The Vans Warped Tour is North America's longest-running touring festival, celebrating its 20th birthday this year. Warped founder Kevin Lyman and Co. pulled out all the stops for this year's installment, gathering top-tier acts from pop-punk to metalcore and every genre in between. Old favorites and new bands will share the stage together in what is lovingly referred to as punk rock's summer camp.
Check out our list of the 20 must-see bands playing this year's Warped Tour, and be sure to keep up with the rest of our coverage throughout the summer. To see all all the bands performing by which stage they'll be on, head here, and to see when Warped Tour hits your city, click here. Tickets are available on the tour's website.
Now one of metalcore's most popular acts, Of Mice & Men are undoubtedly a big reason that many fans will attend the Warped Tour this year. They'll most likely be one of the later bands performing on the main stage and they'll have one of the most insane crowds (and mosh pits) as well. With the release of Restoring Force earlier this year—the album debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Charts—the California quintet are proving that they're a force to be reckoned with in the genre for the foreseeable future.
It's got to be refreshing for fans of mid-2000s "easycore" pop-punk to see Four Year Strong on the Warped Tour lineup again. Since the release of In Some Way, Shape Or Form in 2011—an album that divided their fanbase—Four Year Strong have been relatively inactive for the last two years. The group just announced they're signing to independent label Pure Noise Records and told the world they'll be releasing a new EP called Go Down In History on July 22. They're working with producer Machine, who was behind the boards for their 2010 album Enemy of The World, which suggests the group might return to their old easycore ways, which should excite fans as new material is debuted on stage this summer.
Tallassee pop-punkers Mayday Parade are no strangers to Warped—they first played the tour in 2007, then again in 2008, 2010... you see where we're going with this. With four records under their belts, they could be considered part of the mid-aughts old guard. Here's hoping they play that incredible cover of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" at the fest.
There's no shortage of iconic vocalists who have graced the Warped Tour stage, from My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way's vampiric croon to Taking Back Sunday singer Adam Lazzara's surprising range. Few are as memorable as Saves the Day frontman Chris Conley, who somehow made singing through your nose seem like the coolest thing a young person can do. Partner that will fast-paced tracks about love gone awry and you've got a winning combination.
There are plenty of Warped Tour veterans performing this year, but none can quite match the legacy of Less Than Jake. These guys have been around since 1992, they've released eight full-length albums, 13 EPs/collections, four live records, countless 7"s and will embark on their eighth Warped Tour in 2014. But as the years have worn on, their live performances haven't changed much. Each show is still an exuberant display, as youthful in 2014 as it was in 1994. They may not have the same hype as the younger acts on the bill, but you'll have a tough time having more fun at any other set all summer.
Warped Tour prides itself on hosting an eclectic lineup of acts from all over, but more often than not, the artists on tour are from the U.S. That can be a bummer, but it doesn't stop post-hardcore acts from across the pond from getting in on the action! Enter Shikari marry metal, dupstep, emo and trance in a way that's completely unique to them and the festival. If you're into weird stuff, these Brits are a must-see.
Real Friends were on Warped Tour last year, but only for three weeks. Apparently they had a pretty good time, because they're back to play the whole summer this year. The Chicago pop-punk act are making their case as heirs to The Wonder Years and The Story So Far, and they'll have their debut full-length album, Maybe This Place Is The Same And We're Just Changing, out on July 22 to bolster their set list with more bouncy tunes. Check out our Song Of The Day feature for single "Loose Ends" to see what the hype is about.
Every Time I Die frontman Keith Buckley is well known for his insane onstage antics, making the Buffalo, NY-based hardcore quartet one of the most fascinating bands to watch in a sweaty club. Seeing them on Warped Tour is a totally different ballgame, but luckily for fans, Buckley has mastered it over the years. The group will partake in their fifth Warped Tour since 2002, and riding on the strength of a new LP called From Parts Unknown, they should be one of the most electric bands performing.
There are few emo anthems as memorable as Finch's 2002 hit "Letters to You." Equal parts desperation and inspiration, the California punk band are dedicated to writing catchy songs dependent on Nate Barcalow's surprising range and Randy Strohmeyer's inventive riffs. Finch were scheduled to call it quits for good last year but made the decision to join Warped for the tour's 20th anniversary. See them now before it's too late!
