Over the past seven years, kiddie dance/rap band Koo Koo Kanga Roo have become Twin Cities favorites. When we heard they'd be playing 38 dates on the Vans Warped Tour — which is aimed mostly at pop-punk teens — we asked them to document the strange journey. Featuring more than 70 bands on nine stages, the Warped Tour is the largest traveling music festival in the United States. Here is the third installment of Neil Olstad and Bryan Atchison's tour diary.
We’ve completed our second full week of Warped Tour shows and we’re getting into a nice routine. Bryan and his brother Jeff hit the grounds around 8 a.m. and get assigned a location for our merch tent which also serves as home base for the day. Typically our merch will live near our stage, which is nice. Each stage has a semi-truck filled with audio gear and backline equipment (amps, drums, ect). Every band must provide a few people to help unload and get the setup process started. After setup, its time for breakfast. Around 9:30 or 10 a.m. the set times for the day are released internally. This resembles a high school musical cast list or a varsity football team roster being announced.
Representatives from each band wait in a pack to find out their set time. Our entire day is then shaped around what time we play. Around 10:30-11:30 a.m. is prime time for promotion. We walk up and down the line and try to intrigue as many people as possible as they wait to enter the venue. Bands play all afternoon and into the early evening. Depending on when our set time is, lunch, a half-hour of press availability, and goofing off/hanging out all happens in this time. At the end of the day we tear down our merch tent, and load everything back into our trailer. If bus call is late enough, the Warped Tour BBQ comes next, giving everyone a fun way to wind down.
Despite the hundreds and hundreds of people on this tour, familiar faces are everywhere and we’ve met lots of new pals. The tour continues to be more fun as everyone gets comfortable and as social circles grow. A great way to meet more people is to volunteer to assist with serving food at a tour meal, which Bryan and I did this week. For two hours over lunch on Friday we helped spoon up the incredible food cooked up by the cool folks at TaDa! Catering. The line to get lunch and dinner each day can be huge and frustrating but we were surprised at how respectful and courteous everyone was as they came through. It was fun to get a little behind the scenes look at how the catering team feeds 1,000 people three meals a day. In return for our help on the line, we now get to "cut" the line a couple times this week!
Fifteen shows down. 23 to go. This week we played in Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. People in the South think that there is snow in Minnesota year-round. I’m ready to head North.