Here are three artists you should definitely catch if you're heading to the festival this weekend 

Warped Tour Isn't a Waste of Time

Warped Tour Isn't a Waste of Time

I don't hate Warped Tour, but some people might have a hard time believing that. A couple months ago I wrote a piece for the music website Wondering Sound called "Warped Tour's Woman Problem," wherein I criticized Warped Tour and similar music festivals — like Gainesville's The Fest and Chicago's Riot Fest — for their surprising and discouraging lack of female musicians.

This year's Warped Tour roster includes less than 20 percent female-fronted bands, with the overall female population hovering around 6 percent. Ouch. The number is especially disappointing considering that according to Warped Tour, the audience is 53 percent female. Don't all those girls and women in the crowd deserve to see more people they can relate to on the stage?

I asked the festival's founder Kevin Lyman about the unbalanced ratio, and he said the numbers are fair, claiming there are just fewer women in bands worthy of playing Warped Tour. I disagreed, and the reaction to the story was huge. A lot of anger was directed at me — one gentleman said, "Girls like this should die," and I thank you for your input, sir! — and some Warped supporters and punk fans felt like I was personally attacking them by criticizing something they love so much. It's understandable; it's never fun to hear that something you support can be flawed. But there was also a lot of good feedback, and several great follow-up pieces that joined in the much-needed discussion about the long-standing and undeniable sexism that exists in punk rock (and the music industry in general, really).

But despite how it might have appeared in the story, I don't think attending Warped Tour is a waste of time. I'm critical of it because I care. I grew up loving punk music, I still love it, and I want the punk scene (which Warped Tour is a part of, for better or worse) to be as inclusive and powerful as possible.

Despite its flaws, the festival does manage to book a few good acts every year, and this year is no exception. Below are three artists that you definitely shouldn't miss if you're planning on venturing out to the fairgrounds on Tuesday — and it's just a coincidence they're all fronted by females.

Mixtapes should be No. 1 on your to-see list if you like doing the pogo. The Ohio-based foursome churns out catchy blasts of melodic pop punk. They make me want to time travel back to high school so I can put their song "Something Better" on every mixtape. The band earns bonus points for the fact that lead singer Maura Weaver is not only the co-vocalist on Masked Intruder's "Heart-Shaped Guitar," but she is also not afraid to be outspoken about how terrible her Warped tourmates Falling in Reverse are. (They have a song that's pro-domestic violence; they're human-shaped piles of garbage.)

You also need to see singer-songwriter Allison Weiss, who released a new EP, Remember When, this week. Her pop anthems are delivered with a painfully relatable and wistful nostalgia as she recalls the good and the bad of past relationships. Taylor Swift comparisons will be plentiful — and not completely wrong — since Weiss is also capable of writing some masterful hooks, as evidenced in the songs "Remember When" and "Giving Up." Weiss also does a somber and quiet acoustic version of Robyn's "Call Your Girlfriend," which might make you appreciate the dance track in a whole new way.

And finally, do whatever you can to catch K.Flay's set, because the San Francisco rapper delivers smooth and quick quips over summer-friendly, laidback beats. It's hard not to compare her to Lorde, as she sings with the same carefree breathiness on songs like "Time for You" and "Wishing it Was You," but when rapping on tracks like "Life as a Dog," she has a playful flow reminiscent of Mac Miller and Lady Sovereign. Her debut album Life as a Dog is a perfect summer-nights soundtrack.

No, there might not be a lot of women playing Warped Tour, but the ladies who are there rule the lineup. Sorry, dudes. I would say, "Punk's not just for boys anymore," but despite evidence to the contrary, it never really was.



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