Life in the Pit: My First Warped Tour Press Experience with Lisa Johnson.


Mickey Johnson and Shawna Potter of War On Women - Watch the Interview

I guess to really start off this article, I must give a complete background of myself and the music that shaped me as a person. I was raised primarily on Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, and Green Day with my dad, and country with my mom. I briefly went through a One Direction phase, but we don’t need to talk about that. I fell in love with My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy when I was twelve and that is when it all started. Flash Forward to Warped Tour 2014, my very first Hardcore show. I was so stoked, I had everything prepped weeks in advance. Water, sunscreen, sunglasses, the perfect outfit, and had my ticket bought two months in advance. I was so serious about this tour that I even made a Power Point explaining why it was absolutely necessary that I attend. I met my first band that day, and let’s just say my eyeliner did not go back to its original state after that.

New Years Day at Phoenix Warped Tour 2017

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After the day ended, I realized how in love I was with the music and the scene and how unified everyone was because of it. It was a feeling something along the lines of euphoria. Drugs are so unnecessary when music gives you this feeling. Something inside of me clicked to where I knew I had to be a part of this industry. I started Photography in 2015. I remember walking into Pub Rock, and being the youngest one there in my group of friends. I was determined to make it in the industry, despite what many people said.

Memphis May Fire at Phoenix Warped Tour 2017

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This past year at the Phoenix Warped Tour on June 22, at the Fear Farm Festival Grounds, I was introduced to the world of TEI workshops and Pit Photography. Lisa Johnson, a true icon, has worked with bands such as Reel Big Fish, Rage Against the Machine, Smashing Pumpkins, and bands that I only dream of shooting. Johnson has been in the scene for many years and has been on Warped Tour since its birth in 1995. She has inspired many young people to get their start in the industry. By taking her Life in the Pit TEI workshop on Warped Tour, you automatically get Pit access and the opportunity many people dream of. This workshop teaches people the rules of Pit Photography and proper etiquette that is absolutely necessary for being a music photographer. You get a life changing experience for a little over $28.00, is that even a question? Although, you need a camera of course.

Blessthefall at Phoenix Warped Tour 2017

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Taking this workshop, and doing press for Warped Tour this past year has helped me achieve one of my life goals. Since starting photography, Warped Tour was always my goal and I honestly did not even think I had a chance of shooting it until at least my mid-twenties, so shooting Warped at sixteen blows my mind. When I started the editing process of my photos, the feeling was surreal. The rush is incredible and completely indescribable. Since starting photography two years ago, I have evolved as photographer quite significantly, and this opportunity has helped that growth in such a positive way.

Doll Skin at Phoenix Warped Tour 2017

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If there is anything I have learned from when I started to now, it’s that people will not take you seriously at first, and you will lose a lot of friends because you choose to further your career path. I also want to tell you that these things happen for a reason and it is perfectly okay that they do. Since being involved in the industry for the little time that I have so far, I have met so many incredible individuals. There are many opportunity costs to following your dreams and achieving your goals. One piece of advice that I would give anyone trying to make it in this industry or any industry for the matter, is don’t stop perfecting your craft. You cannot sit around and hope to make it, you must work hard and show people what you’re really made of. The incredible people here at Tour Press Force (TPF), have helped me grow so much as a writer and photographer alike. Always move forward and never back and remember that life is about learning and growing.

Barb Wire Dolls at Phoenix Warped Tour 2017

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