Arts & Entertainment Industry Forum: Kevin Lyman

Vans Warped Tour founder and chief executive Kevin Lyman sits down for an interview with Professor Billy O'Connell (03/09/2015).

About Kevin Lyman

The founder and operator of event production and brand strategy firm 4Fini, Inc., Kevin Lyman is best known as the founder and chief producer of the Vans Warped Tour, the longest-running festival concert tour in North America. A graduate of of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Lyman earned a degree in Recreation Administration, and started his career in the festival industry with Lollapalooza in the early 1990s. Sensing he could create a unique experience for fans, Lyman started the first Warped Tour in 1995 with a dozen or so bands and two stages. Today, the punk-rock oriented traveling festival attracts 750,000 fans annually, with stops in over forty (40) North American cities. In 1996, shoemaker Vans signed on as head corporate sponsor, with the festival eventually renamed the Vans Warped Tour.

A philanthropist at heart, Kevin has infused a sense of giving back within the Warped Tour community; in 2014, the tour attempted to set a new Guinness World Record for largest 24-hour food drive in a single location. Kevin also founded the Unite the United Foundation, which has raised over $1 million for various nonprofits. Because of these and other efforts, Lyman was recognized as the 2009 Humanitarian of the Year at the Billboard Touring Awards, and was an honoree at the Grammy/MusiCares MAP Fund gala in 2011.

In 2007, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum honored Vans Warped Tour with a time capsule and exhibit celebrating its significance to the punk-rock/skate community. In 2012, Lyman himself was inducted into the Top Dog Touring Hall of Fame at the Tour Link Conference.