This summer, I was given the opportunity to live out one of my biggest dreams by spending a month on the Vans Warped Tour shooting pictures and slinging merch for Carousel Kings. While documenting their tour, I also took time to shoot whatever bands I could when I had time away from merch. This blog is a few months overdue but I'm excited to share these shots (with new edits oOoOoO) from the toughest and most fun summer of my life.
Day 1 - Camden, NJ
This was essentially a practice run for me and the Carousel Kings dudes. CK had won their local Ernie Ball contest and got thrown on this extra date of Warped Tour for a hometown show of sorts. After reuniting with the guys, we sorted out merch for the tour, went over procedures / plans, and figured out how to set up our new fancy tent/flags. I caught a few main stage sets but only had shooting access to the Ernie Ball stage this day and was busy with merch, so I did not shoot a lot and tried to soak up the environment that would become more than familiar that month.. What I did shoot got lost in my pre Warped disorganization, so a couple low quality pictures I took off my Instagram are below.
Day 2 - Long Island, NY
This day, I rode into Warped Tour with my favorite local band daisychain. who were lucky enough to have won this dates battle of the bands contest. Once again, I only had the ability to shoot at the Ernie Ball stage but did not have to work merch. So I spent most of the day wandering around checking out my favorite bands on the bigger stages and napping on the asphalt.
Day 3 - Off Day
This was the CT date of Warped tour, but Carousel Kings didn't officially start until the MA date. I spent this day packing most likely.
Day 4- Danbury, CT
We had a small one off this day on the way to Massachusetts. Here are a couple pictures from that.
Day 5 - Mansfield, MA
This was the first official day of Warped Tour with Carousel Kings. It rained on and off most of the day (and poured for CK's time) as we settled into the new environment that would be our life for the next month. Eager to check out new bands and play with my new all access pass, I scurried around and shot A LOT this day in between working the merch booth with my partner, Andrew.
Day 5 - Darien Lake, NY
After an overnight drive, we arrived at the next stop prettttty early, like 7am and it was freezing. Me and our driver Nick stumbled our way over in hoodies to catch some breakfast and I even snagged a shower in the amphitheater before we loaded the merch tent to a muddy hill to set up. After merch was up, I spent a solid amount of time hanging posters and promoting the line before doors opened. Like the day before, I spent a lot of time shooting this day, but did not cover Carousel Kings because it was Andrews day to shoot while I watched merch. This date also marked the first time our van made a trip to the shop for a starter issue. After the show, we were able to frolic in the amusement park attached to the venue which was very cool especially for a roller coaster buff like me.
Day 6 - Cincinnati, OH
I passed out while editing after Darien Lake and woke up in the Riverbend Music Center parking lot ready to load in. This is when the reality of waking up in a different city everyday and the non stop grind of Warped started to sink in. Sometime overnight we also blew (more like shredded) a trailer tire, the first one of many on this tour. Security made all the vans park about a third of a mile down the road from the venue entrance, so me and Andrew spent the next 3-4 hours pushing merch down the road to the very back of the venue on top of an turf hill. All while our hand truck had four deflated tires. An hour after getting the tent up, security let us move the van into the venue parking lot with the buses. Sick. At least we snagged breakfast and were set up before Senses Fail kicked off the Monster stage that was facing our tent. This day was the hottest weather wise so far, but a breeze compared to what was to come.
Day 7 - Toronto, ON
This day was annoying. Andrew couldn't get into Canada with us, so we dropped him off at a friends house in Buffalo around 7 in the morning and hit the border around 7:30. We did not get into Canada until 1. The idea of putting every bus through the same border did not work out as nicely as planned and many bands got stranded this long with us. We rolled into Warped around 3, halfway through the day. We luckily did not miss our set but had to scramble through the crowds and rain to get merch set up. I did not shoot a ton this day because of the crazy schedule and we were short a merch guy. But I did meet a lot of friends for the first time and Canada is the most polite place in the world which made up for the otherwise stressful day.
Day 8 - Columbia Heights, MD
We woke up in Maryland to ominous clouds hanging overhead. Of course, halfway through pushing merch up the stupid steep hill (with our still broken cart) the downpours came and didn't stop for a while. We set our tent up in the trees as a makeshift shelter while the kids waiting in line to get in got soaked. This morning rain also made the festival grounds a giant mud pit, which would ruin my shoes and the clothing of many attendees that day. Halfway through the day another problem came up. Our van would not start. We watched it get towed away along with our driver to a shop where it remained for a few days following this show. Our good friends in Fake Life Clothing were cool enough to let us crash their van for the next couple days as we packed our essentials in their trailer and left our own trailer in the parking lot to be picked up days later. Yeah, super sketchy.
Part 2 coming soon...