(The title of this post is a reference to "Moving On" by Good Charlotte.)
Virginia Beach to Syracuse, New York was probably the longest overnight drive of the tour. We had an early bus call, but with over 500 miles between stops, we didn't reach Syracuse till after 9am. This meant getting ready while the bus is still moving- putting my contacts in while we were rolling was quite the feat!
Because we got there so late, as soon as we reached the venue it was time to "hit the lines". We walked out to a decent line of kids (Warped Tour had never been to Syracuse, so these kids were probably very excited!) and as we made our way down the line, passing out free wristbands and stickers as they activated with our campaign, the line grew longer and longer.
Syracuse ended up being another smaller show, which meant we were able to talk- and hand out literature- to just about every single person there! We might have given out more stickers than people who were at the show…
Traveling all around the Northeast for shows has helped me make friends who also travel all around the Northeast for shows, and in Syracuse I saw my friend Jenn Curtis. Last summer, Jenn and I drove to a bunch of Warped shows together (read about those adventures here), so it is always great to see her.
I saw Sum 41 at my very first Warped Tour in 2010, and in Syracuse, I finally got to shoot them.
Sometimes I want to get right to editing after shooting a set, but sometimes I find myself snapping photos of friends- like in Syracuse, when Jordan brought out some sparklers and she, Caroline, Rick, Matt, Steph, and I played around. Just as soon as the sparklers were out, we met an adorable little dog.
The next morning, I was impossibly excited as I rolled out of the bus and said, "We're in New Jersey!" Camden is right over the river from Philadelphia, with a beautiful view of the city's skyline, and only an hour and a half from my home. I saw my friend Rebecca at 9am (she's one of the most dedicated supporters of all kinds of underground, local, and alternative music that I know and always lines up early for shows- especially Warped!) which put me in an even better mood all day. While inside, I also ran in to my friends Taylor and Keely; getting to run in to friends all day kept me smiling!
In the middle of doing outreach that day, I got a call from Caroline that Kenny from Too Close To Touch was wearing a peta2 shirt on stage, at that exact moment. I sprinted to the bus to grab my camera and got some photos of him rocking this pink "Vegan AF" tee.
Our street teamer for the day had brought us donuts from Dottie's Donuts in Philadelphia. They were delicious! I exceeded my goal that day and felt great about all of the outreach I was doing. Once the work day was done, I hung out with Taylor and Keely, and showed Rebecca to the bus! Then, Jenn and my friend Lori Gutman brought me takeout from Blackbird Pizzeria in Philadelphia.
After Camden came Wantagh, New York, at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. Technically located on Long Island, this was the "New York City" show. It was nice to walk out to cool, breezy weather and be right on the water. With pleasant weather, a great venue, and- again- more friends to be seen (like Darlene Deschamps of the band PINE) I was in a great mood once again.
That day I was working our merch display all day, which meant it was my job to enter the venue before doors to set up the merchandise display and the literature on the table. Merch ended up being non-stop busy that day: I reached 40% over my goal for daily campaign activations, passed out a ridiculous amount of literature, and sold a lot of shirts (which meant a lot of donations going towards saving animals). The only downside to this was having to shout over crowds all day!
At the barbecue that night I hung out with my friend Nick Karp and we introduced each other to our other friends- like my friend Nicole Stephens, who was out on the tour with truth, the anti-smoking initiative. Despite having a sore throat from all of my yelling at the merch table, I ended the day just as happy as I'd started it.
The next day we were in Hartford, Connecticut. The hardest conversations as an animal rights activist are the ones where people just don't seem to care, and I had a lot of those in Hartford. It was a tough day but I was also really grateful to be working with an amazing street teamer named Leah. Leah was shy when she first got to the show- she'd never been to a concert, let alone a big festival like Warped Tour- but she was so motivated throughout the day, and when I went on my lunch break she even took the initiative to scout out new outreach spots that we hadn't hit yet!
