The Vans Warped Tour continues its trek across the country, marking its twelfth summer of taking extreme sports and loud rowdy music city to city in a festival style. With the help of the Warped Tour website, the fans have become something of a community. This didn't happen by accident, but was developed intentionally with a new design. It now not only brings news and information about where the bands are stopping and which bands are performing, but is a platform and network of message boards where the festival and concertgoers can discuss the shows and connect.
Similar to the Myspace model, the website was redesigned in 2006 to offer social networking as well as contests and games. The site has become as popular as the tour itself, garnering up to 1,000 new members daily, bringing the total membership up to over 70,000 in only one and a half months. The site also gets an average of 1.5 million page views daily.
Not to be outdone on the online marketing front, the site is also offering "widgets" to promote the bands and sponsors of the tour beyond those who frequent the Warped Tour website. Visitors can download these buttons or banners bearing the name of a band or sponsor and upload them to their own blogs, sites, or message boards. The widget, when clicked on, will take the person to the Warped Tour home page.
Other bonuses to the site include the exclusive audio and video content, online games, and the "Who's Ready For The Show" contest being run by Playstation and open to the bands on the tour. The bands are invited to submit songs and the winner will have their music featured in the MLB 07 The Show! Playstation game. Fans vote for their favorite bands and a winner every week advances to the "Who's Ready For The Show" playoffs, which begin August 7.
The Vans Warped Tour began in 1994 and at any one time can have over 100 bands playing at a given stop. There are ten stages and often bands are playing simultaneously. Scattered amongst the stages are numerous vendors, food, and merchandise booths, creating the festival atmosphere. Headlining the tour when it stops in Buffalo, New York next weekend are Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Helmet. Less Than Jake, Motion City Soundtrack, and NoFX are also highlights on the long list of performers.