In 2012, the Vans Warped Tour expanded their musical offerings, establishing an all-acoustic tent called the Acoustic Basement. Former Therefore I Am guitarist, Brian Marquis, was charged with heading it up. This is his Warped roadie story.
Armed to the teeth with months of preparedness, or so I thought, I was about to embark on one hell of a baptism-by-fire summer. The Warped Tour gave me the task of producing a brand new, all-acoustic stage. We'd named it the Acoustic Basement for its stripped down, up-close-and-personal setup. Not only was I producing the stage, booking artists and coordinating the logistics, I was also the stage manager and a performer. I began to worry that I might have bitten off more than I could chew, but I was up for the challenge.
The week leading up to the start of Warped I barely slept. Putting together an all acoustic stage at a raucous outdoor festival made my head spin: What if people don’t come to my stage? What if I’ve lost touch and don’t know what the kids want anymore? What if nobody can hear the acoustic artists in the sea of noise? What if I booked the wrong acts? What if people don’t dig my solo music after years of being in bands? What if the whole thing sucks!?
I arrived on rehearsal day to see the big white Acoustic Basement branded tent go up for the first time, met my two-man crew (Ryan & Jake) and I started seeing old friends and familiar faces. Before we knew it the gates were open and kids were spilling onto the fairgrounds amped for the first date of Warped. After the first couple acts played and the day-one kinks were worked out, I finally had a minute to stop and take in what was going on. My stage had been packed with people all day. People were coming to watch and hang in the shade of the tent. It was working!