All Photos by Tom Wallace, Label Networks Kevin Lyman, director and founder of Vans Warped Tour presents to the music media during the kick-off party at the Key Club.

It%uFFFDs fun to think the carnival is coming to town. Just when most things seem way out of balance, the Vans Warped Tour kick-off party at the Key Club in Hollywood April 2, reminded us that some institutions will keep on going despite things like a global recession. Celebrating Warped’s 15th upcoming tour starting June 26 and running 46 dates until August 23, as founder and director Kevin Lyman pointed out in the press conference to the music industry, “There’s a reason to be hopeful about what’s going to happen through Warped this year.”

As if to prove his point, the day before pre-sales of tickets started online, and within 24 hours, more than 16,000 had been sold (compared with 8,000 on the first day of pre-sales last year). The Boston show was nearly close to being sold-out, and word-of-mouth via fans indicated that the mixed line-up chosen to represent the tour this year, was already buzzworthy.

At $25 per ticket, the Vans Warped Tour remains one of the least expensive music festivals on the planet. Some 75 bands will rock the stages from noon until 8 p.m. at each stop, including one Main Stage that now will host longer sets of 40-minutes for top acts (rather than 30 last year). “We also hope this will give the older bands more time to play, including some of their favorite songs, but it will also give the secondary stages more traffic and also fans will be able to participate in other parts of Warped easier without fear of missing anything,” explained Kevin. For anyone who’s been to Warped, it’s like a massive traveling carnival with bands on several different stages and loads of activities including, a skate halfpipe for skaters and various pros who drop-in (literally), non-profit booths, merch tents, and sponsor booths that usually have some of the most interesting concepts towards attracting the predominately youthful fanbase.

Warped bands for Summer 2009, including in this picture, Sing it Loud, Millionaires, TAT, TV/TV, Kevin Lyman in the back middle, P.O.S., and Jeffree Star

The Vans Warped Tour this year is presented by AT&T, and includes sponsors such as Vans, Alternative Press, Fuse TV, KIA, Hurley, Monster Energy Drink/Hansens, MySpace, SkullCandy, the truth, Xbox, and SmartPunk.

The line-up includes old-school bands ranging from TSOL, Anti-Flag, The Adolescents, Bad Religion, Flogging Molly, Less than Jake, Underoath, Bouncing Souls, Bid D and the Kids Table, Fishbone, and NOFX. However, like most other years, the Vans Warped Tour is also the place to find up-and-coming bands to note. This year, the buzz is already surrounding TV/TV, who kicked-off the kick-off party, and is still unsigned on any music label, followed by TAT out of the UK. Other highly-anticipated new acts include Scary Kids Scaring Kids, 3OH!3, The Devil Wears Prada, The White Tie Affair, P.O.S., Jeffree Star, Forever the Sickest Kids, Innerpartysystem, Millionaires, Sing it Loud, among others.

During the kick-off party, as Kevin said, “This show is symbolic of what to expect from the Warped Tour this year. It’s a mix of old and new and different sounds of how music has changed.” While still considered the punk rock summer camp of the summer, and a right-of-passage for many young people often attending their first music concert, based on this summer’s line-up, the tour is already on its way to becoming one of the most memorable.

TAT from the UK is one of the hot bands to watch this summer.

Millionaires and Jeffree Star

P.O.S.–with their music, it indicates and mixed line-up for the summer

TV/TV is an unsigned band but already generating buzz among youth culture in America

Steve Van Doren, an icon in sneaker culture and music, points out the Vans Warped Tour%uFFFDs new logo. He%uFFFDs the “van” behind the brand “Vans” and will be hosting several b-bques on tour.

Sing It Loud performed at the opening night kick-off party at the Key Club in Hollywood

TV/TV lead singer at the kick-off event. (He looks similar to the character “Edward” (Robert Pattison) from the vamp-movie “Twilight” which adds to the appeal, no doubt.). This band from NYC had an excellent performance, indicating a band-to-watch in terms of youth culture influences this summer.

Fans at the Vans Warped Tour kick-off party at the Key Club, Hollywood, April 2, 2009

Lead singer from TAT is the new Joan Jett of rock.

Lead singer from old-school punk band TSOL had the crowd moshing from the moment they walked on stage. Goth make-up, black gloves, and suits added to the band%uFFFDs style. These guys also took random requests from the audience and easily played a number of old songs from their arsenal. Quite impressive.