Usually on my birthday, I sit at a quiet dinner with family and awkwardly smile as they sing to me over a cake. This year, I dove in head-first to Warped Tour in New Orleans with just a press pass and a camera. The heat was coming down strong along with the million sweat beads on my face. I didn’t let it stop my fun and hustle. As soon as I got into the gates, I jumped into Issues’s press pit. I knew I had a long, hot, and exciting day ahead as I grabbed some shots before going to get my interview schedule.

Thankfully, the press meeting area was in an air conditioned building. Also in this building was the area where all the bands could relax and eat throughout the day. I climbed the steps up to the second floor and walked by countless band members. Members from Real Friends and Issues calmly walked past me as I tried to keep myself from fangirling. I took a deep breath and simply admired that so many people I look up to were buzzing around me.

The day went on, and I interviewed I See Stars, Issues, Dash Ten, and Knuckle Puck. Between and after interviews, I braved the heat to watch and photograph bands. I have always loved the Warped environment and its ability to bring so many people together for the sake of a rowdy time and rock music. I was lucky enough to photograph bands like Issues, State Champs, Real Friends, Crown the Empire, The Maine, and I See Stars. As I waited to meet The Maine, I stood and watched Yellowcard play. Sadly, Warped of 2016 is their last hoo-rah. Being able to be in one venue and go from hearing “Ocean Avenue”by Yellowcard to watching a circle pit is quite exhilarating in an odd way. But, I guess that is just the magic of it all.

Many hours and water bottles later, the day started coming to an end as the sun lowered itself behind the New Orleans city skyline. As my body groaned to sit down, I packed up all my gear and watched one last set. I stood in genuine happiness. Warped has always provided a welcome home to people like me, people wanting a day of good music and even greater memories. I never thought I would attend Warped Tour by myself but I did, and I had a wonderful time. It really allowed me to be able to watch and listen to everything going on around me.

Interview with Devin and Andy Oliver of I See Stars

Pulse Spikes: I know so far today has been very surreal for me. I begged my dad to take me to see you all when I was a freshman in high school. He absolutely hated it. Now, I am standing here interviewing you all. Has there been any moments like that for you all on this Warped tour? Have you seen any bands that you have been a fan of since you were a young teenager?

Devin: I feel like it was like that when we did Warped in 2010 or 2013, but this year, it’s with a lot of bands we have toured with in the past decade. It’s cool to just come back and hang with friends we have made. 2013 was definitely a surreal year for me, playing acts you never thought you would get.

Andy: I feel like this year it’s bands this year that have just jumped on. I haven’t been able to see Sum 41 yet, but I know I will be out there singing. And there’s other bands like Good Charlotte or you know, Waka Flocka.

Devin: I think the most surreal thing is seeing what kind of gateway Warped Tour can be for bands.

Interview with Corrin Campbell of Dash|Ten

Pulse Spikes: Obviously, most of the musicians and techs here are male. How are you dealing with that as a female?

Corrin: I am definitely not worried about shaving my legs every day now. I’m really not here to impress anyone. But there is an element of power with being a woman here. We are representing a gender that is typically underrepresented in settings like these. I go out and I sweat just like every other guy here. I see women out here being objectified and they put disrespectful men in their place. I think we all need to pull together and show everyone we are here because we are passionate.

I see women out here being objectified and they put disrespectful men in their place. I think we all need to pull together and show everyone we are here because we are passionate.

Interview with Micheal Bohn, Skyler Acord, and Josh Manuel of Issues 

Pulse Spikes: When you all first started traveling as musicians, what were you all’s fears?

Michael: I was worried how other bands would treat me. Would they treat me like a scrub? Would they respect me?

Josh: I was nervous about messing up onstage.

Skyler: The scariest thing was the social aspect. I’m a tight-circle kind of person. For me to get to know new people was pretty terrifying.

Josh: I was an only child and then was thrown into touring where privacy doesn’t exist. You just have to get used to it.

Interview with Kevin Maida of Knuckle Puck

Pulse Spikes: How do you deal with people telling you that you should put your life on hold to get a college degree and other things like that?

Kevin: It’s tricky. I went to college and we got our first touring deal a semester away from me graduating. I decided to skip that tour, finish my degree, and now I can tour as long as I want. Sometimes I feel people give up everything to pursue one thing and have nothing to fall back on. I think some people could play their cards better.

Photos by Ana Massard
Words by Elizabeth Stafford

Originally published in Fall 2016 – Issue No. 004.

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