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Welcome To The Dark Side....

Let me give you a brief example of how my day at 2017 Vans Warped Tour [SAN DIEGO 8.5.17] went… There were a ton of hair flipping, head-banging, air punching, crowd surfing, music playing all while boiling in the sun! lol

First up was Lisa Johnson’s Life In The Pit: The Rock Photographer Experience TEI Workshop. Instantly, I went from checking in to now heading towards heavens of all heaven…the pit (dun dun dun). First up of the day was a Rock/Experimental band from Cranberry, Australia called Hands Like Houses. Members consist of Trenton Woodley (Vocals), Matt Parkitney (Drums), Alex Pearson (Guitar/Vocals), Joel Tyrrell (Bass/Vocals) and Matt Cooper (Guitar). The band is currently signed with Hopeless Records/UNFD. Although, it may have been what felt like the fastest 15 minutes shooting photographs of the first three songs, the group was now heading back to the tent to get advice, help, and tips from Johnson. Sadly, the workshop came to an end and everyone vamoosed into the crowd.

Meanwhile, I walked around looking at all the different vendor, sponsors, and musicians tents. It’s quite fascinating learning about all the different programs and how much of a huge impact it has on peoples' lives, myself included!! For example To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide,” Can You Hear Me? also known as “CYHM” is a movement giving teens an online/social media platform so that they can speak and be heard without judgement. Another amazing organization that I always participate in at Vans Warped Tour is The Canvas Foundation which provides opportunities for self-expression and creativity in education. I could keep going on and on about all the amazing organizations/movements, but I’ll get back to the next band I photographed.

Having decided, I made my way back to the Journeys Right Foot Stage to see Dance Gavin Dance. They are a Punk, Psychedelic, Screamo band from Sacramento, CA. Currently, they are signed with Rise Records. Members consists of Tilian Pearson (Vocals), Jon Mess (Vocals), Will Swan (Guitar/Vocals), Tim Feerick (Bass) and Matt Mingus (Drums). The band was quite entertaining and put on a great performance.

You know that moment when you’re in between sets of the bands you want to see so you kinda stumble around until you find a nice shaded area… Yeah that was me for a good two hours! lol

I made my way back to Full Sail Stage which I stayed at for quite a while seeing some of the smaller, but big up-n-coming bands that are definitely going to go far!

Starting the afternoon off with a Pop-Punk, Hardcore, and Emo band called Boston Manor. They are from Blackpool, Northwest and currently signed with Pure Noise Records. Members consist of Dan Cunniff (Guitar), Ash Wilson (Guitar), Henry Cox (Vocals), Jordan Pugh (Drums) and Mike Cunniff (Guitar). I thought being on the side of the outer pit was crazy with crowd surfers, but I soon discovered that its way crazier when you’re in the actual pit. There was a brief moment when I was taking a photo of Cox when I was smushed into the stage from the security pulling out crowd surfers. Of course I was a little shocked at first, but then I got this weird feeling and it just made me fall more in love having the opportunity to take pictures from within the pit!

Luckily I didn’t have to move far to see one of my favorite bands because they were up next.

Furthermore, ten minutes go by and Movements walk out onstage. They are a Post-Hardcore/ Emo band from Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. They are currently signed with Fearless records. Members consist of Patrick Miranda (Vocals), Ira George (Guitar), Spencer York (Drums) and Austin Cressey (Bass). Recently, they announced that they’ll be opening up on tour for Knuckle Puck from Oct 11th - Nov 19th. There are many reasons as to why I love taking photos of this band, but I’ll keep it short and simple. For starters, they have an astonishing stage presence - eye-opening, realistic songs, and are probably the nicest band you’ll ever meet!

Next up on Full Sail Stage was a Hardcore band from Oldham County, Kentucky called Knocked Loose. The band is currently signed with Pure Noise Records. Members consist of Bryan Garris (Vocals), Isaac Hale (Guitar), Cole Crutchfield (Guitar), Kevin Otten (Bass) and Kevin Kaine “PacSun” (Drums). Surprisingly, I was shocked at how passionate their fan base was! Everyone was singing at the top of their lungs, crowd surfing left and right, all while sweating bullets in the scorching sun.

One might consider this to be the longest hour wait until the next band to come on the Journey Right Foot Stage…is 100% correct. While sizzling in the sun I started to become very Hangry (if only I had a Snicker bars lol), but I kept reminding myself that I only had two artists left that I was dying to see. Strangely enough, the time ended up flying by and Neck Deep took the stage. They are a Pop-Punk band from Wrexham, UK. Currently signed with Hopeless Records. Members consist of Ben Barlow (Vocals), Matt West (Guitar), Sam Bowden (Guitar), Fil Thorpe-Evans (Bass) and Dani Washington (Drums). Only three songs in when Barlow tells everyone to get in a massive mosh pit circle.

After much thought, I decided Andy Black (Biersack) would be my last set of the night. Biersack is currently signed with Republic Records. Since I got to the pit ten minutes early I decided to quickly go through my camera deleting photos since I forgot my backup card and couldn’t miss this opportunity of a life time to take photos of Biersack from the pit. Luckily, right as he walked out on stage I finished deleting photos giving me 40 shots left to take. The best way to explain what it was like for me shooting him that close was like Olaf and his love for summer! lol

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