The Vans Warped Tour first came into my life in 2008, when my mother took me to the Dallas, TX show. I instantly felt at home and knew that my future would lead me to be a part of the tour. When my family moved overseas when I turned sixteen it meant that I could no longer just hop in a car and ride to Warped Tour. In 2012, right before my school finals, I begged my dad to fly with me across the world from Abu Dhabi to San Francisco for Warped Tour where I was asked to perform with Motionless in White, met Memphis May Fire for the first time as well as For Today. I brought a sign with me that read "I flew 10,000 miles for Warped Tour," and it garnered attention from some of the photographers that were shooting the show that year. Many of the people I met that day would go on to be acquaintances and mentors of mine, which I'm forever grateful for.
Performing "Abigail" with Motionless in White:
In 2014 when I moved from Perth, Australia, where I had started shooting live shows, to Los Angeles I made a pit stop in my home town of Oklahoma City. I knew that I had to somehow photograph Warped Tour for the 2014 summer shows in Texas so I began to scour the internet for Kevin Lyman's email address. After sending him a short email about how much of an honour it would be to photograph Warped Tour I crossed my fingers and waited. A few days later, to my surprise, I received a reply with an invitation to photograph any and all of the shows I wanted. Kevin thanked me for reaching out to him and I immediately jumped on the phone with my friend Baker in Texas. I asked if he had any interest in going to Warped Tour with me, with a guest wristband for him and his girlfriend and he quickly accepted! That summer I photographed all three shows in Texas, moved out to Los Angeles, headed out on my first tour with a band from Ohio, and ended up photographing the Florida shows as well as the Ohio shows. It was as if my path was meant to cross with Vans Warped Tour, so I embraced it.
In 2017 I had the opportunity to create daily content for Alternative Press Magazine as an APTV Correspondent. I made it! I was ON VANS WARPED TOUR! My dreams of going on this magical tour were finally being fulfilled! I got to experience every up and down that Warped Tour has to offer, from the heat exhaustion to the infighting to the much needed days off. I soaked up every moment of it, because we all feared that the tour was coming to an end. Living on the road for seven weeks is grueling and there are plenty of roadies and artists that tour for even longer durations of time, but seven weeks is where I cap my sanity on the road. The post tour depression after this one lasted for about six months, if I'm being honest. It was such an intensive experience that it took me a long time to return home mentally, and once I did I found that I had lost relationships and jobs because of the toll it took on me. But my goodness, what an experience it was.
Now, to the reason you're here! To see the photos from the Final Vans Warped Tour! I want to start off by apologising for not flying out to the Atlantic City shows to capture them. I should have jumped on a plane and created a BTS vlog for it, because, from what I hear, it was absolutely incredible. Unfortunately I had other obligations to attend to, but I didn't fret, because I knew that I'd be going to the final dates, working as a videographer for LA based rock band, The World Over.
We arrived on site at 8AM to load in and found out that The World Over would be opening the show, which meant that after fulfilling my duties for them I'd have two full days to capture the last Warped Tour. I whipped my GoPro out of my back pocket and started my "The Final Vans Warped Tour - Photo Vlog." I wanted to make a vlog for all of the photographers who would never get to photograph a Vans Warped Tour, just like I did back in 2014 when I was making daily vlogs.
The Final Vans Warped Tour - Photo Vlog
After The World Over played I snapped a few pics of Dollskin. I shot one of Dollskin's first promo photo sets for their EPK a few years ago in an abandoned warehouse that is no longer there. I'll attach some of those photos below their Warped photos.
Early Dollskin Promos
I remember the first time I met We The Kings. They had one of the biggest crowds at a festival that I had ever seen and their crowds seem to continue growing every time I see them perform. It's astounding the amount of pull this band has. Over the years I've become friends with Charles Trippy, their bassist, who holds the Guiness World Record for the most consecutive days uploading content to YouTube. I once tried to beat Charles record but hit the wall after day 1000. I simply couldn't keep up with the demand while trying to make content for the bands I was working for on tour. It simply was no longer sustainable for me so I cut back to a few weekly vlogs, which is still my current schedule.