Once things were done for the day I met up with my friend Renee (who later hopped on the tour to help Sum 41 with merch and hustle download cards for their new album), who I hadn't seen in the longest time! We met up at Broadside's set, where I also grabbed some photos.
After Broadside's set I hung out with Jordan from Like Pacific for a bit, catching up about our past few days- and also took this photo of him
Following Hartford was Scranton, Pennsylvania. The venue was on a mountain and felt very secluded from everything. With another breezy morning, I wore leggings to stay a little warmer- and once I got to the tent I covered every inch of said leggings with our "Wear Your Own Skin" stickers. Since I was afraid I was losing my voice, I brought a megaphone out to lines with me- I had a blast using it to talk to large crowds, and to my good friend Clare (seeing friends in the morning was such a great mood-booster for the whole day!).
In Scranton I got the call that I would be staying on for the second half of the tour. To celebrate, I photographed Waterparks and Like Pacific, before heading to that night's barbecue.
The next day was the annual Vans Warped Tour Service Day at Thurmont Community Park in Thurmont, Maryland. It was an early start (an hour earlier than normal, at 7am!) but we were greeted with vegan breakfast sandwiches and coffee, which made it worth it. After finishing our breakfast we split in to groups to handle different tasks around the park; I was assigned to help paint a big mural. We started off by putting the paint rollers on extended poles to paint one side of the wall entirely white; after that, we painted some mountains on the other side with blue, green, and yellow paint (we did the big areas first, then filled in details with small paintbrushes). To finish it off, some graffiti artists who were out on the tour spray-painted the word "THURMONT" on the mural.
We all had a lot of fun painting- it was cool to hang out with some other people on the tour I wouldn't otherwise get to talk to, and it felt good to make a difference in the community! We also got to meet a few really cute dogs.
After we put the brushes away, we hopped back on the bus for the short ride to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. There weren't any Ubers or Lyfts available so we took the hotel shuttle to Walmart, Starbucks, and the dollar store.
The next day we were in Mansfield, Massachusetts, and lines were long- I hit 200 activations in lines! My friend Cayla- who works at Whole Foods!- brought me some vegan goodies. My throat was still store and by the time I finished lunch, my voice was completely gone! So, I headed to the bus to write down my talking points (the facts and statistics we use when talking about the animal skins industries) on a whiteboard, which I carried around for the rest of the day. I would approach people, try to make eye contact, and wave with a friendly smile before pointing and gesturing to my sign. I guess this worked, because I hit my highest numbers to date!
That evening, I finally shot State Champs. I remember seeing them play to a few dozen kids a couple years ago, so seeing them on main stage was really cool. Then, I checked out the Australian pop-punk band With Confidence- I'd heard they were a ton of fun, and they really were!
When I woke up the next morning in Darien Center, New York (near Buffalo), my voice was still gone- I couldn't talk! I grabbed the same trusty whiteboard and wrote down my talking points for the day. We didn't always know where lines were at the venues; in Darien Center we spent quite awhile trying to find the right entrance. It was a bummer to not be able to talk (I used my phone to type out responses to people's questions, but it got tedious) but seeing my friend Anthony, and meeting my new friend Tanisha, lifted my spirits. The Darien Lake P.A.C. was a cool venue with an amusement park attached, but I wasn't feeling well (probably related to having lost my voice) so I didn't explore it (though I did check it out when I was at the venue last year).
While doors didn't open until 10:30 every morning, kids would line up for Warped Tour hours and hours before (we'd regularly meet kids who had been there since 2 or 3am!). At some venues, they aren't allowed to line up right at the gate until much closer to doors; Burgettstown (Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, which followed Darien Center, was one of those venues. We knew the kids would be there somewhere, so we walked half a mile out to a farther parking lot to find them.
One thing I learned on Warped Tour was that most of the time, your tent spot will be one of the following: quiet but far away from everything with no foot traffic, or near a stage so loud but super busy. In Burgettstown we were right next to the two Monster Energy Stages- those are the two hardcore/ metal stages, so it was loud. But the crowds were big, so there was never a slowdown in foot traffic.
