Californiaah: San Fran and Ventura

Finally some new territory for me, Warped days four and five were the two dates in California I’ve been most excited about! I’ve never been farther north in California than Santa Barbara before, so I was super excited to get up to San Francisco and see what NorCal was all about! Ventura was a stop we were playing right on the ocean, which I thought would be a super super cool venue, so I couldn’t wait for these two stops to come already!

We left Pomona about 8:00pm that night, and began our drive north. Since we were driving at night, I didn’t really get much of a chance to watch the scenery change, but when we arrived at the hotel that night around 3am, I could already feel a huge difference in the climate. The next morning when I left the hotel in pants, I was prepared to kick myself: it had been days upon days of 80/90 degree heat, and I was having a really hard time that the weather in the city could be that much different...boy was I in for a surprise. That day was by far the coldest day of the entire tour, and it was very welcome change in climate in retrospect. That day we were playing in one of the parking lots at AT&T Park, the huge MLB Baseball stadium in town, which is right on the bay! It was a gorgeous venue, and gave me a good way to be able to see a little bit of the city. We were set up right in a parking lot alongside the bay, it was BEAUTIFUL - but also freezing because of the breeze! Even in my thickest, fluffiest hoodie, I was shivering in my tent all day long. What a crazy change to experience, I was floored! 


a view of the baseball field across the water


a slightly blurry view of SanFran from the freeway

The architecture and landscape of San Francisco is something I could have never imagined, it was truly gorgeous! Danny is going there in October for the Audio Engineering Convention for a week, and I have a free plane ticket to use, we talked on the phone that night and I think I’m going to go with him and we’re gonna go explore the city on a mini-vacation! I can’t wait to go back and see more of the city than just the parking lot and the view from the highway. I’ve always been a fan or SoCal, I never thought I’d love San Francisco the way I do! I’m really excited to start exploring California more :) 

a little chunk of the massive, sold out SanFran crowd.

The San Fran date felt like a fairly small venue compared to what we’re used to, but the crazy thing was that our day in San Fran was SOLD OUT! 21,000 people were lined up that morning to come in and watch bands play - I had no idea how they’d all fit! The line for the gates went out and around the show in the rest of the parking lot, across a bridge over the water, and down and around the WHOLE baseball field! It was insane! I tried to take some photos for reference, but I don’t know if anything will do it justice to the sheer mass of people there were waiting to get into the show that day. Even though there were tons and tons and tons of people, it was a really fun day. The band played a great set, and much to all of our surprise, we had a HUGE crowd, and a surprisingly large fanbase! The kids really loved the music, and Packy played one of the craziest guitar solos I think I’ve ever seen live, it was a super fun, great day all around, and I have to admit I was a little sad to leave that night, but not too much, since we were headed for our beachside day in Ventura! 

When we got to Ventura that night around 2am, we arrived at a super rickety little motel in the middle of nowhere. Packy wrote a great poem (soon to be song?) about our experience, and you can read it on his blog here. After our short and hilarious stay, we headed towards our venue which was, like I said, right on the ocean! I was super excited to be playing such a beautiful spot, and wasn’t let down once we arrived. Parking literally across the street from the beach, the venue was a big parking lot/field, one of our bigger spots we’ve played so far. The guys were on a stage right by the front gates, and directly in front of the one open “shade” tent for the public, so we played to a fairly big crowd! It was a fun day, and when all was said and done, we packed down, and got ready for the barbecue!

The Warped Tour does a big barbecue almost every night after the show is done for all the bands and their guests, it’s incredible. It’s another production all it’s own, it almost feels like it takes as much planning as the show itself! Set up behind our stage that night, we got in line to grab grub as friends and other bands started piling in as well. That night was the night before our two days off in San Diego, so we had nowhere to be and no time schedule to meet that night, so we were finally able to stay - it was our first of the whole tour! The group was airing small clips of the new TV show Warped Roadies that will be airing on Fuse this fall, and that was fun to watch. It’ll be interesting to finally get home and off the road, and have the opportunity to watch it all over again on TV! I think I signed waivers saying they could film me, so I might be in the background of some shots on and off throughout the season - how funny! 

Overall, our two days oceanside were tons and tons of fun. They will probably be two of my favorites this whole trip to be honest. Between our close proximity to the water, and the gorgeous venues, I think they were great stops for the bands and the public. Our next two days were glorious, long days off in San Diego where I did absolutely nothing important (except laundry!) but it was definitely nice to take a big, long break where we didn’t change cities each day. Our next tour day is San Diego, followed by some HOT dates in Phoenix and Las Cruces, so be sure to stay tuned!



