Friday, July 31, 2009

Bus 17's Best Bunk Competition!

WONKA has been lucky enough to be riding on the road with a group of incredible individuals who were willing to participate in the ultimate competition when you're on the road...the BEST BUNK competition.

When you're riding on a bus with 17 people, you have extremely limited space and keeping your bunk clean and trendy is a little difficult. There are a few individuals on the bus that have stepped above all the rest (in terms of decoration) to participate in best bunk and we'd love for you to judge...rules are simple: nothing can be purchased, all had to be found on the grounds of Warped. So let's bring on the contestants!

It's a little unfair for me to participate in this competition, because, well, c'mon. WONKA candy...Mercy Mercedes t-shirt and Truth t-shirt = automatic win. Right?

So here's who we're judging...contestant 1....:

This bunk comes equipped with a built in espresso maker and an "Evil Cupcake Biker Club"(which is an exclusive Warped Tour club) backpack full of goodies.

Contestant 2:

This contestant has collected a number of goodies along the way. Shells from the beach in St.Petersburg, cheese from WI, stickers from bands, batman light (from their birthday cupcakes), whoopie cushions (thanks to Truth).

Contestant 3:

This contestant claims that their bunk is the most "down home". Comfortable, cozy, relaxed. They say it's the way you'd "expect a bedroom to be."

Contestant 4:

Curtains closed...Scary Kids Scary Kids' cut outs open the scene...and behind it you find a bunk that a rockstar is sure to love. Full of candy, stickers, and cut outs. Definitely a plush pad.

Contestant 5:

This comfortable space is ready for late night drives! They've brought out all of their fav snacks to cuddle up with and get to work on their laptop.

Contestant 6:

It's hard to stay organized on the road, but at least this competitor can stay stylish. They're showcasing their golden sandals and fanny pack!

Contestant 7:

This, to me, is the perfect showcase of life on the road. It includes the essentials: good walking shoes, water bottle, great music and a half eaten dinner (if you get time to eat even that much you're lucky!).

So there they are...our competitors. Look forward to your votes. We'll announce the winner soon!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Music Saves Lives

A great thing about Warped Tour is their extensive non-profit outreach done through Kevin Lyman's Unite the United which brings non-profits into the tour at no cost to share mission with the thousands of attendees each day. We've been fortunate enough to be on the same bus as one of the non-profits: Music Saves Lives.

MSL is a non-profit organization that sets up on site each day throughout the entire tour. They provide the first 150 blood donors with VIP access to the show. These lucky 150 have to donate at a Red Cross blood drive in advance of the show and then when gates open they rush to the tent with a voucher that is provided to them at the blood drive. When they show up the voucher, they get the band that allows them backstage access all day, free water all day, and they can cut lines to all of the band signings at the tent.

A small price to pay to see the show in an incredible way!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Conversations on the road...

As I mentioned in a previous entry, there are so many people that help pull Warped Tour together each year. Each of them bringing their unique talents together to pull off an extraordinary show every day.

When you think about a festival event, your first thought is probably the musicians. The musicians on this tour are exceptionally talented, but they wouldn't be able to bring their music to the fans if it weren't for all the other players.

Here's just a ROUGH idea of who helps pull together a two month long, daily festival tour:

Kevin Lyman - he's the creator of Warped Tour. Came up with the idea for the festival 15 years ago. The tour originated with only 13 there are over 60!

Production - Kevin's assistants and front-of-house production. There are about 10 on that side of things. They make sure bands are taken care of, that they have water, that shows are running on time with the daily schedules they create, etc. I've mentioned them before. Exceptional staff.

Sponsorships - there are two people that ensure sponsors are set up on site, happy and getting the traction they want/expect.

Security - these are COOL guys. I had the pleasure of riding around on the security cart with DJ (head of security) last night to help make sure everyone got out okay. For a guy running security, he's not what you'd expect. Easy going, calm, collected and so jovial! I guess it's because he's seen it all. But he says, "the fans are great, we try to take care of them and they take care of us." He supervises a HUGE venue provided staff each day. Trains them each morning and monitors them throughout the day.

