In a few days, Warped Tour is launching into its final summer tour. This will be my 13th and last Warped Tour and I have a lot of feelings about this.
I’m not as upset about it as I might have been a few years ago. Even just two years ago. The obvious reason might be that I’m just more into Korean music now and haven’t been keeping up with that scene, and that’s a little bit correct. But the truth is that Kpop actually helped me distance myself from a music scene spilling over with domestic violence, statutory rape, and complete disdain and disrespect for the female members of that community.
I know that “rock-n-roll” has always been synonymous with lewd behavior but when guys in bands are using their “status” to abuse girls in various ways, that’s just unacceptable and I’m sick of hearing the excuses of “she asked for it” or “he was drunk” or “he didn’t know she was underage.” Maybe it’s me getting older and having less tolerance for bullshit, or maybe I have some latent feminism in me after all, but the last several years have made me so angry and disappointed, when all I wanted to do was go to shows and support the bands I loved. You can argue that these things should be kept separate from the music, but….should they really? Should we really turn a blind eye just because we like the songs that a date-rapist sings on stage to 200 people at a dive bar?
It started with Jonny Craig. I loved his music, I loved his voice, I loved the bands he was in, and I really loved seeing him perform live—even when he was too fucked up to remember the lyrics. But there comes a point when too many girls start speaking out, and it’s hard to ignore that. It’s hard not to believe it. And it’s hard to keep supporting someone like that.
Yet, he continues to have some semblance of a career because the #MeToo movement isn’t taken as seriously in this music scene, for whatever reason. Maybe it’s the immature sheep-mentality of the kids* who follow these bands who continue to blindly support their monster idols, which makes the record labels more reluctant to drop these bands because $$$$$. Maybe it’s the fact that this is such a male-dominated scene and bros would rather defend their rapist/abuser homies than grow a fucking backbone and leave the band or the tour.
*(The girls who still defend him make me sick to my stomach and I hope that someday they grow up and realize what a disservice they did as a representative of our gender. And I hope that they don’t have a daughter who becomes a victim to some asshole’s testosterone-fueled entitlement.)
And that brings us to Warped Tour, which continually books bands who are notorious for misogynist behavior, or have members who assault women on the tour bus, or whose drug addiction is a danger to themselves and everyone around them. It’s really hard for me to justify my decision to attend this festival, which has becoming nothing more than a breeding ground for sex-violence. I will be the first to admit that I am a fucking hypocrite because I bought a ticket for the last ever tour, knowing that, for instance, Falling In Reverse will be there, a band with a singer who is notorious for his history of domestic violence.
But I know that there are also a lot of bands there who AREN’T like that, who ARE pure in their intentions, and there are great organizations and charities who will be there as usual. Is that enough to counteract the dark side of Warped? Eh…nope.
There was speculation that Warped was calling it quits because of all the recent bands who have been accused of sexual harassment/violence over the last several years, or the fact that attendance has been dropping, but the founder of Warped Tour denies that. Still, one can’t help but wonder.
Let’s see if these jackass boys can behave themselves for one final summer run.