According to this Billboard article (via Reuters) Vans Warped Tour co-founder Kevin Lyman has decided to apply his summer-fest savvy business model to country music with a "multi-act, multistage, sponsor-driven and conservatively priced" roadshow that will make its inaugural run in the summer of 2010.
To put the tour together, Lyman has opened an office of his 4fini Productions in Nashville. His company's team visited Nashville in January to meet with labels, managers and agents on an exploratory trip, and interest was high.
Originally created as an alternative to Lollapalooza, Warped Tour has mutated over the past 15 years from a parade of spiky bleached-blonde fat wreckers singing pop-punky epitaphs of chain wallets and skateboards, to an emo trade show of Chelsea-headed vegan man-children screaming overwrought post-9/11 half-time anthems about their dead grandmothers. Along the way, the festival has played a capital role in launching the soul-crushing careers of acts ranging from Blink 182, Sum 41, No Doubt, AFI, Sugar Ray, Alien Ant Farm and MxPx to Hawthorne Heights, My Chemical Romance, Yellowcard, Against Me!, Thursday, Taking Back Sunday and Fall Out Boy.
If your band is aiming for that 12- to 18-year-old demographic, then getting the powers that be--labels, booking agents, managers etc.--to put you on the Warped Tour is your greatest hope for the exposure needed to make you the next big thing. (Just ask The Pink Spiders.) If you've ever subjected yourself to watching the Fuse network at any point during the summer, then you've undoubtedly noticed that it basically becomes a 24-hour commercial for the festival.
In addition to the Vans Warped Tour, Kevin Lyman & Co. are also responsible for the Warped-esque "Rockstar Taste of Chaos Tour," as well as what will suffice as a substitute for the now dormant Ozzfest: "Rockstar Mayhem festival." Being that Lyman has diversified his model to include metal, country music seems like an obvious move. This forthcoming "yet-to-be-named" tour will, according to Lyman, "probably book about 14 acts and 10 to 12 singer-songwriters" as well as "target ancillary events with other exhibition partners, and action sports exhibitions." So instead of half-pipes and "extreeeeeammm" sports, just imagine some stock car racing and rodeo games. Anticipate sponsors such as Skol, John Deere and Budweiser as opposed to Vans. One thing that you can likely count on is that this traveling festival will come to Nashville.