Kevin Lyman has had a rough year. Both of his summer tours, the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and the Vans Warped Tour, have wrapped up, and one of them isn’t coming back. And while he unfairly took a lot of heat from his in-the-moment comments about metal, he also caught quite a bit of static for the behavior of some bands on the Warped Tour. Jake McElfresh, better known as Front Porch Step, was removed from this year’s Warped lineup after he engaged in “inappropriate text message and social media relationships involving at least half a dozen teenage girls, including, in some cases, the exchange of sexually explicit pictures,” according to the New York Times. However, Lyman allowed him McElfresh to play an unannounced acoustic set at the Nashville stop, although he played with bodyguards and was escorted on and off the stage without interacting with the audience. Two weeks later, Slaves was voted off the tour after frontman Jonny Craig was accused of sexually harassing his merch person.
In an interview with Seattle’s The Stranger, Lyman says he’s wasted no time thinking about how to change things, and is already working on next year’s tour:
There are things that need to be fixed. [The community] needs to fix what due process is, what judicial systems are, and [we] have to stop putting false information on the internet,” said Lyman. “Slow down the social media blur. None of you are retaining. People can’t retain the name of a band and the song they play. Brains have turned into a spaghetti sieve, as I like to say, shit just flows through them all of the time. Nothing’s sticking, except for a little bit of crust off of the sides. We’re going to have to slow down technology. We have to slow it down, so it means something.”
So what can fans look forward to on next year’s tour? According to Lyman, an older lineup, and not just those onstage:
“Next year we’re going to have no kids on this tour. It’s going to be really tough if you want to be on this tour and are 21 and under. Whether it’s the artist, crew… anyone.”
That’s certainly surprising. For a tour that’s been all about youth culture, raising the age of bands to play could mean that sone buzz bands might not be old enough to play. It also seems a little reactionary. McElfresh is 23 years old and Craig is nearly 30. However, a lot of the younger bands could probably use some mentoring, and Lyman is only one man. If he’s noticed there being too many young people on the tour that he’s been doing for 21 years, that’s his prerogative to react. It’s going to be tough for him or the tour to “slow down technology,” however. Lyman is a smart guy though, so we wouldn’t count him out. And at least he’s not thinking about making an age restriction for the people going to it.