Summer music tour season in North America is more crowded than ever before as bands and sponsors use tours to not only get the word out about who they are, but to create revenue through the sales of merch, tickets, and CDs. Some sponsorship programs, like on the Vans Warped Tour, offer up original activities to reach youth culture whereas others use a mix of specific attractions and music such as vintage cars at Hootenanny, and others simply attract an audience based solely on the mix of the band line-up such as Rock the Bells VI.

While the un-official kick-off of festival and tour season already started with Coachella (see our stories on the event), and last weekend at Bonnaroo, here’s a quick round-up of who’s on what tours and the sponsors using music to reach the marketplace this summer:

Hootenanny: While a local event in SoCal, it’s worth a shout-out because it attracts the nation’s largest gathering of quaffed hairdoos and tatts from rockabilly and vintage car culture fans. People can showcase their cars (only if it’s a vintage pre 1965) at Oak Canyon Ranch and listen to music. Featured bands include Mike Ness, Tiger Army, Glen, Glenn, BR549’s. Put on by Goldenvoice, producers of Coachella, means that sponsorship is discreet. Date is July 5.

Projekt Revolution: Multiple stages featuring Linkin Park, Chris Cornell, Artreyu, Hawthorne Heights, The Bravery, and Street Drum Corps, among others. Most top bands were once top bands from the Vans Warped Tour. And many sponsors are or were from the Vans Warped Tour including Major League Baseball and Monster. Other sponsors include Verizon Wireless (while Warped is presented by AT&T), NowWhat, and Live Nation. Somewhat of a strong skate-influenced audience. Tickets are through Live Nation. Tour is from June 21-August 24, basically running smack at the same time this year as Warped (instead of slightly after it) which may have been intentional.

Download Festival: Relatively new on the scene, this festival is perfect for people who visit the Sahara tent during Coachella. Top bands include Atmosphere & Brother Al, Brand New, Mutemath, Yeasayer, Data Rock, The Killers, Flosstradamus, Ghostland Observatory, among other techno-electronica inspired rock-alt bands. They are very much into tapping into one’s inner nerd with this festival. Spin magazine is the main sponsor, along with NowWhat, Volkswagen, 5Gum, and Live Nation. Smaller sponsors include Verizon Wireless, State Farm Insurance, and Gibson. Tour runs from July 19-August 2.

Rockstar Energy Mayhem: First %u2013time metal tour produced by Vans Warped Tour founder, Kevin Lyman. He created this tour, with others, because so many metal bands wanted to be on Warped. So here’s the metal family: Slipknot, Disturbed, Dragonforce, Mastodon, Machine Head, Airbourne, Underoath (which will jump from Warped also), Suicide Silence, among others. Other than metal, this tour offers up motocross freestylers the Metal Mullisha plus the latest in video games, autograph sessions, and a few other interactive things. Think: an older crowd than Warped, into moto, metal, Guitar Hero. Sponsors are Rockstar Energy Drink, Revolver Magazine, Live Nation, Jagermeister, Hot Topic, Xbox 360, Ibanez, RoadRunner Records, Tama, Chronic Candy, Warner Bros. Records, Sabian, Higher Ground, Peta2, among others. Tour runs July 9-August 18. Expect Warped producers to pop back and forth between this tour and Warped.

Rock the Bells VI: The quintessential hip-hop platform, this tour attracts the heavies including A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, De La Soul, The Pharcyde, Mos Def, Method Man, Redman, Q-Tip, Rakim, Raekwon & Ghostface, Immortal Technique, Murs, Flosstradamus, among others. Sponsors include SanDisk, Burger King, MySpace, Baller Status, Paid Dues, Vibe Magazine, Frank 151, Mass Appeal,, and probably several streetwear fashion booths in the vendor village. This tour isn’t as huge as Mayhem or Warped, with 2 stages and 20 acts, but still packs a massive punch because it’s basically the only hip-hop festival out there (ironically). Dates runs from July 19- August 16th. This isn’t a tour per se in that it has multiple stops throughout the summer, but not a traveling carnival of tour buses.

Lollapalooza: For those who don’t know, Lollapalooza was one of the originators of the American touring festival with Perry Farrell and Jane’s Addiction headlining. Now, it’s a static 3-day festival in Chicago, similar to Coachella and is quite successful. The line-up reads like Coachella too, with multiple themed stages (named after sponsors mostly) and bands including: Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Wilco, Lupe Fiasco, Spank Rock, Does it Offend You, Yeah, CSS, The Raconteurs, Cat Power, The Black Keys, The Black Lips, Mates of State, Gogol Bordello, Bloc Party, The Kills, Louis XIV, Yeasayer, Kanye West, Love and Rockets, Ganrls Barkley, and Nine Inch Nails, among others. Clearly, it’s a killer line-up. Sponsors include AT&T, BudLight, Playstation, Spin, MySpace, Onitsuka Tiger, Citi, GM Next, BMI, Whole Foods, F.Y.E, Vitamin Water, Small Paul. Expect a vendors village, decent food, and art installations. Dates are August 1-3.

