Looking Back at The Best and Worst Lineups Seen In Warped Tour's 17 Years Of Existence

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The Warped Tour has always had a lot of bands and a lot of different bands. Sure, you're not going to see these bands end up on any Pitchfork best-of, but the tour doesn't exactly play to people who decree most things in life as "meh," either.

Even in its first few years, you could see a hardcore act play after a punk act, a ska act following a metal act, a legendary band next to a band with only an EP out -- and all in a single day.

Indeed, this traveling circus has remained something that a lot of people look forward to every year. But not every year's lineup has been a slam dunk.

When the Warped Tour lineups are at their best, they boast a healthy mix of bands that are for "the kids" (teenagers who look only a little younger than the band members onstage) and bands for the parents and older siblings to enjoy.

So, in that vein, and with the 17th annual Warped Tour kicking off in Dallas at the Gexa Energy Pavilion in Fair Park on Friday, June 24, we decided to take a look back every lineup the festival's ever feature. After the jump, we present our findings for the best and worst Warped Tour lineups over the years.

Agree? disagree? Feel free to leave a comment below. Or just go off on Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman if you see him at the event on Friday.

The Good

1996. When the tour had its inaugural year in 1995, you had bands like Face to Face, L7 and Quicksand performing around large-scale half-pipes filled with skaters and bikers galore. In its second year, this expanded -- both with the number of bands and with the "extreme sports" angle. Bands like NOFX, Beck, and Possum Dixon were on the 1996 bill. This was also the year that Pennywise played the tour for the first time, and they would continue to play the tour for many years after. Guitarist Fletcher Dragge once said that there's never a bad Pennywise show because the band always ends its sets with "Bro Hymn." Warped was always the perfect place to see that, too -- a large crowd of fans onstage singing their hearts out to one of the band's most poignant songs. Years later, the first handful of Warped Tours would be known more for their financial woes than much else, but the groundwork was still laid. And 1996 sure proved itself as a measuring stick for many years to come.

1998. Reverend Horton Heat, Bad Religion, The Aquabats, 22 Jacks, Deftones and Hatebreed -- and all in one day? You bet. Can't argue with that kind of diversity, given how popular ska, pop-punk and metal-tinged hardcore was at the time. The key to understanding why Warped felt more welcoming during these years is in how the majority of the acts appealed to such  broad age ranges. You didn't have to be 16 years old to get into Dance Hall Crashers or Rocket from the Crypt. Though pop-punk had become a mainstream identity in 1994 with Green Day's Dookie and The Offspring's Smash, there was still a very apparent punk aesthetic at this year's festival. When the pop aesthetic became more influential (especially in the wake of Blink-182's commercial success later in the '90s), things became more divided. It wasn't the Warped Tour's fault, necessarily. Personally, I blame all the teenagers who bought New Found Glory t-shirts instead of seeking out Social Distortion vinyl.

2005. This year actually featured a very good balance of bands that had been around (and weren't going anywhere) and bands on the cusp of breaking through. In many ways, it was a return to form. My Chemical Romance, Strung Out, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Thrice, The Dropkick Murphys and Circa Survive all together? Pretty cool.

2010. After a few years of up and down lineups in the 2000s (see below), 2010 had a lineup in the spirit of what drew a lot of different people to it in the first place. With Andrew W.K., Every Time I Die and Enter Shikari mixed with The All-American Rejects Alkaline Trio and so much more, this year proved a surprising treat.

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Shnawko
Shnawko

2011 had Of MIce & Men, Woe, is Me, We Came As Romans pretty good bands i believe

philbert
philbert

2009 had Thrice, NoFX, Bad Religion, ANti-FLag, Dropkick Murphys, The Ataris, Streetlight Manifesto, Big D and the Kids Table and plenty others that was a good year...

Toastsevenyes
Toastsevenyes

Yeah 2009 was actually amazing. good/bad lineups have to do with taste in music. I didnt watch 3oh3 or brokencyde or millionaires and that was the best warped ive been to so far. stop whining.

Shendrew
Shendrew

Forgot the 2008 line up had Katy Perry in it.

Dgatti26
Dgatti26

Yep yep, I remember the 2008 line up.  Katy Perry was cool but sitting front row for Pennywise to end the night was the BEST!!!!! 

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