Getting to photograph We The Kings play their final Warped Tour set brought a tear to my eye and joy into my heart. I am so very proud of what this band has accomplished and the legacy they have built beneath them. I am so appreciative for all of their love, support, and reposts.
After We The Kings' set I headed to help CaliberTV film One OK Rock, an amazing rock band from Japan. I had the pleasure of shooting a BTS concert video about them for Alternative Press back in 2017 and fell in love with their sound. I will attach CaliberTv's edited video below once it's done being edited.
After One OK Rock I was asked to help CaliberTV film Wage War, which was amazing and oh so much fun. I love filming drum cam footage, because I'm very rhythmically in tuned with music and I move my camera with the beat of the song and mimic the drummers' body movements. I'll also attach that video here below for you all once it is complete.
The last band on my list for Day 1 was Silverstein. I know I may not have photographed every band YOU loved on the lineup, but I wanted to make sure to capture all of the homies this time around. I do wish I had captured more bands but I also wanted to really enjoy my last Warped Tour. I spent a lot of time between these sets catching up with friends from Warped and sharing tour stories.
The Final Day of Vans Warped Tour and I got to photograph it! Wow! My day started off focusing on another musician that I've photographed several times now, Frank Zummo, an incredible drummer and extremely humble individual. He was playing with a group called Street Drum Corps and as a former third snare player in drumline, I especially loved this performance. I can't say it enough, I love filming and photographing drummers.
After watching Frank and his friends slay an in-crowd drum circle I headed over to the Monster stage to catch the end of Confide's set. I typically would have more photos, but I was focusing on my behind the scenes vlog, to memorialize the experience for the JusttheletterK YouTube channel so make sure to check that out.
After Confide played I waited around for Hyro the Hero, because I'd never seen them play. One of the unwritten rules of Warped Tour was to watch at least one band that you'd never heard of before. Today that was Hyro and I am so glad that they were the band I decided to watch, because my goodness this band has got some energy!
Fun fact: in 2014 when my band flew from Australia to play one date of Warped Tour it was in Mountain View and we. were lucky enough to play on the. Shiragirl stage, which featured bands with female members. It was one of my all time favorite Warped memories and I wish we could have played more shows on the tour. We had a blast. So, to thank Shira for all of the love, I snapped a few pics of their set.
After seeing Juliet Simms announce her signing to Sumerian Records I had to head over to her set to hear some music. I'd never actually seen her perform before and can I just say, it's no wonder she slayed it on The Voice back in the day. This girl has charisma, energy, and has some serious pipes. Plus, her drummer is a badass!
Next up, the mighty Atreyu!! Can I just say...I love this band. I remember the first music video of theirs I watched was for Right Side Of The Bed. It was the fourth music video on their A Year in the Life of: Victory Records Video Sampler. That DVD was also my introduction to Silverstein. Thanks to Dan and Travis for sharing my pics on their Instagram's. These are some of my favorite photos from the weekend, for sure. Dan is for sure one of my favorite guitarists. I am so glad I got to photograph these guys play the last Warped Tour.
Finally after a day and a half of waiting, it was time to shoot Memphis May Fire. Before I walked to the photo pit I stepped back stage to catch up with the boys in the band and we reminisced about the first time we met. Memphis was playing on the stage where it all began, when we met back in 2012, the Monster stage. Watching a band this big play on a stage this intimate is a special treat and I'm so glad I got to be a part of capturing it for the archives.
Because we had a seven hour drive ahead of us we decided to leave right after Sleeping With Sirens set and I'm so glad that I got to catch them play. I've loved getting to know the members of this band and they have supported me in both my music and photography for years and I can't thank them enough for their love.
What a great way to close out my final Vans Warped Tour; seeing my friends play new music that they're excited about sharing with the world. There's no greater feeling than being proud of what you've created.
Do you want tips on shooting live photos or how to become a freelance videographer? I'd love to recommend my podcast, Project Freelance to you.
Here's an episode I made with Vans Warped Tour founder, Kevin Lyman, who at the time was recovering from scepsis!! :