Fond Fare-WARPED: Warped Update #8

my farewell sunrise from Denver the day i left for tour

Warped Tour started and ended with a sunrise. From the sunrise on my front porch the morning of my birthday, to this morning's warm orange salute, my cross-country adventures have come to a close once more. It's August 5th, and I just got home from an early morning run to drop off a friend off at the airport for his final flight home. Warped Tour is over and done, another summer on the books. These past eight weeks have been exhausting, but they have also been some of the most fun I have ever had. Since I last updated you, we've gone all the way from Virginia down through Atlanta, Florida, and skirted through the midwest (North Carolina, Nashville, Milwaukee, Kansas, Salt Lake City) and made it back to my beautiful and beloved state of Colorado. This past week was a rush to say the least, but I think it also led to some of the most fun I had all tour. 

Georgia was a hot mess - literally. It was a scorcher of nearly 100 degrees out, but by the middle of the day (as always, during our set) the rain began to come down and Warped suddenly went from hot and happy to shut down and under tornado warnings. IFD was on stage as all this took place, and although we got DRENCHED, no one was hurt for which I am sooo thankful. The kids eventually returned from the required waiting in Tornado shelters, but not in as huge crowds as they originally were. That's the bummer about weather and Warped: some days you win, and some days you lose, you just have to hope that the fans will stick it through with you and make the most of whatever comes your way. The rain followed us south to Florida and drenched us in Saint Petersburg before we could even open the doors for the day! Luckily the rain cleared for the rest of the afternoon, and after two disgusting days of unrelenting "wet" the rest of the week was warm and dry.

my view of the band trapped onstage in GA

the band's view of me trapped in tent in GA

Florida's shows are at some of my favorite venues of the whole tour. St. Petersburg's show takes place at Vinoy Park - a gorgeous grassy park that sits directly on the coastline. There were Protomen crab fishing, dolphins swimming next to We Are the In Crowd's merch tent, and our team went out for a big, delicious seafood dinner downtown to celebrate Hari's birthday! Miami the next day was just as fun as the whole crew was decked out in grey shirts made to celebrate Less Than Jake's 365th day of Warped Tour! The band has literally spent a year of their lives playing this tour, and so we all donned some custom-made shirts to help commemorate the occasion. Did I mention there was an Alligator pond behind my bus?! SCARY! Orlando led to more adventures as a friend of one of the bands brought a boat out on the lake just behind our bus parking, and spent his day driving artists around on the lake to relax. Orlando was one of the first times my whole stage family was all done for the day early with no rush to leave, and so we got to just sit on the dock and enjoy one another's company...it was surreal to just have time to sit and relax, made even more special knowing it'd all be coming to a close so soon. The rest of the week was just as fun, with a special early screening of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in North Carolina, some fun old Warped Tour family reunions in Milwaukee, and a spectacular stage family BBQ courtesy of Teenage Bottlerocket on our last day off in Laramie, WY. 

dock hangs with my stage family in Orlando. Photo credit: Joel McDonald

Yes. We had a day off in Laramie, WY when we only had two shows left, and the tour ended in Denver. Sounds absolutely maddening, eh? I thought i'd be going crazy that whole day, being so close to home I could taste it while knowing I couldn't go back just quite yet. Thankfully our bus mates, Teenage Bottlerocket, are actually from Wyoming and their bassist Miguel opened his home to not only our bus but to all of our tour friends. We ended having a full-day barbecue complete with a horseshoe competition! Courage My Love brought their trusty Margarita machine, we grilled some dogs and veggie burgers, and to all of our surprise, Australian band The City Shakeup totally cleaned up shop and beat every last American at horsehoes. We played some card games and watched movies until it was time to go...the day was an absolute blast beginning to end. Over the past two months all of the bands on our stage had become very close, and to be able to just spend time with one another, relaxing and enjoying their company just before we all had to part ways was absolutely perfect - I couldn't have asked for any better. 

horseshoe tournament!

card games in WY.

Yesterday was a complete and total whirlwind beginning to end. My amazing roommate Laurel agreed to pick up my favorite local breakfast burritos (Santiago's!) for all of my stage family. I saw countless familiar faces, family, and friends throughout the day, but most importantly, I was back a mile above sea level - finally breathing that crisp mountain air. The day came and went all too quickly with some goodbyes missed, and others just barely caught. I was so terribly sad to see everyone go, but like I keep saying, Tour family really is family, and I knew that the universe would have us all crossing paths again soon. I spent a good hour or so cleaning out the bus and getting all my belongings off. I arrived on Warped with one suitcase, and left on our last day with an entire hand-truck FULL of stuff. How does that even happen?! We barely fit it all in my car, and at nearly 11:00pm at night, I bid farewell to my final parking lot of the summer, my bus, and headed home. To my real home. 

