Behind the Scenes at Warped Tour 2011
Like some rock and roll RV camp, dozens of busses line up in a fenced off area about 100 yards from where the stages and merch tents are set up. Bands leave to play their appointed sets looking fresh and ready for action, then return to the area about an hour later, wiped out from the heat but typically exhilarated after playing for throngs of adoring followers at Warped
Noisecreep caught up with some of the artists both around (and in) their tour busses as they got ready to go out and play, as well as when they returned.
Mike Hranica, lead singer from The Devil Wears Prada, told Noisecreep just before heading to the stage that so far so good on this year's caravan of craziness. "I'm really happy with it. All the opportunities we've been blessed with make us feel very fortunate. There's lots of competition on the tour because of how many bands play, but that's good, it makes you work harder. Also, seeing our names up front is cool. To make it to the main stage from the smaller stages, to be a headliner now, feels special."
Ryan Neff from the Ohio Metalcore band Miss May I told Noisecreep that "The fun part the Warped tour experience is never knowing when you'll play on any given day. So say you stay if up until four a.m. playing video games, then find out you're going on first - it keeps you on your toes! Same thing if friends come to shows and want to know what time we're on. I tell them, I have no idea. So just wander and enjoy the show."
David Stevens, lead singer for We Came As Romans equates it to something else. "It's summer camp; a punk summer camp. I love it. It's always changing, which is good, because I don't care for routines. There are no real routines on Warped. You just roll with it and keep your fingers crossed."
Go Radio lead singer Jason Lancaster agrees that the spontaneity is a piece of what sets Warped apart from other festivals. "You never get used to it. It's the magic of Warped. Yesterday we had to play early so our manager had to shake us out of bed. The day before we played at night. You always have to prepare for early, just in case. And If you do play early in the day, you notice that the kids are so full of energy. By the time 6 p.m. rolls around, sometimes they get tired, but often they've just gotten more serious about what they're doing so it gets more intense. It's all good playing on Warped."
There For Tomorrow lead singer Maika Maile, fronting the band's second Warped tour, appreciates the fans that have stuck it out since the beginning. "We have a handful of diehards that show up wherever we play. We love them and appreciate their support. You always want to suck new fans in and we try hard to do that, but the faithful ones are special and they help pull us through."
Then there's Jac Vanek, superstar designer of the bracelets, t-shirts and other items that have taken youth culture by storm. Now on her fourth full Warped tour (and sharing a bus with Enter Shikari), Vanek sees herself as simply "An artist on tour that doesn't happen to play music. Kids seem to like coming over to our booth to meet and see what we've got because we're here to fuse fashion and music, and that means something to them. It's something a little different on Warped. A little bit of a diversion."
As much of a grind as the road can be, Vanek (who will soon open a retail store in Los Angeles) enjoys Warped from her own unique perspective. "I don't have the stress of the bands, I can just have fun and meet people," she laughed. "And it inspires me to be out here in this circus; being around the lifestyle helps give me ideas when I get back home to design. The vibe here helps me develop my brand in a unique way. There's nothing like Warped."
Nothing even close.