In 2015, the announcement was made that Vans Warped Tour would be skipping Canada for the first time in many years due to construction. In correlation, Journeys teamed up with Vans Warped Tour to offer discounted tickets and bus passes for Canadian fans to attend the closest date in Buffalo New York. Earlier this week the tour announced the dates for the 2017 tour which fell short of fans expectations, not including any dates in Canada for a second straight year.
Following the announcement, various comments became public from Warped Go-ers showing their frustration for the lack of Canada dates for the festival. Being casuals to the music scene, the typical fan might not understand the amount of work that goes towards creating an event of this magnitude. While Warped Tour may come and go each summer, the crew involved behind the scenes never stops working. While the Warped Tour lineup is adding its finishing touches and most bands have received their offers for 2017, many fans are confused as to why Canada is being skipped yet again. There’s various reasons, take it easy on Kevin, it’s not his fault.
- Passports – Vans Warped Tour typically consists of anywhere between 50-80 bands on any given summer. This means that not only does each band member have to have a passport to cross the American/Canadian border. But this also means that their merch guy/girl, driver, Warped Tour Crew members, vendors and anyone that is a part of the tour also has to have a passport. The passport process can take anywhere from a month to a year, various stipulations depending. It’s also an added expense on top of the already expensive tour.
- Work Visas – Most of the bands typically involved in playing Vans Warped Tour are at the stage of their career where playing music is how they make a living. In Canada, they have very strict laws limiting touring musicians from making money in Canada. But this is also another added expense on top of everything else that EACH member of EACH band needs to take care of. If a band member doesn’t have a work visa, they’re not permitted to play the shows. In addition to this, the bands have to itemize and have a list of all of their equipment marked by serial number that they are bringing into the country.
- Alcohol and Tobacco – One may suspect that a rock n’ roll festival includes a lot of alcohol. Typically each band is allotted a case or two of beer each day there is a show, provided by the tour. This doesn’t include what is purchased by individuals on the tour or what is provided at the BBQ’s each night. Whenever the tour goes to cross the border they have to leave a majority of the alcohol behind, you’d be surprised how much alcohol piles up in bands trailers throughout the summer.
- Merchandise – All of those nice shirts, CDs, and hats that you buy at the merch booth come at a cost. Whenever a band is coming into Canada, they have to provide and conduct an inventory all of their products. Aside from this, they have to provide what the wholesale cost is and what price they will be charging at their merch booth. In addition to this, most of the time they have to pay an additional 5% tax on top of anything sold.
- Currency Exchange Rates – Bands make a majority of their money off of selling merchandise. The tricky exchange rate from American money to Canadian money can make for a huge headache for the bands.
- Criminal Records – Nobody is perfect and sometimes certain things happen that land someone a criminal record. Its been known that artists with recent criminal occurrences are often not allowed into the country. Meaning if there is an on going dispute, it’s going to be rather impossible for your favorite band to make it across the border.
These are just a few of the major points that Canadian fans need to understand before getting upset about the tour not coming their way. If you have the option to make it to the date in Buffalo, please do so and continue to support the hardworking crew and bands that make this tour possible each year. While it is frustrating that you may miss out one your favorite festival, please understand that Kevin and company don’t create the rules, they just follow them.