I learned a lot this summer. Most of it was useless information, like how I apparently like cauliflower now and how my behavior reminds people of a baby panda. On the other hand, I also learned a lot about touring. I learned how tough it can be and everything that goes on behind the scenes of the festival I’ve been attending since I was twelve.
It’s no secret that we love Bad Cop / Bad Cop here at Bad Copy, so I was absolutely stoked to spend the summer with them on Vans Warped Tour! The following are highlights from my tour diary this summer.
Read Chapter 1 HERE
We woke up close to the Oregon border and everyone was getting excited to go to Fred Meyer. I was quickly informed that Fred Meyer is the Northwest equivalent of a really nice Walmart and apparently it’s the most important stop of any tour. We sang along to Queen on the drive while we made a shopping list. When we got to Fred Meyer, I didn’t really understand the hype. As everyone went their separate ways, Devito and I took a quick walk around the store and then decided we’d rather be watching The Princess Bride.
This was the first of three consecutive days off and we spent it driving through Oregon, into Idaho, and on our way down to New Mexico. We spent some time in Utah, where we watched Wonder Woman from recliners in a luxury movie theater, ate brunch at the Jailhouse Cafe in Moab, and explored the remarkable, Arches National Park.
On Fathers Day (June 18th), we surprised our driver/ Tour Dad, Vic, with a cookie cake from Walmart and decided to turn the event into the pilot episode of our Full House parody sitcom, Full Bus. The series is still a work in progress, because I was dead set on recording an original theme song which we never had a chance to come up with. I have to say though, it’s probably the best 60-second TV show I’ve directed. I’m sure one day it’ll be released…
On June 22nd, we woke up in Albuquerque, NM. This was the first extremely hot day of the tour at 104 degrees. It was also the first day Devito and I discovered the wonderful Kona Ice Truck. Kona Ice is so much more than an overpriced festival snowball; it’s an overpriced festival snowball where you can add your own syrup. They literally hand you a plastic cup of ice and you can take it to the side of the truck where you can mix as many or as few flavors as you want. It’s truly a life changing experience.
Jennie had been working on a “Warped Tour BINGO” card to announce Bad Cop’s set times and she finished it just in time for the show. Warped Tour BINGO is just like regular BINGO but instead of marking numbers and letters, you look out for festival cliches like “food in a basket”, “sunburnt punks”, and “Bad Cop/ Bad Cop on the Hard Rock Stage”. Anyone who crossed out a full row could come back to merch for a prize. And it worked too! I saw a bunch of BINGO players come to check out the girls’ set too!
We were only six days into my two week run, but I was already so upset to be leaving the tour. I was talking to the girls about it that night and it turns out, they didn’t want me to leave either! I still planned to drop off to see my family in Maryland for a bit. However, the tour would be headed through the state two weeks later! The ladies asked me to join them one again and finish it off strong! It was the best news I had ever heard! Warped Tour is hard but it’s so rewarding, and I couldn’t wait to see all my new friends and tell them I was coming back!
Later, Stacey, Linh and I went to watch Sick Of It All, who just started the tour. Linh continued to watch their set almost everyday for the rest of the tour, and even joined in on vocals a few times! She’s been a fan of the band ever since seeing them in New York growing up, so I can only imagine how stoked she was to finally share a stage with them!
That night, Devito introduced me to the guys in Russian Girlfriends and we all watched the sunset over Attila’s ridiculously large crowd.
Ah, Phoenix. I thought yesterday was hot, but at 8AM it was already 99 degrees without an inch of shade to be found. As we were trying to set up, we kept taking breaks to grab clumps of ice from the cooler on stage and shoving them down our bras to cool off. I really couldn’t tell what was melted ice and what was sweat, but I was soaking wet and still miserable.
I started working for War On Women today. Shawna recruited me to take photos this morning and I was ecstatic to be gaining interest from other bands on the tour! War On Women is a really powerful feminist hardcore band with amazing songs and lyrics that give you chills. Plus, Shawna is an insane performer and I knew it’d be no problem at all to get kick-ass photos of her.
