A Breakup Letter to Vans Warped Tour

Hi there – my name is Anna Acosta. If you’ve (likely) never heard of me, I’m an alternative music writer and social justice advocate. You know, the kind that the greasier parts of Reddit probably warned you about. Past outlets include AbsolutePunk.net, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Infectious Magazine, etc. I currently mod and contribute to Chorus.fm and have been a regular on the local blog Buzzbands.LA since 2012.

These pieces were all originally published on AbsolutePunk, from a time spanning July 2015-February 2016. The site went dark in March 2016, and these pieces went along with it. I’ve elected not to change them, as I believe leaving them as they were in the moment in which they were written preserves their integrity as time capsules of sorts.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, I can be reached on my socials or at anna.acosta@absolutepunk.net.I believe these conversations are important, exhausting as they may be.

For as many times as I’ve been called a man-hating harpy (or worse) for using my voice, I’ve gotten messages from people saying their perspective became just a bit broader after reading. Those people keep me going. Progress isn’t linear, and it isn’t easy, but at the end of the day all I and my fellow “SJW”s are looking to do is to leave behind a world that’s a little kinder than the one we grew up in for the people who look and feel like we did. Like we still so often do.

So here it is, for your convenience and consideration. Sometimes it feels like screaming pointlessly into the void, but maybe that void just needs a little more screaming before something gets through. So that’s why these are being reposted, and that’s why I’m here. As long as there is progress to be made, you’ll know where to find me.

Originally published on July 2nd 2015 on AbsolutePunk.net

Dear Warped Tour,

We need to talk.

I fell in love with you when I was newly 16 years old. It was 2007, and the first year I’d found a way to get to you. My friend and I made plans, and scrimped and saved, and convinced a parent to drive us all the way out to Wheatland, California to see you. It was one of the best days of my life up until that point. You were the reason I started a band. You were the reason I have a platform to write this today, because you lead me to discover the bands that made me want to write.

But that was then, and things change.

There comes a time where actions have to be amplified louder than words. I’ve loved you as much as I’ve ever loved anything, but I think it’s time for us to part ways because you and those who control you have made it clear, time and time again, that you do not love me and those like me – at least, not enough to protect us. Not enough to go to bat for us. I am moved and grateful to those involved with you who have already used their own visibility to speak up against you, and to condemn your actions by allowing predators to grace Warped Tour’s stages, but it isn’t enough. It shouldn’t have happened.

Not all transgressions ought to be forgiven, and not all wounds should be allowed to heal – not while the thing that caused them is pushed under the rug and considered acceptable. There are mistakes, and then there is negligence. Cruelty. I cannot continue to support a culture that intentionally mistakes one for the other.

So I think I have to end things with you, Warped Tour, and this is why: Because a man’s career is not worth more than the safety of every young woman that walks into the venue. Because consequences have to be lasting in order to matter, and examples have to be made. Because predators do not stop to think about “fair” when victimizing underage girls. Because misogyny has to be considered UNACCEPTABLE before there is any hope of change. Because silence is deafening, and because my heart aches for the young women who will hear that silence and think that what these musicians – their idols – have done is okay. Because we live in a climate where the words of a man still carry more weight than the words of the women who this abuse actually happens to. Because women are so drastically underrepresented on your stages, yet there is still somehow room for predators on your lineup. Because by letting FPS and those like him to continue as though nothing has happened, you are telling them all that it is okay. Because through all of this, you have told me that I and others like me don’t matter as much as he and others like him. Because that is unacceptable.

You are supposed to be a refuge for the outcasts, not to support their subjugation. You aren’t what I thought you were… or maybe I’m just seeing you for what you always were.

As it stands, I am heartbroken. I want to believe you’ll change, that you’ll learn from this. Maybe someday, when you treat women you don’t have personal connections to with the same respect you blanket afford to men, we can come together again. Until then, it’s all lip service. Until then, this is goodbye – I guess this is growing up.


Author: Anna Acosta

Writer for Chorus.FM, Buzzbands.LA, Infectious Magazine and more. Previous outlets include Alternative Press and Substream Magazine. I'm in a band. Go listen to Staircase Spirits.


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