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!


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.


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.


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 :) 



Cargo Bay Tetris: The Ultimate Game for Musicians

I know we’ve all taken our turn on little camping trips with family being the one trying to fit the unimaginable amount of gear into the trunk, squeezing bags and pillows into tiny little nooks and crannies all over the trunk (and the rest of the car) until it all works. Let me be the first to tell you, Cargo Bay Tetris is a whole nother ball game all its own. 

Cargo Bay Tetris is like the most extreme packing system I have ever seen, let alone been a part of, and unfortunately this is something we will be doing every single day this summer. Because the band is traveling in it’s entirety in our one van with our merch, we have to find ways to fit both the merchandise and all of our luggage into the cargo bay of our sprinter van each day. During the beginning of the tour, this was literally impossible because of the sheer amount of merch we had! But as our levels fluctuate, shrink, grow, and expand again, it’s going to be up to us each and every day to find a way to know exactly how much merch will fit into the van while having room for our luggage. Not only do we have to be able to fit all of our stuff into the van, but to keep our merch bins stocked for each different day on the road, so we have to re-stock every night, meaning we’ll be pulling each box out each night to load bins and then condense down what we have. All you all thought being on tour would be fun, right? Most bands don’t have to do things like this because they have actual merch trailers strictly to keep this stuff in: they have the space to have huge bins they take out with them daily that only need to be stocked once a week. We don’t have that luxury because of our space limitations. This is a bit of a burden for the band, it’s not fun, nor is it easy, but it’s the cheapest and surprisingly best way for us to be able to travel, keep merch well in stock, and still travel somewhat “light”. We’ll be spending a lot of time nightly stocking, loading, and re-loading all these boxes in and out of the cargo bay, but I think within a week or so we’ll be able to really work out a good system to help make it easier. 


try taking ALL of this...

Packy has been our acting “Tetris Master”, conducting load-outs and load-ins from standing inside the bay. On the bands original drive from Chicago through Denver to Salt Lake, there was barely enough room for all of the bands backline (I’ll explain industry terms in my next post, for now, google it!) in the cargo bay. That being said, we had no other choice but to ship all of our merchandise out to Salt Lake to meet us. Yesterday when we arrived in the city, we dropped off the backline to our stage managers, and went to UPS to pick up all the merch waiting. We had NO idea there would be that much, it’s insane! The amount of boxes we had was so great that even with all the backline out of the cargo bay, there was still no room for any luggage to live anywhere other than the backseat of the van: taking up almost two full seats we needed for people! 


...and turning it into this.

The past two days have been mainly focused around this ridiculous practice of loading and unloading: finding the few (if not only) ways all of our gear can successfully fit in the Sprinter Van, while leaving room for all of us to comfortably (and legally) fit in the van. This morning when we checked out of the hotel, we still had two suitcases living on the back seat, which is used as a bed more or less, something we desperately needed for our all-night drive back to Denver this evening. Our only goal for today was to be able to sell enough merch that we could re-pack the boxes, condense, and be able to fit all of the luggage into the cargo bay so people would be able to sleep on the bench seat before it was their turn to drive. 

The band played a great set to a fairly large crowd today: a great showing for our first show of tour! Thanks to this, and by the grace of the Gods we were able to sell enough merch to magically fit all the little odds and ends that had been living in the van back into the Cargo Bay! After the guys were done with signings, press, and interviews for the night we broke our tent down, and spent an hour or so eating dinner while unloading the van, and re-packing all the merch bins, cardboard boxes, and the bay itself. Tonight’s breakdown took around two or so hours tonight, so I think that when we finally get a good system established I think I’ll be able to get this down to a 1-hr thing every least, that’s what I’m hoping! 

Welcome to Cargo Bay Tetris, one and all. May the best band survive the summer without giving up and leaving all their merch (or a drummer or two) on the side of the road, or strapped to the roof of their van. 

And here..we..GO. Warped: Day 1


We’re all finally back on the bus and Chuck (my usual pal/awesome all-purpose assistant guy) is driving us out of Salt Lake as the sun is setting behind us. Our first day of tour is finally over, and all I have to say is “holy SHIT that was long.” After a crazy start to the day, we all seemed to fair our first day out in the battle zone well, and I’m excited to tell you guys all about it.