When I got back to the bus, after shooting WOW and Bad Cop back-to-back, Jennie and Stacey greeted me by saying “take off your clothes, were doing lunch in our underwear.” I thought about it for a second, but I complied because it really was THAT hot. I kept thinking I’d step away from my laptop to keep Devito company at merch, but then someone would open the door and the gust of hot air would immediately change my mind. Eventually, Jennie, Stacey and I left the bus to see Save Ferris and Creeper, and then grab some dinner. I met a couple of the guys in Boston Manor in the dinner line, whom I attempted to mock sarcastically in my best British accent. We laughed as we waited and I made a note to check their band out soon.
We all got a sudden burst of energy as the sun went down and the temperature decreased to only about 105. We sang and danced along as The Adolescents played The Blue Album all the way through and the crowd went crazy, as if The Adolescents made you immune to the heat. I ended the night with a gnarly fall after trying to skateboard on a dolly, which left me with a couple souvenir bruises. This wasn’t my first, and definitely not my last fall of the tour. And that’s how I was nicknamed “Baby Panda.”
I couldn’t sleep much that night because I was too excited to see my boyfriend, Bruno (of Baron Bandini), the next day! Timing worked out that the tour would be in Vegas the same weekend his roommate was celebrating his birthday there, so Bruno worked out some kinks and came to visit me.
It was June 24th, and the show was at The Hard Rock Hotel. We had to walk half a mile in the heat just to get from the buses to the venue, which made loading in that morning a real shit show. No one knew where to go, the hotel staff was oblivious, and the Saturday morning hotel guests were already awake and polluting the walkways. The only thing keeping us going was the thought of jumping straight in the pool once we got set up.
We must have some great Vegas luck because our stage was the only one set up in front of the pool that day, so we could go in and out all day and a bunch of concert-attendees were stationed over there to watch the bands from the pool. I made sure everyone was good at the merch booth and dipped out to meet Bruno, who was staying on the 11th floor of the casino tower.
After I took a much needed shower and marveled in the beauty of that hotel room, I invited everyone up to shower or nap or just check it out. Jennie and Stacey took me up on that offer and met us up there. I told Stacey she had to get a running start and flop on the bed and then just sink into the mattress. Almost as soon as she hit that mattress she was out cold and slept for a good 45 minutes.
When the event doors opened at 11AM, we went back downstairs to join the party. We planned on hanging around the venue all day since our bus was so far away and it was just getting hotter. Linh, Bruno and I were hanging out in the pool when Doll Skin opened the show. I really fell in love with Doll Skin and was heartbroken when they left the tour after just one week. The band consists of four super cool punk girls, all under 20 years old. We thought of them as the mini Bad Cop/ Bad Cop: they had a girl with short pink hair like Stacey, one with long black and teal like Jennie, and a drummer with red hair like Myra!
Stacey and Linh played in their bathing suits that day and everyone seemed to love it. I really think they had the best crowd of the day. The small space between the edge of the pool and the stage was packed, and there were fans in the pool singing and dance-swimming the whole time. Near the end of their set, a bunch of people even started a whirlpool circle pit in the water, which was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.
The space in front of our merch booth was almost nonexistent, but there were still plenty of people waiting to meet the girls after their set! A couple people in line actually recognized me from Instagram and one of them asked me to sign my photos on the back of their record! I tried to be cute and draw a little camera emoji and then sign my name, but I panicked and got shaky and it ended up looking like a child drew it with their non-dominant hand. I never got another chance to try again.
There was supposed to be a shuttle onsite to take us back to the buses, but it was super confusing and unorganized and no one could figure it out. After trying for 20 minutes, I decided to lead Bruno back to the buses on foot. I felt confident in my directions back to the lot, but after walking for fifteen minutes and not seeing anything familiar, we stopped in a gas station to figure it out in air conditioning. Sure enough, I was walking in the wrong direction the whole time and I was sweaty and miserable. Eventually, we made it back to the bus.
That night, I said goodbye to my boyfriend once again and we traded him for Jennie’s boyfriend, Brian from Decent Criminal. We loaded everyone back into the bus and began our overnight journey back to Utah.
An ongoing anthology of tour diaries.