MusiCares At The Vans Warped Tour
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By Michael Farr
Tinley Park, Ill.
Imagine a dusty mosh pit full of happy concertgoers going crazy, dancing and spinning into a frenzied vortex. Picture fans covered in mud as rain is flying sideways. Then picture the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets that traveled through the dark of the night, signifying that for festival attendees in the Windy City, it was time to do it all over again.
And in the midst of all that fun and excitement there I was. As a MusiCares staff member serving as a liason for the Health and Human Services staff during the Vans Warped Tour stop on July 31 in Tinley Park, Ill., I had the unique opportunity to talk about a few very important MusiCares initiatives the organization provided to musicians and crew on this summer's tour, including Safe Harbor Rooms, emergency financial assistance and addiction recovery resources.
My involvement with this year's tour was nothing like I expected. Of course, I half expected there to be a never-ending quest to find a shower or a clean Porta Potty, but who was I kidding? This was punk rock. From the many interesting fans to the beautiful Warped Tour staff, I was honored to have been part of what organizers say is the longest-running touring festival in the United States.
I was in the presence of so many established and up-and-coming bands, including Alkaline Trio, Pennywise, Reel Big Fish, Sum 41, and We The Kings, among many others. There were way too many memorable performances and people on this tour to credit everyone by name, but this little traveling city of music and madness touched my soul in such a good way.
What started as a group of strangers ended as my new family. It was a dream come true to represent MusiCares and continue a life of helping others. I laughed myself silly at some of the things that happened and moments I witnessed — those types of moments that can only happen in the music world.
I witnessed a young girl who suffers from Down syndrome take the stage to sing along with the guys from Pennywise and members of Alkaline Trio, and as her proud father burst into tears I saw firsthand the power of music at work. I met people that have truly transformed their lives and are dedicated to helping others. The good vibes of music are the reason why the art has been my life and continues to be a part of my life today.
To those musicians and bands who took the stage at Tinley Park and to the MusiCares staff, thank you for this opportunity.
The 2010 Vans Warped Tour has ended. For more information on the 2011 tour, visit the Vans Warped Tour online.
(View an interview with Michael Farr on the Vans Warped Tour.)
(Michael Farr represented MusiCares on the Vans Warped Tour this summer. In his role, he served as a liaison with MusiCares’ Health and Human Services staff to help provide emergency financial assistance and addiction recovery resources to artists and crew in need of MusiCares' services.)
(Photo Information: Bands and staff at the Vans Warped Tour stop in Tinley Park, Ill., on July 31 | Photo: The Recording Academy)