This summer on Warped was honestly nothing like I expected. I'd done Warped before, and so I thought that there was no way this summer could be much different. To my shock and surprise, I feel like the two Warped Tour's I have gone on were unlike one another in more ways than they were similar. I was doing a lot of different jobs this summer that I wasn't last time, and although I wasn't expecting it, I was happy to take on new responsibilities and challenges. Although I feel like I got to spend less time with the band I was working for, I made many new, diverse friends compared to my first summer, probably because I was no longer afraid of being the "new kid on the block". My living situation was a huge upgrade and really helped keep my stamina up (not to mention my mental health), which for the record reallyyyy changes your perception of this entire tour. I've always been told that if you can do Warped Tour, you can do anything...the people who said that to me were talking about touring in particular, but every year I come back from this adventure feeling just a little bit more at peace with myself - a better, newer "me" more in line with my heart, my head and my thoughts. I feel more ready for what lies ahead, and more sure that I can handle just about anything because hell, I just got home from 2 months of Warped.

me. Roseburg, OR. photo cred: Brain Mazzaferri

I hope you all keep following along with me and this new chapter in my life, but for all of you who were here just for Warped, I'll see ya next summer :)

-M

Livin' La Vida WARPED: Update #2 (Southwest and SoCal)

Howdy friends! Today i write you from a train car zipping down the Californian coast. This is hands down one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced, and I am elated to be taking in the views. This past week since our last day off has been long and crazy, and our two days off have been much needed.

my view from the New Mexico Warped stop after the insane Sandstorm was done.

This week we completed what is generally the hottest dates of the entire tour. From Amarillo, we played in New Mexico, Arizona, Las Vegas, and then headed west to complete half of our California dates (Pomona, San Francisco, and Ventura). New Mexico is usually not too bad, but this year we changed venues and played Albuquerque for the first time. Aside from the GIGANTIC hill we all had to push our gear up and down all day, the venue seemed nice enough. The layout is very similar to that of Fiddler’s Green in Denver, and all of the merch tents were set up atop the lawn area of the amphitheater. I was super excited about my great view until right around 2:00pm, when a huge dust storm blew into the venue for about 30 minutes. I’ve never actually been caught in a dust storm before, it was impressively strong. At least ten merch tents “bit the dust” and were completely destroyed by the 40+mph winds hitting us - luckily mine was NOT among them! It took bungee cords, stakes, zip ties, and my entire body weight, but despite me being all alone holding down the fort, and the band being smack in the middle of their set, we all managed to fair alright through the weather. 

tour bus land Pomona

me, the Air Dubai boys, and the My Body Sings crew in Pomona - DENVER REPRESENT! 

The rest of the week was hot, but not even half as hot as it was the last time we did Warped Tour. Both Vegas and Arizona barely broke 100 degrees, a HUGE improvement from last tour’s record breaking heat of 130 degrees in Phoenix. As soon as we got to Pomona, I knew that the worst was behind us for the most part, and was elated to be in California. Pomona and Ventura’s are two of my favorites on the entire tour due to their settings. Pomona’s show is in the old Pomona Fairplex, which is filled with very classic “California-in-the-50’s” style buildings with pastel colors and huge neon lights, complimented by perfect rows of palm trees. I love wandering around and just soaking it in, letting my mind wander and imagine being there during it’s prime. Pomona Warped was a little extra special thanks to some Denver visitors. Denver band (and good friends) My Body Sings Electric was out touring California, and happened to be in the Pomona area that same day! It was amazing to have so many folks from Denver's music scene together in a different state, it made me proud to see that we are all getting out here and really "doing it". My other favorite spot, Ventura, needs no explanation. The Ventura fairgrounds are literally directly across the street from the beach! You wake up, walk off the bus, and the water is just right there. I took some time right after breakfast to go sit by the water and watch about half the tour surf the morning breaks. It was a beautiful moment to just be able to sit back and soak it all in. I am so very thankful to be spending my summer surrounded by these beautiful sights, and with such lovely friends at my side. 

the only crappy photo I could get of  Linkin Park thanks to how insane security got during their set. 

These past two days off I spent in both LA and San Diego. I caught a ride down with my manager and mentor JJ to Los Angeles and spent Monday eating at my favorite bakery (Porto’s) and catching dinner with my family. Today, i’m riding the train down (again, this is AMAZING!) back to San Diego to meet up with the rest of my crew. Hopefully I can enjoy some downtime at the pool, catch up on email, and hopefully get to go see “How To Train Your Dragon 2” (The Mazzaferri’s and I are very excited to see this). It feels great to have a few days to feel “human” and just enjoy some downtime. I’m excited for the rest of the tour, but leaving California is always bittersweet. I’ll check in again soon as I can, but for now, adios!

xoxo - M

Home Sweet Home: Day 2 in Denver

Yesterday was probably one of my favorite days I’ll have this whole tour: we played my hometown! It feels a little bit like a tease for me to have to leave, then come back so fast, and then leave again, but all at the same time it was very reassuring to know that I’ll somehow always find my way back as quickly as I left. 

After a crazy day in Salt Lake, the band and I finished re-packing all of the merch and condensed enough to fit ALL our luggage into the Cargo Bay (YAY!) and began the “quick” 10-hr drive back to Denver. The drive was easy enough, no problems, no traffic, nothing getting in our way, but it still took all night, and we rolled into town as the sun began to rise over the Mile High City. I managed to finally get some sleep in the hour between Fort Collins to Denver, and then another two once we finally found our way into the parking lot at the stadium. Once 8am hit, I was back up and at it, and the band and I took a few minutes to get ready in the parking lot before we loaded in for the day. It was a super funny, and pretty ridiculous watching us all running around half dressed, brushing our teeth and putting on deodorant, all in the middle of a cement ocean and a herd of sprinters. Welcome to life on tour, I guess!

