Some of you might have been wondering ‘why haven’t there been any updates lately?’, well, first I would like to apologize for not keeping you guys in the loop. As everyone knows, Summer is festival season. As soon as one ends, another begins and that holds very true here. To be honest, I still have no clue how a month have already went by.

Monster Energy Drink Stage ©2014 Henry Chung

I was invited by the Vans Warped Tour to come out to the east coast dates and hang out and do some photography for them. I gotta say, it was a dream come true for me because I have been going to Warped Tour every Summer since 1996 when I was only 14. To be given the opportunity to join them on tour with complete ‘All Access’ was something I never imagined was even possible.

Here’s what I learned on my first tour (in no particular order).

1.) There is NEVER enough baby wipes.
Oh you want a shower? So does every band member, crew, production, etc… Baby wipes are probably easiest was to quickly wipe the daily grime off of yourself. You can also give yourself a bottle shower / bottle wipe by filling up a water bottle and just wipe yourself down.

2.) Pack lightly!!
As the tour progressed, I started carrying less and less on my body. It’s quite a balance between carrying what you need camera-wise and what you must have on you so you don’t pass out because of heat exhaustion.

VWT Stage Crew ©2014 Henry Chung

3.) Without the crew, there is no show.
A lot of people tend to focus on the performers on stage but fail to remember that without the crew to back them up, there would be no stage. They’re the ones that can help you navigate around backstage (trust me, you have Spinal Tap moments everyday on the road) or just invite you on stage to watch the show from a different perspective most people don’t get to enjoy.

Full Sail crew ©2014 Henry Chung

4.) Vendors are just as important as crew members.
Most bands make their income mostly from mercy sales. When bands perform at venues, ticket sales get divided up between the house (which gets a big chunk of it first), the promoter (they’re the one that put the show together) and then what’s left goes to the band (typically $2-5 per ticket). So after hours of running around carrying 20-40lbs of gear, you just NEED a place to sit down and just take a load off. Befriending the vendors is a big plus. They’re the ones that’ll let you crash at tents, refuel, charge up and sometimes even let hang around during signings.

5.) Bands are fans too so keep your eyes peeled if you’re a super fan (just don’t freak them out.)
I guess a lot of people are used to the idea that the performers only hang out on their bus or somewhere backstage at shows but at festivals, it’s different. You’d be surprised to see how many band members are in the crowd with you cheering their friends on. At the Long Island, NY stop I was in the crowd watching PVRIS play on the Ernie Ball stage. I looked to my side and realized that half the audience were band members.

AtillaCrowd ©2014 Henry Chung

6.) Warped is a small community. Respect is EVERYTHING!!
If you disrespect anybody on tour, you’ll be on everyone’s shit list by the end of the night. Everyone talks and everyone on the road can see through your BS so treat everyone with respect and you shall receive the same back!

7.) Plan for failure, bring 2 of everything!!
There’s nothing worst than having your phone die in a city you’ve never been to. It’s even worse when you realized that your charge cable is busted and you only brought 1 on the road with you. Same goes with mobile charge packs (they’re total life savers!!) The same applies for everything else. I brought 5 extra batteries for my Nikon, 2 for my GoPro and 1 extra for my Samsung NX30 (it charges via USB so the extra battery packs help as extra batteries.)

8.) Wal-Mart can be your friend.
Nothing says fun like using a Wal-Mart bathroom to brush your teeth, wash your hair, wipe yourself down and crash for the night like Wal-Mart. They also have the cheapest price for ice for your cooler.

9.) Sunscreen!!!
Do I really need to explain this one? Though I do have to mention to apply evenly if it’s from an aerosol can. I’m still left with weird stripey tan-lines from uneven applications. 😦

10.) Be careful who you choose to go out on the road with.
You’re in a confined space for hours at a time driving from city to city. Somewhere along the way, people’s true selves come out and then there’s a fine line between making it out and back still as friends or mortal enemies.