When the group A Day to Remember applied to be part of this summer's Warped tour, there were worries about whether the band would make the cut.
"This year, they've actually scaled the tour down. They've lost a couple of stages and there are way less bands on it this year," explains lead singer Jeremy McKinnon. "We heard that it was going to be really hard to get on it. So we were kind of bummed out. But the first group of bands they asked to be on the tour, we happened to be one of them."
It turns out A Day to Remember probably had nothing to worry about. In fact, Warped organizer Kevin Lyman names it one of the groups whose tour performances could propel it to breakout success.
"I think they're really going to come out a winner," says Lyman. "They've been around a few years, but I'm starting to feel that with A Day to Remember, there's a lot of real interest in there."
Lyman says he thinks several other acts playing on Warped this summer could also enjoy considerable leaps in popularity. He points to pop-rockers Meg & Dia, the hard-hitting punk band the Gallows, Canadian female singer-songwriter Lights and the unsigned TV/TV as some of the bands ready to make a big impression.
This year's lineup runs the gamut, from heavy rockers like Underoath and Saosin to the punk sounds of Anti-Flag, from the rocking pop of Bayside and White Tie Affair to the hip-hop of P.O.S.
Lyman has achieved diversity in this year's lineup despite having indeed scaled back by reducing the number of stages (including going to one main stage) and booking fewer total bands.
One reason for the move was financial. The tour has maintained one of the lower ticket prices of all major summer tours — around $25 to $30 at most venues — but costs have continued to rise.
Last year's tour especially tested the Warped financial model. The cost of gas skyrocketed to more than $4 a gallon in many areas, while catering (which is a major outlay for this tour) and other expenses also rose sharply.
As Lyman examined the tour and its expenses, he started thinking that downsizing the lineup made sense.
"I realized I have limited resources for those marquee names, so maybe I can combine the amount of money we paid 18 bands and pay nine of them, like maybe pay for a little higher-caliber band," Lyman says. "That allowed me this year to eliminate two semi trucks, a tour bus, 120 people out of catering. It was starting to get overwhelming, 900 people on the road seemed to be a little overwhelming. Now we're maybe 780, somewhere in that range.
"We're still going to have 50 or 60 bands," he says. "We just won't have 70 or 80 bands."