Vans Warped Tour hits Tampa: final days of a long-standing institution


By Chyrisse Tabone, ROCK AT NIGHT TAMPA

Venue: Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa, Florida–August 4, 2018

Inside the amphitheatre

It is with great sadness that all good things come to an ending.  Yesterday, at Mid-Florida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa, Florida, Rock At Night attend its last Warped Tour event—forever.  It was 25 years ago that Kevin Lyman founded the tour, which was spawned from the skateboarding, and melded into an annual Summer tour of alternative, punk, ska, and hip hop bands across America.  Vans Warped Tour was the springboard for many well-known bands today, as they were given the opportunity to gain fans touring state-to-state and city-to-city.

I was always impressed with how organized the Vans Warped events were and how the band times ran like clockwork.  Additionally, the tour provided an opportunity for community education as many non-profit organizations set up tents to education young people about mental illness, AIDs, testicular cancer, breast exams—you name it!  I also found it neat that parents with kids under the age of 17 years old could have a parent or guardian attend for free as the tour offered “reverse day car” tents for parents to hang out.  All of these things will be sorely missed!  I only hope that another organization takes the torch and starts a similar tour!

Well, yesterday in Tampa (the day before the final event, which was today in West Palm Beach, Florida), was a scorcher—but alas, no rain!  It was almost a miracle by Florida summer standards that the rain bypassed the area.

Less Than Jake

In recent years the Vans Warped Tour event was held at The Vinoy Park, St. Petersburg, which offered a beautiful view of the Bay and lots of trees for cover. I was a wee bit concerned about the movement to the Mid-Florida Amph, however, upon arrival, it was very easy to park.  There were plenty of attendants on hand to assist with directions and the security line moved quickly.  As we were walking toward the venue, there was a display of FREE bottles of Monster coffee.  What a nice way to start the event!

The amphitheatre was divided into a Left Journey and Right Journey stage which was a big plus for this location.  There was a covering for the sun and plenty of seats for people to sit and enjoy the music. If a person wanted to get up close and personal with the bands, there was a large area near the stage, which eventually filled up with a circle pit and lots of crowd surfers as the bands played.

MyChildren MyBride

Outside of amphitheatre, merch booths, food trucks, and additional stages were set up on the grounds.  There were real restrooms and water fountains (a big plus over the usual Port-o-lets).  I really hope more festivals decide to use this location in the future.


So, it was a hot HOT day of running from stage-to-stage to see many of the band sets around the entire campus—and it is nearly impossible to see them all, so one has to pick and choose.  I have to say, the music and bands were really exceptional, which made it even sadder to know it was the last time.

Rock At Night was able to grab a few interviews, even though it was not easy. Many of the bands were not giving interviews since it was the end of the tour.  They are probably fatigued, no doubt, and winding down.  Keep watch as we publish the text/audio podcast articles!

To see some of the highlights, check out the Photo Gallery below.

**It is hard to pick a personal fav’ but I’m a big fan of Palaye Royale.





Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D.
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