Vans Warped Tour: In its 14th year, this tour is the Mother of all summer tours featuring the largest line-up of bands, stages, and sponsors. It’s also the longest running from June 20-August 17th with the least number of days off. Featured bands include Pennywise, Every Time I Die, From First to Last, Katy Perry, Gym Class Heroes, Norma Jean, Reel Big Fish, Relient K, Say Anything, The Bronx, The Academy Is, The All-American Rejects, Story of the Year, Angels and Airwaves, Against Me!, As I Lay Dying, Cobra Starship, 3OH!3, The Vandals, The Almost, Bad Religion, Circa Survive, Coheed & Cambria, Hawthorne Heights, Paramore, Meg and Dia, The Vandals, among others. Known for featuring new and up-and-coming bands, of which 2-3 become “break-out” bands of the summer and move on to major fame, such as in the past, No Doubt, Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, The Used, and Paramore. This tour attracts 13-20-year-olds mostly and fans of punk, emo, screamo, rock. Sponsor programs include:

  • AT&T Mobility: Skip the Line passes at the gate if you flash your phone and are using AT&T; Special Updates and daily performance schedule (because the band line-ups change daily) via text messages; AT&T Signing Stage for top bands; Reverse Daycare Tent to drop off your parents
  • Kia Motors: As the Official Vehicle of the 2008 Vans Warped Tour concert-goers can visit the Kia “Soul Lounge,” an interactive tent featuring information displays about the new Kia Soul and other Kia vehicles, a DJ, an airbrush tattoo artist and the chance to enter to win either a new Kia Sportage or Kia Spectra SX in the “Keys to the Ride” sweepstakes. The Soul Lounge offers photo opportunities and posters to be signed during Kia’s exclusive artist autograph sessions. Kia will be the presenting sponsor of the Kevin Says Stage, a forum for local bands to rock at each tour stop
  • Trojan: Host to the Trojan Evolve Zone between bands and ride the “Trojan Scream Machine”–a virtual reality thrill ride–test your sexual health trivia, win prizes and receive free Trojan Condoms.
  • Xbox and Rock Band: Rock Band and Xbox 360 team-up to challenge favorite Vans Warped Tour bands and compete to win exclusive prizes, meet and greets and a chance to play on “The Rocker” stage.
  • FaceBreaker: The resurgence of arcade boxing with FaceBreaker offers fun, immersive gameplay and eye-popping stylized graphics. In this in-your-face arcade world full of larger-than-life characters, each boxer comes to life with unique attributes and distinct personal style. Add a little personal motivation to your fight by uploading a photo of your face to create a realistic likeness using Photo Game Face.
  • MySpace lounge allows emerging artists to utilize the space just as they use their MySpace profiles: as a way to connect directly with fans. MySpace hosts multiple meet & greets and performances from various Vans Warped Tour artists. Computer terminals will be on-site and available for fans to check MySpace, and there will be raffles for prizes including MySpace gear and side-stage viewing for select bands. MySpace will also have a Warped Pick of the Week hosting an eight-week promotion on the MySpace Music home page and develop eight online video diaries exclusive to MySpace with videos that capture cool content and tour programming such as eco initiatives, voting, the music scene as well as the famous nightly BBQs.
  • Skullcandy Mix Tent: Skullcandy, masters of stylish headphones and innovators of audio-enabled lifestyle products, offers Othello, Dante, The Pinkertones, Massive Monkeys, DJ AddVerse, DJ Skeet and many others performing in the Skullcandy Mix Tent. Skullcandy is producing custom headphone ear caps for tour artists, which will be displayed and sold at the Customization Station inside the Skullcandy Mix Tent.
  • Fuse “Warped Wednesdays”(Wednesdays beginning June 25 from 2:00-6:00 PM Eastern/Pacific): All summer long on Fuse, Wednesday is Warped-day as they bring you a weekly dose of all the latest news and music from the 2008 Vans Warped Tour.
  • Vans “Amateur Mini-Ramp Skate Jam”: For 14 years, Vans has brought great skating to the tour and once again this summer will stage the “Amateur Mini-Ramp Skate Jam,” presented by Vans and Lost Energy. This contest will be featured at each stop on the Vans Warped Tour and awards cash prizes daily–equaling more than $35,000 in all over the course of the tour–as 20 to 25 local “hot” pre-qualified skaters shred the mini-ramp for fun and money.
  • truth%uFFFD: Reaching out to thousands with life-saving messages about tobacco use, the truth youth smoking prevention campaign travels with signature orange state-of-the-art trucks rigged with DJ decks and video monitors. Each stop will feature impromptu rap sessions, join-in free-style demos and giveaways of popular truth gear such as bandanas, bags, and exclusive t-shirts designed by some of today%uFFFDs most popular artists and graphic designers. Scratch lessons will be available through the “Scratch DJ Academy,” a group of DJs who show newcomers the fundamentals of DJing, scratching and mixing music.