Catering - it's true...I LOVE this staff. So cool. TWO full-time coffee folks, a head caterer, an executive chef, a vegan chef, and 12 cooks. There is also front-of-house catering (Robin) who works with 4 full-time servers to pull in volunteers (CONCERT GOERS) to help serve meals each day. In exchange for their volunteer work they get to go stand back stage at a show of their choice. They pull in about 20 for lunch and another 20 for dinner.

My absolute favorite part about the catering staff is the volunteer band that tags along the entire tour. They find a band each year to help run the band BBQ (which takes place each night after the show). The band can play during the day and sell their merch, but are not paid by Warped (meaning they travel around, pay in all weather conditions for FREE to get their music out there). They make all of their money through tips given to them from other bands/production/BBQ attendees. Really really cool. That dedication, it's so inspiring.

There are stage managers, tour managers, sound folks, merch folks, nonprofits, etc. There are more than 600 people that help build the Warped show each day (in under 3 hours) and tear it down in less than an hour and a half. It's the bands and the people behind the scenes, that make this show so great. And we're so lucky to have the fortune of spending a lot of time speaking with.

Stay tuned for some of their video interviews... :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Giving the gift of candy...

I have to admit, the best part about being on tour isn't what you'd expect. It's not hanging out with the bands (while that is exceptionally cool), or listening to the music (which again is AWESOME). For me, it's honestly all about tracking down future Gold Card holders.

It's an incredibly amazing thing to have the power to seek out people who love WONKA and that I can share my love of the brand with. People are always a little confused by the WONKA Gold Card and I think that's what's so incredible about it. Six months of WONKA candy? Just for being awesome? Yes, that's right. That, to me, is worth GOLD.

Take Ross from Chesapeake, VA. I rove the grounds of Warped Tour with a WONKA satchel and he stopped me to comment that he liked the bag. It, of course, piqued my interested and I asked him to share his favorite kinds with me. He was so excited to talk about candy! He told me about 8 WONKA candies that he loves! Like WHOA.

And that's what it's all about..being able to take front see three times a day and watch that uncertainty at first...then confusion...then shock...then acceptance and excitement. It's absolutely golden.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Behind the scenes at Warped...

Yesterday I had the pleasure of trolling around with my bus mate Steve who is in his third year of being on tour with Warped and runs a lot of their IT. He's definitely one of the folks that is good to know on the tour if you're after the inside scoop, which of course we are.

We started the tour backstage in production and he introduced me to the head tour manager (Lisa) and her support staff (Julie and Courtney). They are front of house production. They plan the daily band set times, they coordinate vendors, nonprofits and map the set ups. They are the face of Warped and being in that position requires a lot of patience, organization and creativity (w00t!). They've been doing it for awhile, so surprisingly enough they're very calm people throughout the entire day (which starts for them at 7 am and ends at 10 pm). LOVE them.

We then headed on past the Warped Press room which is where I've spent a lot of time. That's where all the bands are interviewed by local press, tour managers set up times that they're available, and they bring them in to answer questions. Bethany runs the press show and because she's been around for awhile she knows all of the bands, tour managers and publications. She's the IT (not in the information technology sense, but in the awesome sense) girl fo sho!

Backstage you'll also find an masseuse on staff (that charges $1 a minute) which I'll be heading to later, a 20 person catering staff (which include a full-time vegan chef), and sponsorship folks.

We walked the grounds (which are segmented into sections and planned) through "non-profit world" and "sponsor world." Stopped for a second to play Rockband and I got 58% on karaoke..major fail! But I successfully got an airbrush tattoo!

Then moved on to "merch world," main stage, Hurley stage, Smartpunk and, Kia Kevin Says, and Skull Candy stage which all have their personalities and known faces. It's a family and I've been lucky enough to be welcomed into it!

Stay tuned for more behind the scenes from the Warped family....!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 1 of VWT!

Whoa! Total whirlwind of a day. Today kicked off our first two weeks on Warped Tour in Mansfield, MA, to a sold out show, and all I can say is...AWESOME. The day was definitely packed full with great bands, great music and amazing fans. We gave away Gold Cards to three great WONKA lovers!

