Ahhh, the annual Vans Warped Tour. The long-running “punk rock summer camp” that’s been a summer staple for many since 1995. The first time I attended the tour was back in 2010 on a trip to Toronto, and I’ve been trying to get back ever since.
Travel plans and photo passes falling through the last few years have kept me away, but 2016 was to be my triumphant return! This year, my date of choice was at the White River Amphitheatre in Auburn, WA just south of Seattle. And then I realized…. I left my camera in Canada.
I. Left. My. Camera. In. Canada.
We arrived at our hotel, a lovely Motel 6 in Fife WA, at around 12:30 am the night before. Cute pool, cute room. About 15 minutes after arrival, panic set in. Yes, I seriously left my entire camera bag sitting on the floor at work when I was in a rush to leave for the ferry. After coming to terms with the fact I was probably going to have to buy and return a very basic, entry level dSLR kit, I settled in to sleep for a measly few hours.
Around 7am, I got a text that saved the day. My lovely friend Carmin, travelling as a photographer on the tour all summer, saw my panicky text messages and sacrificed her (slightly broken) Nikon D600 and a 50mm lens for me to borrow.
Despite the drama, Warped Tour was, quite honestly, the most fun I’ve had at a festival in a long time. From a photographers’ perspective, it’s very different from most festivals – there is ZERO lighting. Nada. Just the ambience of the sun (or clouds).
This forces you to get creative and look for a definitive moment, rather than relying on lighting to make a photo interesting. Fortunately, Warped Tour is also a photographers’ paradise, as the bands are as energetic as they come, constantly jumping around and interacting with the crowd.
Warped Tour 2017, I’m looking forward to you already. Maybe this time I won’t leave my camera in a different country.