffalo, N.Y.; LaSalle Park

July 22; Detroit, Mich.; Phoenix Street

July 23; Toronto, Ont.; The Docks

July 24; Montreal, Ont.; Parc Des Lies

July 25; Asbury Park, N.J.; Stone Pony Parking Lot

July 27; Northampton, Mass.; Fairgrounds

July 30; Orlando, Fla.; Central Florida Fairgrounds

July 31; Miami, Fla.; Pompano Amphitheater Grounds