Tom from Peabody LOVES Nerds!

Chelsea from Billrica, MA hung out with me on the Bamboozle Roadshow in Worcester! Great to see her again and hook her up with a Gold Card!

Ryan from Merrimack, NH and his friends were stoked to be hooked up with 6 months access to WONKA candy.

After handing out some Gold Cards I had the pleasure of hanging out in the press room with The Maine, White Tie Affair, Sessions, Ionia, InnerPartySystem, A Skylit Drive and of course Mercy Mercedes (we'll be posting some video interviews up on our facebook and MySpace pages, so be sure to check them out!)

Things I love about Warped Tour:

* Catering -- great food. A lot of the bands on tour are vegan/vegetarian (like I am) and they make lots of great stuff to satisfy all dietary needs. I had tofu lasagna and the most incredible salad! w00t! I polished off the day with Kazoozles :)

* Lots of bands! Tons of opportunities to meet great people. I will say that because there are so many, the family vibe we had on Bamboozle Roadshow might not happen right away, but I'm looking forward to getting to know the bands that you want the behind-the-scenes on(so let me know!).

* Fans so stoked about the music! Fans told me they waited ALL YEAR for VWT and so they were willing to stand in ABSOLUTE DOWNPOUR (and I mean DOWNPOUR) to listen to their fav bands.

* Production/behind-the-scenes folks -- they've been doing this tour for awhile, they know the ins and outs, the secrets, the myths, the truths, the every inner-workings. I look forward to sharing their infinite knowledge with you!

* Being on a bus! Last tour we started on a bus, then a van and some time in a car to get the FULL tour experience. But climbing into a bunk and sleeping while the driving is being done for you...that's the way to tour!

Stay tuned....long drive tonight 11 hours on the bus and then I'll wake up in Virgina Beach, VA!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On the road again!

....w00t! We're heading back out on the road next week for.....are you ready? It's going to be the ultimate way to help feed the imagination...lots of music, lots of great bands, lots of cities, lots of experiences. Okay, okay. I'll get to the point. We're going out on...

VANS WARPED TOUR 2009! As Brandon Ham (or B-Real) from Mercy Mercedes OR Jonathan from FTSK might say, that's "ballllllllinnnnnnnn'!"

We'll be kickin' off the tour next Tuesday, July 21 and hanging out until August 4. Be sure to stop by and say "hey" if we're coming to your town.

It just may be your chance at an exclusive Gold Card membership! That's right, we'll be giving away 3 per stop!

7/21 -- Boston, MA -- Comcast Center
7/22 -- Virginia Beach, VA -- Verizon Wireless Amphitheatere
7/23 -- Charlotte, NC -- Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
7/25 -- West Palm Beach, FL -- Cruzan Amphitheater
7/26 -- St. Petersburg, FL -- Vinoy Park
7/28 -- Atlanta, GA -- Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood
7/29 -- Cincinnati, OH -- Riverbend Music Center
7/30 -- Milwaukee, WI -- Marcus Amphitheater
7/31 -- Detroit, MI -- Comerica Park
8/1 -- Tingley Park (Chicago), IL -- First Midwest Bank Amphitheater
8/3 -- St. Louis (Maryland Heights), MO -- Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
8/4 -- Bonner Springs (Kansas City), KS -- Capitol Federal Park at Sandstone

Want questions answered from your favorite bands that will be hanging out with us on VWT? Let us know, we'll be happy to ask! Stay tuned for those updates and more...


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

trueAnthem contest ends..and the winner is...SHAOLIN TEMPLE OF BOOM!

w00t! WONKA's Battle of the Bands hosted by trueAnthem just wrapped up it's two month run! It's been an incredible competition full of great music and great bands....but only one can be named #1 and that's thanks to you!

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...the legend...the winner of $15,000 and a lot more fans (introduced by the competition's music sharing nature, of course)


Not long ago we had the opportunity to speak with David from SToB, and we're happy to say that we had the chance to speak with him after his win.

