BEHIND THE SCENES: WARPED TOUR EDITION (EVAN PIERRI)
IRVINE, CA- FOURTH DAY OF WARPED TOUR! Here’s another ‘Warped Tour Edition’ of my series ‘Behind the Scenes’ with a Warped Tour veteran to try to get an idea of what really happens, and what really goes into working this very long, very hot, tour. This will give you some tips on what to wear/ where to eat/ how to get involved with the festival/ the do’s and don’ts of Warped Tour and some bands you should check out while there. Let the countdown begin!
Today’s Warped Tour Veteran is Evan Perri.
Tell us a little about yourself(name, current job title, ect)
Evan Pierri - East Coast Director of Events for Filter Creative Group
Position(s) held when on Warped Tour:
2008 - Tour Manager - Four Year Strong
2010 - Tour Manager - Whitechapel
2011 - Road Manager - American Rag (Sponsor of the tour)
How many summers on Warped?
This summer will be my 4th and may be my last (unfortunately)...
How did you first get involved with the tour/ any previous experience?
After I graduated from Rider University in 2007 I had a summer internship with Crush Management. Towards the end of the summer I had the opportunity to meet Four Year Strong at an event Crush was throwing. With a little help from an intern at their record label at the time I was able to convince them to take me on the road with them. I sold merch at first but was able to prove that I was organized, willing to learn and pretty savvy with money this helped me move into a tour managing role. I had been with FYS for a little while when they were asked to be a part of the 2008 Warped Tour. That first summer was a blur. We joined the tour in the middle and there was a lot of flying by the seat of your pants to catch up to everyone else who was already well into the rhythm of the tour. Getting thrown into the deep end on a tour like Warped is the best way to learn. You have no choice but to meet people as fast as possible and learn the ropes right away or be out of the loop on a lot (and potentially thirsty and hungry)... I learned a lot that summer. ALWAYS pack baby wipes, get your hands on a camp shower, sun block is critical, meet as many people as possible and don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
Describe a typical day working the tour:
For me this year (since I'm in Sponsor World) for AMERICAN RAG it goes a little something like this...
7:00AM Alarm goes off. Get up; see if the bus has parked. If it's parked search for production/catering. FIND COFFEE!
After getting some fuel, head over to where it looks like they're setting up the site. Find our semi-truck filled with supplies. APPLY SUNBLOCK! Get a time frame on when they think they'll unload. Come back help unload/find all of our gear in what looks like a giant YARD SALE spread out all around the truck. Setup our tents, tables, banners, FAN!, etc. Distribute magazines to the main gate. Find our street teamers; setup our photo booth inside of our tent. Message We The King's tour manager to setup a signing time. Doors usually open sometime after this (11:00 AM). Give away a bunch of free t-shirts at our tent, run a sweet photo booth for a while. Then setup for the We The Kings signing line, get people in a queue. Run the signing. If the band plays after the signing maybe run up on stage and toss out a bunch of free t-shirts. Once 6:00PM rolls around, break everything down, pack it up and head for the shower and dinner. Hang out with some friends in the bus zone, find the bbq get some grub and then crash for the night (because it starts all over again the next morning)...
Survival tips for Warped Tour (for both crew and fans):
FANS: SUN BLOCK! BRING DRINKING WATER! Most venues now let you in with 1 unopened bottle of water. Don't throw it away! Warped is providing water refill stations where you can refill your bottle all day. You may have to wait in a line BUT staying hydrated is one of the most important things to be concerned with at Warped. Sit down and take a break if you're tired (preferably in the shade). I can't tell you how many kids I had to help pick up off the ground, make them drink water, and sit until I could get an EMT over to our tent to treat them last summer.
CREW: Baby Wipes! Don't leave home without them. They're a life saver when it’s a dust bowl outside. Bathing Suit. Towel ! Don't forget one. Warped DOES NOT supply them. Camp/Bag Shower - If you don't want to wait in at 2 hour line at the shower that's provided by the venue. Buy a camp shower. Fill it early in the day and let it sit in the sun. By the time you're ready for a shower, you'll have a nice private WARM shower to yourself.
Do’s and don’ts of Warped Tour:
Do: Come to have a GREAT TIME!
Get psyched for your favorite band.
Find the American Rag tent for FREE SWAG and to get your Photo taken!
Check out the signing times at Sponsor and Band tents so you don't miss your chance to meet your favorite band
Dont: FORGET SUNBLOCK
Be rude to Merchies - They're out in the sun all day and have been outside working LONG before you woke up. Everyone's HOT and has been outside all day - so cut them some slack if they're moving a little bit slower than a normal tour.