  • Monster Energy VIP area: Black Ice Slurpee at select stops in late June through mid-July. Bands are always stopping by, so you never know whom you’ll run into. Monster’s band line-up on the Vans Warped Tour includes: The Briggs, Norma Jean, The Lordz, and The Dillinger Escape Plan. Monster Energy partnered with over 25 Warped Tour bands to give Monster fans an exclusive album download for FREE with every specially-marked Monster 4-pack and 8-pack purchase.
  • Guitar Center: Activating two programs the GC Web Lab and the GC Axe Smith, The “Guitar Center Web Lab,” a custom 32′ climate controlled Internet trailer, provides bands and their crew exclusive access to a backstage wireless web center. Complete with top-of-the-line Apple computers, satellite-based broadband internet connections, design-based software and a knowledgeable rep, Guitar Center’s mission is to provide Vans Warped Tour artists/bands with the tools they need to maintain their online worlds when they are on the road–a service that is especially needed since web access is severely restricted in many of the rural areas where the Warped Tour touches down.
  • Alternative Press: For the past 10 years, this magazine has been the creator of the essential Vans Warped Tour program guide.
  • Earth Echo International: Highlighting the environmentally-friendly practices of the Vans Warped Tour%uFFFDs Warped Eco Initiatives and to translate these into actions that their audience can easily adopt, Earth Echo engages bands and sponsors to provide on-site and online opportunities for direct action to become a gateway to reusing, renewing, and recycling.
  • Hurley: The Hurley stage feature bands such as Greeley Estates, The Color Fred, Mayday Parade, Broadway Calls and more on some or all of this summer’s tour. The stage continues this year with bands like 3OH!3, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Beat Union and more. Hurley will host daily artist signings and offer fans limited-edition autographed posters from their favorite bands. As a special product feature, Hurley has collaborated with All Time Low to offer Warped-goers two exclusive limited edition Hurley t-shirts only available at VWT.
  • Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands Stage: In its 12th year, The Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands is the world%uFFFDs largest unsigned band competition. Featuring over 15,000 bands, the Ernie Ball stage offers bands from across the country an opportunity to compete for various prizes such as, performance spots on the Ernie Ball stage, gear and instruments and potential recording contracts. This summer fans can expect to see bands like Forever The Sickest Kids, Protest The Hero, The Audition, MC Chris.
  • Declare Yourself: Declare Yourself is the official voter registration partner of the 2008 Vans Warped Tour. While on tour DY will be registering new voters, interacting with all the bands and fans alike to help spread the message of youth participation in the upcoming election.
  • The Stage brings the newest acts on the 2008 Vans Warped Tour, including Alesana, Set Your Goals, Forever the Sickest Kids, The Maine.
  • Take Action! At Warped: In an effort to “create a better world, one voice and one action at a time,” Take Action! Area features a variety of support and community outreach for non-profits that feature literature, outspoken bands, petitions, voter registration, and a whole list of way for you to get involved.
  • Unite the United says Take Action!: Unite the United is the charitable foundation created by the producers of Warped tour to help support grassroots charities, and is dedicated to helping change the world for the better. This year%uFFFDs “Unite the United Says Take Action! Area” will have new ways to get involved such as registering new voters, getting a skin-cancer screening, joining the recycling team, or signing up to help feed the homeless.
  • Indie Filmmakers team with Unite the United to produce the Punk Junk Donation Center Just outside the gates of the Vans Warped Tour, Punk Junk Donation Centers set up to collect numerous items from food and clothing items to baby items and hygiene products. Concert patrons who participate will be entered into drawing for a variety of rare and autographed gifts from past and present Warped Tour artists and sponsors. Likewise, they will be jumped to the front of the line to get into the festival, and will have cut passes to any artist signings held in the “Unite the United says Take Action!” Nonprofit Area.
  • FM World Charities: A not-for-profit organization devoted to promoting public health and improving the quality of life in underserved communities throughout the world. FM’s medical staff will be providing a free, basic, skin cancer screening to all interested patrons.
  • T.J. Martell Foundation Charity Ticket Auction: Their Fifth Annual Charity Ticket Auction for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research: 46 lucky bidders win two tickets to their local Warped Tour date, two backstage passes and the opportunity to watch their favorite band from on-stage.
  • Locker Box check in area for your stuff, including all the merch you buy on-site
  • Band merch tents and various clothing tents%u2014Warped has become a key shopping destination for many young people especially for unique T-shirts and accessories