The next day we were at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, which is one of my favorite venues for its setting. The venue itself is covered in trees so it feels secluded and quiet (the backstage area has a pond and feels like an enchanted forest), but it's across the street from a mall. Most Warped Tour venues had nothing within walking distance, so it was a nice change of pace.
Some venues only have one entrance but Merriweather had multiple (I counted three, but there could've been more). When it came time to meet up with my street teamer for the day, things got confusing: which entrance was the Volunteer Check-In tent at, and where exactly were the various entrances?
Being on Warped Tour forces you to be innovative. The back of our tent faced the crowd at the Journey's Left Foot Stage, and when a stampede of kids walked through after Sum 41 finished, we gave each and every one of them some literature! It meant waiting a few minutes to finish packing up, but it was worth it to pass out so many stickers, Guides to Going Vegan, and "skins" leaflets (which listed animal-friendly clothing alternatives). I was pretty excited to realize that there was a Whole Foods less than a mile away, so Caroline, Rick, and I walked over. Ta-Da Catering made us great meals, but I was in the mood for some vegan ice cream, and Whole Foods is the place to get it.
At the halfway point in the tour, we were finally in Holmdel, New Jersey- my hometown show! It was a great feeling to know I would be seeing so many friends throughout the day, and my parents and dog and cat that night.
Our lovely Tour Administrator Caroline is also from New Jersey, and her little sister and her little sister's best friend were there as our street teamers. They were superstars from the start! After I got the merch table set up, I ran to the front entrance to meet up with my dad, who came to say hi. I loved getting to show him the bus!
Holmdel was another busy show, with a constant flow of traffic at the merch table! I hit goal two hours before tear down that day. It was also Capsize's first show of the tour. Brian Joyce of Major League was filling in for them on bass; having photographed Major League countless times, I wasn't going to miss shooting Capsize. They did not disappoint- Capsize became one of my favorite bands to watch on the tour.
After shooting Capsize I caught up with my friend Christian, who is an artist manager at Good Fight Entertainment and the social media manager/ label assistant for Pirates Press. We met in 2011, when he was on Warped Tour tour managing the band Shut Up and Deal; he was a part of the Earn It Yourself meet-ups that I attended, and offered some advice to young people wanting to get their feet wet in the music industry. It's been great to stay in touch with Christian as we've both continued to work hard for new opportunities.
I was also able to catch the first few songs of New Found Glory's set that day. I photographed New Found Glory at the Hartford Warped Tour show in 2012- the first Warped I shot- so it was great to photograph them playing Warped again.
My parents picked me up after we packed up for the day. I brought them Monster Energy Tour Waters, which they found pretty amusing. Dobby, my dog, ran right up to say hello when I walked in; my cat, Alice Cooper, made a brief appearance later in the evening. We went out to dinner at Ferraro's, an Italian place in Westfield that I've loved since I was a little kid. I was able to take a shower in my own bathroom and spend a few hours hanging out with Dobby and my parents before heading back to the PNC Bank Arts Center and jumping back on the bus for the ride to Columbus, Ohio.
There was no Warped Tour show in Columbus; we were there for the Alternative Press Music Awards (APMAs). I had never been to an award show before but it was such a fun time. My tourmates and I skipped out on the red carpet (I wish we'd gone!) to have extra time to get ready; it was so fun to put on a fancy dress (mine was black and strapless, with lace and a rhinestone accent at the waist) and do my makeup when I was used to t-shirts, running shorts, and lots of sweat.
The APMAs were held at the Jerome Schottenstein Center at Ohio State. We were escorted right away to the VIP area on the floor, where I mingled with other friends on the tour and people who had come out just for the event. After years of emails I met Mike Cubillos, publicist and owner of Earshot Media, who was in charge of press approvals for all of Warped Tour this year. I also saw my friend Andrew Wendowski, who had flown in to photograph the event for Alternative Press.