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sunrise over Denver as we drove into town.

Having the band play Denver was AMAZING! I Fight Dragons has received great radio play in Colorado thanks to the local radio station 93.3fm KTCL, beings as JJ (their manager) is also from Colorado, so the crowd was really pumped up to see the guys. We had a great 1pm set time, and although it was a little early in the day we had a HUGE crowd! The band sounded great despite some insane heat, and the fans reacted really well. We all had a ton of fun running around doing signings, meeting fans new and old, and getting so see some familiar faces from around town.

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the "robots" walking around in the crowd.

The best part of the day for me hands down was getting to see so many friendly faces, friends, and family. My mom and both little brothers were able to make the show, as well as some friends from the blog I write for in Denver, Ultra5280, and my boyfriend Danny. It was so exciting to share this new part of my life them: my new daily routine, the van, the band, and Warped Tour. I’ve been going to Warped Tour since I was 12 or 13, and after all those years when I was younger and my mom dropped me off, she never actually had come inside until yesterday. Although it was a long and tiring day, I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. Denver is such a unique, beautiful and genuinely interested crowd. My city has one of the best music scenes in the entire country, and it truly shined through; I was so proud to see my city come out, ready to show all the bands just how much we love music. It was really also very cool for me to get to see the behind the scenes part of Warped in Denver after years and years of participating from the public perspective. After the gig I got to spend a little bit of time with my family, and some time with Danny finishing errands and relaxing. This R&R was a perfect reminder for me that my loved ones will all still be there for me once I get home, no matter how far away I travel, or how long it takes. I’m very lucky...very lucky. 

Today as we drive through the desert I’m finally feeling much more at peace with this realization that i’m finally leaving Denver. Being able to spend time relaxing with Danny last night and today made me so happy, so calm. He’s the person I think I’ll be missing the more than anything else as I’m away from Denver, and so getting to spend so much fun and easy down time with him was a great reminder that even if I’m gone for awhile, nothing will change between us. For my birthday this past Monday, he got me a build-a-bear Polar Bear dressed like him, my very own “Tour Boyfriend” to take with me on my travels! I’m excited to have a new companion along for the ride. :) He was running around yesterday and today helping us pack the Sprinter, selling merch, and hanging out with the guys. Seeing him embracing my new job and “tour family” put a huge smile on my face all day long.

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me and the band at a beautiful overlook in Utah

Right now we’re about halfway through Utah, and it’ll be another five hours or so until we finally make it to Vegas and stop for this evening. The sun is setting over the beautiful desert valley, and the band and I stopped off to take some awesome pictures at a scenic overlook. JJ, our manager, joined up with us today and will be staying with us until we reach Los Angeles, which makes me super stoked. He’s been living outside of the state the entire time I’ve worked for him, so It’s very rare that we get to spend this much face time together. I’m super excited for the fun we’ll have at shows these next few days as we head through California! Tomorrow is our day off in Vegas, and we’ll be relaxing, sleeping, and swimming and taking in the sights. Our show in Vegas on Wednesday is supposed to be a hot one, with temperatures possibly hitting 118 degrees! SCARY! I’ll be sure to keep you updated as things happen, but that’s it for now :) 

Xoxo

-M

Enough about me...who are YOU?!

Hey gang!

tonight's post will be short and sweet as tomorrow is the first official day of the tour (!!) and i want to make sure i'm as well rested and ready as i can be (which, in reality, is kind of a joke since i know i could sleep for a lifetime and not feel well enough rested...i looooove sleep!). But Tonight, the point of my entry is short and sweet: this blog is telling my tale and sharing my experience, but i have no idea WHO i'm sharing it with, so let's get a repor going: introduce yourselves to me! 

Websites have these nifty little data analyzers that can tell me how many different page views this blog gets per day, and where all of my viewers are coming from, so to all of you who have kindly been tuning in - tell me who you are! Friend? Family? Someone who randomly found this online and decided to follow along? I want to know who you are, and even more importantly, I want to know what brought you here! Where do your interests lie in terms of my content? Is it in the musicians themselves? in the road experience? Living situations? The food? How merch works? Management? 

If any of you have particular questions, or areas that you have big questions on, please comment and let me know! I want to make sure I answer as many questions as possible so more people can fully understand what it takes to make a concert like this happen. Warped Tour is unlike anything else in the world, yet, at the end of the day, it's still has all the same basic functions of any other concert, so i'll be glad to teach you all the most I can.  

Comment on posts, photos, Send me questions via the contact page, whatever it may be! Let me know who you are and why you're here, and hopefully we can all get just a little bit more out of this than just a fun story :) 

Have a great night, everyone, tomorrow is a big day! Photos, stories, and explanations of today's woes and hilarious happenings will all come very, very soon :)

xoxo

-M