Miss these bands: NEW FOUND GLORY, FOUR YEAR STRONG, TAKING BACK SUNDAY, BAYSIDE, INTO IT OVER IT, A LOSS FOR WORDS, EVERY TIME I DIE, FIREWORKS, MISS MAY I
What to wear/not to wear:
What to WEAR: SNEAKERS (unless you want a broken toe in the pit) Tshirt and shorts, sun glasses and a HAT if it's a really sunny hot day. American Rag has a great summer wardrobe available at Macy's. There are some really awesome V-Neck T's and button ups for guys along with a large selection of fun print shirts and dresses for ladies.
NOT to WEAR: Pants, Long sleeves (although it would help prevent sun burn you might sweat to death) I always wonder about kids in Long sleeves and pants. That can't be comfortable in 120 degree Arizona.
Best live performance(s) you have seen at Warped:
Wow, that's a hard one BUT... I'd have to go with ANDREW W.K. on the last day of Warped 2010. There had to be almost 100 of us on stage for Party Hard. It was a blast.
Best and worst part about working Warped?
Best: Getting to hang out with my friends in the summer for 2 months.
Worst: Being away from my family, girlfriend and home for the summer.
Was it/is it what you thought it would be like?
Yes and No. At 15 I don't think I truly understood how many people it takes to run a tour of this size for almost 2 straight months in the summer. I've come to really enjoy being a part of it but also remember that there are some really HOT and LONG days where you really can't escape. I will say I wouldn't trade anything in the world for going out on it this summer though. There are going to be a lot of GREAT friends out there both on stage and behind the scenes. I'm looking forward to a long but amazing summer.
Favorite city and/or best venue Warped Tour stops in:
Unfortunately it's NOT stopping there this year but THE GORGE in Washington State is the best venue Warped has ever gone to. The stage is literally set on the top of a Canyon overlooking a beautiful gorge/river. I don't think anyone I know has a BAD memory from Warped shows at that venue.
Best place(s) to eat while being out on the tour:
I always look forward to the Southern California days off so that I can meet up with my friends and go to Pokez or other SoCal/SD amazing spots.
Favorite Warped Tour memory/ story/experience:
Wow, that's a tough one. It was kind of a scary and then funny one at the time but in 2008 at the Shoreline Amphitheater (Mountainview CA) show I had what I like to call a "principal’s office" moment. Some of the shows use the amphitheater of a venue and split the stage in two. This was one of those shows. Four Year Strong was nearing the end of their set and one of the singers decided to say something to the effect of "I want to see you guys go crazy out there for this next song, I want to see you go rip the seats out of this place crazy." That stage also happened to be right next to where production was. Less than a minute later I got a text message from Lisa Brownlee (who's the tour manager of Warped) telling me to come see her as soon as they were done playing. I almost peed my pants. I try and keep myself and my bands off the "bad" radar. Moral of that story was the tour accountant told me if there were any access damages in the amphitheater that day that we would be paying for them. I thought everyone was going to hate FYS. Luckily there were none and about 2 weeks later Kevin Lyman (who runs the tour) gave us gift cards for gasoline because he loved having the band out there and knew they needed some extra help that summer. That's why it's such a great tour you have all of these situations to sort through and meet new people through.
Advice for first timers (for both crew and fans):
Fans: I feel like a broken record/ parent but pack sun screen and water. If you're with a group of friends try and stick together. Cell phone service gets BAD once there are 15,000 people in one area and if you lose your friends early in the day you won't have as much fun. Make sure you have some cash on you and that you don't spend ALL of it in case you need some for an emergency. Security can be your BEST FRIEND or WORST ENEMY but if you see anything that doesn't seem right don't hesitate to report it. They can also help with friends who aren't feeling well or with lost items.
Crew: BABY WIPES! Also get into those porto potties early in the day if you need to use the bathroom.
If someone wanted to work on Warped Tour how would they go about it?
Best place to start is as a Street Teamer. A lot of bands, non-profits and companies out on the tour are always looking for proactive, hardworking volunteers. Street teaming at your local Warped date (or a few in your area) will help give you a better idea of how long the day really is and how much work goes into Warped Tour. After that you'll have some references when approaching a band or organization in the future. There are usually posting on organizations blogs and websites.
Check out http://twitter.com/wearethekids for job postings throughout the year that are both WARPED and Music Industry related.
If you're going to be on tour this summer, what are you most looking forward to?
Getting to spend a lot of time with some of my best friends during my favorite time of year.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Come visit me at the American Rag tent this summer! Get there early for some free Swag!