Jack and Alex from All Time Low co-hosted the awards, so naturally every introduction was filled with jokes. The live sets were all fantastic: BABYMETAL was great live (what an interesting combo of metal music and a choreographed girl group), and Issues, Yellowcard, and A Day To Remember never disappoint. But the real highlight was Good Charlotte; I think they got the best reaction of anyone that night. It was the first time I had seen them in six years, and it was worth the wait. Since I wasn't shooting, I went right up front and had a blast!
Our next show was in Noblesville, Indiana, where I was able to have a partial day off. In the morning I worked the lines as usual, but once doors were open, I spent the rest of the day shooting. That is, of course, after I met the lovely Jacklyn Krol, who runs Stage Right Secrets in addition to various freelance work. Jacklyn and I had been internet friends for what felt like forever so it was great to finally meet in person.
The first band I shot that day was Waterparks. The Cyclops Stage was in the amphitheater, which made for a tough shoot, since it was completely in the shade, but Waterparks is such a fun band that the challenge was worth it.
Next up was Yellowcard. I was so upset when I heard that they'd be calling it a day as a band that I knew I had to shoot them at least once. The first time I saw Yellowcard was in 2006 (my dad drove me and my best friend to the show); when I saw them next in 2011 at their first tour post-hiatus, I had just started Circles & Soundwaves and wondered if I'd ever be able to photograph them. I ended up shooting them a few times before this summer, and it was bittersweet to be a part of their final round on the Vans Warped Tour.
There wasn't too much time for sentimentality, because right after that I photographed Four Year Strong and State Champs, two of the most fun and upbeat bands on the tour: Four Year Strong all wore matching Hawaiian shirts, and their back-drop had a "Christmas in July" theme, and State Champs were equally as entertaining with a bubble machine and wacky inflatable waving arm men.
The next band on my list was Mayday Parade, on the Journey's Right Foot Stage. In Noblesville, the Journey's Left and Right Foot Stages were next to each other, which means that when I got to the pit a few minutes early, I caught the end of Falling In Reverse's set on the Left Foot Stage. During the last song, someone crowdsurfed in a wheelchair, which was pretty impressive.
Kenny from Too Close To Touch was once again sporting the Vegan AF shirt, so I had to get photos of that. I also made sure to catch The Maine (I loved their whole theme: blue pants, white short-sleeve button-up shirts, and self-explanatory signs like "You are watching a band called The Maine") and Set It Off (another band I'd watched grow for ages; Cody jumped off large stacks of amps and walked on the crowd; I love how interactive he is on stage).
Three and a half years ago, I saw a band called Vanna for the first time and interviewed their frontman Davey. I had never paid much attention to hardcore but that show in 2013 welcomed me to the genre, and to this day Vanna remains one of the most passionate bands- of any genre- that I've ever seen. I can't take my eyes off of them when they're performing; it's magnetic.
Being that I am from New Jersey, I couldn't miss Old Wounds, who also call the Garden State home. Most of the band is also vegan/vegetarian, so we've got loads in common! They were another band that really knew how to perform; they were a great shoot.
The last band I photographed in Noblesville was Good Charlotte (GC's first Warped Tour set in over a decade!). I got to the photo pit a few minutes early to claim my spot and while waiting, I met the lovely Nicky Parry[nickyparry.com], another photographer I'd known through social media. I never thought I'd get to photograph Good Charlotte- they went on hiatus shortly after I started shooting in 2011- so to be a part of the same tour as them felt full-circle.
Good Charlotte's fans were also pretty excited to see them: the girls pictured below had driven all the way from Indiana to New York City to see them in April.
Just before Good Charlotte took the stage, I was able to take this quick portrait of their bassist, Paul Thomas. I didn't have much time and took only one frame, but I am pretty happy with how it turned out.
Good Charlotte started their set with "The Anthem", after which they played several of their biggest hits and a new song, "Life Changes". It's safe to say that everyone was nostalgic and everyone was having fun.