As I wandered about the hot and humid campus of the Vans Warped Tour, I quickly realized that perhaps I had superseded the intended age demographic of the event. I wanted to take photos of the concert goers, yet, felt awkward about not knowing the ages of said music fans, especially considering their various levels of undress. So I found my way to the press tent and after interviewing the band Junior Doctor, I decided to check out the backstage area. Tons of gear, boxes to store and transport the gear, stations to fix instruments, and practice areas surrounded the main stage, which I found to be more compelling to shoot than the throngs of sweaty half-dressed teen fans. The band Miss May I? was preparing to perform, musicians warmed up while stage personell were getting things plugged in.
I quickly found an opportunity to capture some amazing portraits of the roadies: they stood in the wings, supervising everything with the cool panache inherent to rock’n'roll dudes, their heavily tattooed chests bared and their muscles rather glowing from a combination of sweat and the perfect lighting coming from the entirely white and overcast sky reflected off the bright white gear trucks pulled up to the stage dock. A very friendly lot, they humored me with my requests to take their photos, and I came away from the Warped Tour with a much more nuanced appreciation for the behind-the-scenes action that makes such a huge tour possible. Thank you roadies, for your willingness to pose, and your positive response to my request for water, which I was amused to note, came in a Monster energy drink can labeled “Tour Water.” Ah the magic of backstage!