Why van-dalism in the pop punk scene needs to stop

The Charger Bulletin

“So sorry guys, we have to cancel this show tonight. Our van was recently broken into.” This is a post I read all too often these days.

Light Years is one of the bands that was subject to tour bus vandalism (AP photo)
Light Years is one of the bands that was subject to tour bus vandalism (AP photo)

They go on to detail the instruments stolen, the merchandise swiped, electronics lost and money taken out of their wallets. They start up a kickstarter, announce their PayPal accounts and beg the fans for their dream to keep going.

It’s disgusting. No, not that they are asking us for money, but that they have to go through this to begin with. A band should not have to fear for their very livelihood the second they step away from their vehicles.

Touring is hard; this is a fact. Countless hours on the road in a gas guzzling van with a bunch of guys just trying to live their dream. Vans break down, need new parts, need to stay clean and the passengers themselves need to feed themselves, try to make a profit to jAustify the time they’re spending away from their part time jobs. Having a busted door or window, on top of the laundry list of items stolen from them, can be a major blow to a tour budget or just their own personal budgets to survive.

For some bands this isn’t even a onetime thing; it’s countless. Bands like Light Years have come to terms with their third van break-in within the past few months and other bands avoid certain cities like St. Louis because of their known crime rate when it comes to touring vehicles.

This is not only harming the bands but it’s harming the pop punk scene as a whole. What happens if bands are unable to pay back the items they lost? What happens if bands are touring less because they need to account for the money they would lose on the road? What happens when fear outweighs the passion?

The need for justice and protection for musicians is crucial at this time. People need to be aware of how frequent of an occurrence this has become. If you see something weird, say something; you don’t know if you could be saving a band thousands. Above all, please continue supporting music, live music, local music—what have you. You should never be afraid of doing what you love. The scene cannot handle this for much longer and I don’t want to be there to watch them hit their breaking point.