Behind the Scenes: Warped Tour 2010

2 countries, 44 different cities, 10 hours long each day, and over 100 different bands touring at once. What is this you may be pondering? This phenomenon of a tour is called the Vans Warped Tour. Warped Tour may be considered one of the largest music tours in the alternative, screamo, and pop/punk music scene. This past summer, I had the privilege to go where very few high school students have access to: the press area.

With this privilege, comes obstacles. Swerving between metal barricades and tents, getting lost behind stages, being locked onto the balcony right above a crowd of 200+ people watching VersaEmerge perform, and almost walking into Brian Dales, lead singer of the Summer Set, because you both were too busy paying attention to your blackberries are just a few mishaps that I encountered that day. It was pure chaos, to say the least, but an experience of a lifetime.

The day started out at 10 am with stopping at the press tent outside the Summerfest entrance gates to pick up mine and Sara Ozburn’s wristbands, along with tickets for our admission. After getting through security, I had to race to the other side of the grounds while avoiding running into others while checking my phone every other minute to see if I had a text message from Nick from Kelsey and the Chaos, since we were setting up an interview for later that day. I got lost four or five times before finding the big, metal barricades that were blocking off the press area to the Warped Tour goers. I went through them and got misled about three times by the guards (I guess ‘press room’ sounds like ‘food line’ to some people, since I was led to the catering line for bands/crew instead) but eventually found my way up the three story high steps in the Marcus Ampletheater, where the press room was located. I signed up for the bands I wanted to interview, and skedaddled back down the steps so I wouldn’t miss the first band that I was going to take pictures of. The day consisted of running up and down the steps so I wouldn’t miss the scheduled interviews I had with The Summer Set, Mayday Parade, Never Shout Never, and Kelsey and the Chaos, let alone any of the bands set’s that I wanted to quickly catch before running to the next stage to take pictures.

Standing in the photo pit was one of the highlights of my day (well, besides the fact that Derek Sanders, lead singer for Mayday Parade, broke the reclining chair in the press room in the middle of our interview, but that’s a story for a different day). Photo pits and bands are like peanut butter and jelly: they work together. So many bands like to run in front of the camera and do something crazy for a split second, hoping you get a shot of it just in time. Sara had many experiences like that while taking pictures of Breathe Carolina during their set, as well did I while taking pictures of Hey Monday, whether it was a band member standing a foot away from the camera and staring into it or putting a rose in their mouth that a fan threw on stage and striking a pose. All in all, Sara and I got some crazy shots and we loved every moment of being in the photo pit, trying to capture the different personalities each band member brought on stage.

Warped Tour 2010 was a crazy experience and a moment of a lifetime filled with opportunities I never could have imagined my best friend and I would be experiencing as a soon-to-be junior in high school.