Warped Tour aims to curb reports of inaction regarding alleged sex crimes with new partnership

If you’re a fan of the alternative music scene then you know Van’s Warped Tour spent the better part of 2015 buried in controversy. The reason for this, and the reason so many are still hesitant to return to the tour in 2016, is due largely to a perceived lack of concern or action from tour organizers in response to allegations of sexual assault, rape, and other sex crimes supposedly perpetrated by artists on the tour. The decision to allow alleged sexual predator Jake McElfresh to perform at the Nashville stop of Warped 2015 was the most notable story to cause outrage last year, but it certainly wasn’t the only decision that upset tour supporters. 

In the wake of Warped Tour 2015 coming to a close, founder Kevin Lyman made a promise to make changes ahead of the tour’s return, and today we found out (at least some of) what those plans entail. According to a new press release, Warped Tour has officially partnered with A Voice for the Innocent, a non-profit dedicated to giving a voice to victims of rape and sexual abuse. Together, Warped organizers and A Voice For The Innocent will work to educate musicians and tour attendees in hopes of reducing the number of sex crimes, as well as empowering those who have been victimized to share their truth. You can view a video outlining the partnership below:

The press release announcing the partnership reads:

APRIL 11, 2016 – A Voice for The Innocent, a non-profit dedicated to giving a voice to victims of rape and sexual abuse, will partner with Van’s Warped Tour to launch Save Our Scene, a campaign aimed at reducing sex crimes in the music industry through education. Warped Tour has a history of supporting social causes that resonate with young music fans by partnering with non-profit organizations, but A Voice for the Innocent will be the first to bring a comprehensive education and prevention program targeted at sex crimes. Through this partnership Warped Tour hopes to spearhead a cultural shift and set a new standard within the music industry. Save Our Scene is an unprecedented effort to curb sex crimes through workshops on identification, prevention, and intervention to help ensure the safety of fans and musicians during the entirety of the tour. Classes will be held for fans and bands alike, to teach the impact of sexual violence, how to identify problematic behavior, as well as effective bystander practices so the community has the tools necessary to empower change whether they are on stage, or just hoping for a backstage pass. Music festivals are more popular than ever as every summer sees the return of long time favorites like Warped Tour and the addition of new festivals in nearly every genre. With more people attending larger events more often, rates of assault, rape, sexual imposition and harassment have seen steady increases across the music industry. The prevalence of sex crimes has not gone unnoticed by music lovers, who are often drawn to bands and tours which offer a sense of community and acceptance. Seeing their communities in danger, fans have taken to social media to voice increasing concern, and to demand real change that will make festivals safer and more enjoyable. Through the Save Our Scene campaign, A Voice for the Innocent is poised to impact these unfortunate statistics through the support of Warped Tour. During the month of April, A Voice for the Innocent will launch a crowdfunding campaign via Generosity.com to cover additional costs of Save Our Scene that remain after a generous donation from Van’s Warped Tour. More info can be found and donations can be made at SaveOurScene.org.

A Voice For The Innocent is a community of support for those affected by rape and sexual abuse. It is a safe, anonymous space for sharing stories and fostering strong relationships between people who have had similar experiences.

For more information, please visit www.AVFTI.org or www.Facebook.com/AVoiceForTheInnocent.

We imagine Warped Tour will reveal similar partnerships and collaborations in the coming weeks, but we cannot confirm whether or not that is true at this time. What we do know is that Kevin Lyman has stayed true to his original promise of working towards making a change, and we hope to see the impact of his efforts as Warped Tour gets underway later this year.

What do you think of Warped Tour’s latest partnership? Will it be enough to make a difference?

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.