I woke up to the sound of my first alarm this morning, 6am on the dot. That was a little frightening since It usually takes at least 10 to get me to stir. I know I slept last night, but I don’t feel like I feel into too deep a sleep, I think I was far too excited, anxious, nervous...I was ready and waiting. I got up in bed and after a long mental argument about my showering situation, finally began to prepare for the day. My first big “learn” of tour? Straighten my hair FIRST THING each day! This morning I saved straightening for last like I usually do at home, forgetting the fact that I had to pack my flat iron back into a suitcase again, I wouldn’t be able to just leave it sitting out on the bathroom counter to cool. Straightener in hand (so it could keep cooling and not catch my luggage on fire), I scuttled out just in time for bus call, and today’s first round of life-size Tetris: band vs. cargo bay. I’ve written another huge blog entry explaining this crazy game we’ve been playing, and I’ll be sure to keep you updated, but just know that this is a topic you won’t see disappearing from conversation all summer long.


home sweet merch tent for the next few months

After finally squeezing all of our stuff and our people back into the van, we headed for the venue and arrived close to 8:00am. To my surprise (and a little joy) there was already a huge line of kids waiting outside the venue, which was really cool to see. Unpacking and setting up took about two hours or so, and gates ended up opening early to the public at 10:30am. The rest of the day is a total blur, but felt like a decade. Me, Hari, and Bill all took a nice walk around out where the line was right as they began to let the crowd in. The guys have this amazing gimmick this summer of dressing up like “robots” in motorcycle helmets and coveralls and walking around with a big sign and our set time written on a white board. I took 100 of these cool little wrist bands we got (which I’m proud to say were my idea) and hooked up fans in line with our official Warped Tour website link, giving them access to a daily chat room to connect with other fans, meet up, and download some free tracks. From there on out I spent my day talking with fans, selling merch, and meeting some of the other tour members.

Catering is currently my favorite part of tour. The lines are INSANE no matter when you go, and what meal it’s for during the day, but even if you spend 45 minutes waiting in line for food (like I did today at lunch), you get to spend that time talking and meeting the people on either side of you in line. This time in line is probably the longest amount of time I’ll ever get to spend outside of the merch booth meeting people, shaking hands, trading names and stories. I’m such a people person that I LOVE that kind of interaction and will be reveling in any opportunity I get to spend time hanging out , making new friends. Aside from the social aspect, catering is really cool because it really makes Warped feel like one big, obnoxiously loud summer camp full of interesting people, and even more interesting hair styles. The catering on tour so far has been amazing! Each meal more delicious than the next with a wide variety of foods to choose from, and something for everyone regardless of dietary restrictions, preferences, or anything else you could come up with. With catering serving three meals a day to all gazillion of us on tour (more like 600-800 I believe...?), it’s the one time all of us can come together and really spend time together, tour-mate to tour-mate outside of the hustle and bustle of showtime. I love it love it love it! I’m sure this feeling will change those morning that I’m starving my way through a 40-minute cereal line, but for now? I think I can survive.


day 1 meals: YUM!

Overall, today was a great day. I loved getting to meet new fans, see familiar faces, and enjoyed hearing so much great praise for the band and their show. I know that the guys are all really happy with their set for tour, and worked really hard on it for awhile. It was nice to see it pay off in such a visible way. My only concern with this tour was how the public would react to the band and their...well, their blatant difference in musical style. A good majority of bands on the tour this year are very very heavy groups. Metal, Hardcore, Thrash, screamo, and alternative punk, Nintendo Pop/Rock doesn’t really seem like it would fit that same demographic in any way. I was so pleasantly surprised at the amount of new fans we made today, as well as the different groups they were choosing to see besides us. It was really humbling, reassuring, and pretty great to see that everyone has a little bit of that “nerd” inside them, and I Fight Dragons gives them a great place to musically explore that side of their personality. I’m really excited to see how tomorrow goes in Denver, where they have such a huge fanbase. If today already felt great, I can only imagine what tomorrow holds.

On that note, the rest of the band is already passed out, and I feel dead tired. I’m awful at sleeping on road trips, but I know that if I don’t at least try to rest, I’ll sorely regret it in the morning. So sleep habits be damned, Its time for me to put the laptop away and call it a night. Good night, folks! I hope to see tons of friendly faces tomorrow in Denver - my home town! I’m SO excited to be back to the beautiful city and state that I love so much, finally working something that has been a staple of my summers since I was 12.

See you tomorrow, Denver!



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 :)