Written by Joel Funk
I’m dumbfounded. Absolutely dumbfounded.
I left work around 6pm today and as per usual was scrolling through the website’s twitter feed to catch up on any news that I may have missed in the eight-hour work day. That was when I found out that Jake McElfresh of Front Porch Step had been allowed to play today’s stop of the Vans Warped Tour in Nashville. I felt my stomach drop. After all of the attention that was brought to the McElfresh’s alleged – and I say alleged because I have to – sexual crimes that eventually lead to his rightful removal from the festival, that he was allowed to not only enter the grounds, but was given permission to perform.
How can we hope to progress if the people in charge of community events like the Vans Warped Tour can’t be held accountable to ensure a safe environment to everyone in attendance. Allowing McElfresh to play at today’s stop of the tour ensured that we cannot consider it to be a safe place, because as long as Lyman is in charge of things, the bands that he wants to play are going to play. End of discussion. Let’s just throw zero tolerance out the window.
I spent the next ten or fifteen minutes wondering if Lyman could ever issue a bigger and more maniacal fuck you to his audience. Does it truly get much worse than allowing for half of the population of your attendees to be in potential danger? You’d be shocked to hear this, but it get’s so much worse.
I can only imagine Lyman sitting in a giant office chair, petting a white long-hair cat and giggling to himself like the supervillain he’s turning himself into when he spoke to the people at Alternative Press.
To live in a world so shrouded by delusion that you can calmly say and accept that you don’t think that McElfresh is a “legitimate” threat completely baffles me. Charges may not have been filed, but a lack of charges does not make something illegitimate. The screencaps of messages sent to these young girls is proof enough to make his threat legitimate.
As I said before, I can only say that McElfresh is allegedly a monster and should not have been allowed to be near OR perform at any date of the Warped Tour. It hurts my soul to know that something that has become a monumental part of this scene is going to allow for that kind of person to play their shows.
This is not about the music, this is about the blatant disregard for the safety of the underage girls in attendance of the Vans Warped Tour and the dismissal of sexual misconduct. McElfresh is not sorry for what he allegedly did. That’s been made obvious by his opening remarks in which he says things like “I know who I am and am fucking very proud of it” and “thanks for the ticket money dude.”
The speech made before McElfresh took the stage is even worse. Chalking sexual misconduct with minor up to be “part of life’s expected fuck ups.” REALLY? REALLY!? How do you sleep knowing you just told hundreds of young girls to expect to fall victim to sexual misconduct and that it’s okay/normal?
I feel like you spit in all of our faces. RIP Vans Warped Tour.