Sound engineers run about with sound equipment as roadies carry instruments on and off the stage. Band members, local and big-time alike, mingle with fans with all-access and VIP passes while waiting for their time to go on stage. Warped Tour itself is quite the experience, but there’s nothing quite like being backstage at the event. Many UAA students on June 11 got to find this out for themselves, getting the chance to go backstage at Anchorage’s Road to Vans Warped Tour event.
There was a multitude of reasons that UAA students were in the midst of the backstage-organized chaos.
UAA student Jordan Duplessis, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in legal studies said, “My friend was in the security team, and so he let me go backstage as long as we were respectful and not annoying. … Money really could not buy my experience for Warped Tour.”
Duplessis wasn’t the only UAA student backstage who also had a priceless experience.
“I was able to go backstage with my friend, Josh, who sings in the band, The Harlequin State. He’s really talented and a unique guy. Being backstage and meeting all the bands was utterly amazing! We were even able to come onstage with Yellowcard. Staring out into the crowd was indescribable,” said business marketing major Heather Holmquist. “Warped Tour was a blast. … My favorite experience was definitely seeing Josh and The Harlequin State kill it up there. Equally as exciting was seeing All Time Low, which I’ve been crazy about since probably the 8th grade.”
Holmquist got to spend time with Yellowcard, 3OH!3 and Less Than Jake as well while backstage.
While many people backstage were enjoying the experience purely as entertainment, there were other UAA students that were there to work. “I volunteered to help haul gear offstage,” said journalism major Ammon Swenson. Swenson said his favorite experience while backstage was “watching Less Than Jake get ready,” because he’s been listening to them since he was a little kid.
Dental hygiene student Rachael Peltier was there expanding her photography portfolio and taking pictures of the bands perform. “Being backstage was pretty cool. Being able to watch the bands from the photo pit was the best part, though. Watching these bands I’ve only ever seen in music videos and being able to take photos of them was an honor, really.”
Peltier, like Holmquist, also had friends in the local bands that she got to see perform.
“My favorite experience from backstage was watching my best friends go on stage nervous and walk offstage with huge smiles,” Peltier said. “I’ve watched some of those bands like The Harlequin State, Noise Brigade and Griffith grow exponentially in the past two years.”
UAA’s backstage presence at Road to Vans Warped Tour made the event just as much about the main bands from out of town as it was about the locals and UAA students. It was the experience of a lifetime for many.