A lot of things come to mind when someone says "Arizona." "Metalcore" is not one of these words. Fitting, because The Word Alive aren't your normal AZ band. Unlike many of the acts on this list, TWA aren't old school vets, but they've been around the block a couple times. They're also one of the heavier acts on the bill, so if thrashing in the summer heat is your thing, look no further!
Last time Yellowcard played Warped Tour they released a perfect summer single—I mean, it was called "Always Summer"—and jammed it at every stop on the tour in advance of their latest album, Southern Air. Another year on Warped's main stage, coupled with the recent announcement of their signing to Razor & Tie Records, probably means fans will get yet another crunchy, high-soaring pop-punk anthem to belt out during their set. That's exciting news for fans of an act who have been one of the genre's most prolific and consistent since returning to active status in 2010.
Rarely do bands play the entire Warped Tour two years in a row, but The Story So Far make a notable exception this year. One of pop-punk's brightest acts, they were bumped up to the main stage on a few dates last year, and they'll do this entire tour on the main stage. The upward move is just the latest step forward for a band that's only getting more popular since releasing What You Don't See via Pure Noise Records last year.
Here are the cool kids! Echosmith are one of the younger bands on Warped this time around, but don't let that deter you from seeing these high energy pop-punk kids. It goes without saying that they're one of the few female-fronted acts on the bill. If all the gross dude energy bogs you down, Echosmith are here to save the day!
Summer set, summer tour, it just makes sense, right? All jokes aside, The Summer Set are a deliciously delightful pop band that write songs about unrequited love, the desire for success and the age-old teen adage of wanting to get the f**k out of this town. Totally relatable, completely accessible stuff. What are you waiting for?
We Are The In Crowd undoubtedly took a step forward in pop-rock circles with the release of Weird Kids this year, and the band should see their hard work pay off on Warped this summer. Frontwoman Tay Jardine has an infectious persona on stage, and coupled with catchy, sugary pop tunes like "The Best Thing (That Never Happened)," that equals a lot of fun crowd-surfing in the heat.
2014 will be Anberlin's last year together, with the group releasing their final record, Lowborn, on June 23 via Tooth and Nail. That means this summer may very well hold your last chance to watch the Floridians perform live, so if you're a fan of any of their seven studio albums from the past decade, you can't afford to miss their set.
With so many bands performing at the Acoustic Basement throughout the summer, we couldn't pick just one or two to highlight! Plus, you can get under a tent for a bit and beat the heat by watching artists play here.
- June 13 to July 6, Young Statues: Carmen Cirignano is one of the more talented songwriters in the world of indie pop-rock today, and the coolest thing about Young Statues is that it works just as well in an acoustic setting as it does when he plays with a full band. Check out his latest EP, Age Isn't Ours, if you need more proof.
- July 6 to July 11, Aaron West and The Roaring Twenties: We premiered the first song and interview with Dan Campbell of The Wonder Years' solo project, and now we can't wait to see him perform live under this moniker. If he has time, he'll probably play his entire debut album—a character study called We Don't Have Each Other, out July 8 via Hopeless Records—in its entirety.
- July 22 to July 29, Better Off: A young emo band out of Nashville, Better Off put out one of the best records in the genre last year with (I Think) I'm Leaving. If you're at one of these dates during Warped, you gotta check them out.
- Whole Tour, Anthony Raneri and Brian Marquis: As lead singer of Bayside, Raneri spends most of his time belting out lyrics to the pop-punk band's smartly-written anthems. But his solo work takes on a different tone, so it'll be a rare treat to see him perform in a more intimate setting. Meanwhile, Marquis helped invent the Acoustic Basement and is a talent you can't miss.
First things first: Yes, the band The Devil Wears Prada are named after the book that eventually became the movie The Devil Wears Prada. Secondly, they're basically a metal band who write really melodic screamo jams complete with massive breakdowns. Enjoyable stuff, but don't leave those earplugs at home.
Australian metalcore band Parkway Drive have been a band for over a decade, and they're supremely talented musicians, crafting songs that are both melodic and meticulous. If you're new to an instrument, don't even think about tackling these jams. Instead appreciate their skills at Warped! Duhhhh.