Over the two month contest what do you think helped give you that edge above the rest? We know you have a great street team did they do it all?
First and foremost I would like to thank trueAnthem and WONKA for this opportunity. Also I’d like to congratulate all the bands involved in WONKA’s Battle of the Bands - being picked to participate was a win in itself.

I don't think anything in particular gave me an “edge”. In fact, SToB does not currently have management or a label to help spread music like some of the other battling bands.

SToB didn't have a particular advantage other than having the best fans in the world. That’s what makes the difference. They really believe in me and this music and are willing to go the extra mile to help promote it. It wasn't just the street team, regular fans sent and spread SToB in their school and workplace. Also, fans helped share a lot of the music by sharing the player through MySpace bulletins or their personal pages – “Shaolin Temple of BooM's FREE MUSIC through trueAnthem/WONKA.”

Have you ever competed in a competition like this before (specifically as it relates to your music)?
Nothing this scale. When I first started on MySpace in 2005, I was chosen by a panel of A&R and game developer judges for Vivendi/Universal to participate in a contest for music inclusion in the Scarface video game. I made the top 20 out of 40,000 artists/bands!

SToB also went head-to-head with EkoTren (signed by a large label at the time) for artist of the month on a music site last year. They tried for a full month to drive people to vote for them. At the time I was recording, so I couldn't get into promotions as I would've liked until the last week of the voting and we still pulled the win!

What does winning this competition mean to you and what has it done for you?
Winning this competition means a lot to me because of how hard my supporters worked to help SToB win!

I enjoyed participating with trueAnthem because I believe it is a company with vision and innovative ideas about the future of music and its distribution. The widget they created is the most powerful tool on the market right now for sponsors (like WONKA) and advertisers. I can't think of any other widget that allows for video advertisements to be placed anywhere online and be as effective as a television commercial. And using music as its engine, it’s really brilliant and certainly helped increase my fan base and brand awareness in ways not possible before.

What are you taking away from this competition that you didn't expect?
As an artist that is unsigned, I heard how P2P file sharing is actually a positive that it helps get your music out there. However, I think this idea and statement is incomplete.

There is a bond created when an artist gives his/her music directly to the fan for free that can't be created by random P2P file sharing torrents. What I have learned is that giving your music away, in the right way, can be more valuable than actually selling it.

I have also learned how strongly people feel about my music. I was really moved by how much people actually worked for FREE to support me throughout the contest. As an artist it really moved me and motivates me even more to take things to the next level.

What are next steps for you?
World domination. But first some new music, videos, artwork merch, shows and hopefully a new dog! Prefer a husky but we'll see!

Thank you, David, and thank you to all of the wonderful bands and fans that helped make the trueAnthem competition such a success!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

EVERY Hour, EVERY Day Summer Sweepstakes!

If you weren’t already getting jazzed about summer, wait until you hear this – WONKA wants to bring you the ULTIMATE online sweepstakes. That’s right - ULTIMATE. The Every Hour, Every Day Summer Sweepstakes!

Oh I’m so excited! Okay, okay, let me explain. WONKA is giving away prizes EVERY hour, EVERY day throughout the month of August, and I’m talking awesome prizes (plasma TVs, Xboxes, Yamaha guitars, candy, LOTS of good stuff). Here’s how you can get started right now for a chance to win amazing prizes:
Register and login to participate. You can register at

Now here’s the important part – getting codes. How do you do that? You look for codes inside any packages of WONKA’s single size candy.
If there isn’t a code inside (like Kazoozles packages, for example), use the UPC number on the outside of the package. See samples below.

So now that you’re snacking on your scrumptious Nerds Rope, what can you do? Start banking right away, then in August start spending codes for a chance to win those cool prizes!
Every code you collect during June, July and August can be used as an entry starting on August 1. So what does that mean? Not only do you get a chance at winning great prizes, but you get to eat candy to get there! DOUBLE w00t!


The more codes you bank, the more chances you’ll have to win! The prize giveaways don’t start until August – but NOW is the time to start banking codes so you’ll have more to use in August on your favorite prizes!!

Once you’ve registered an account at, you can bank up to 10 per day and WONKA will keep track of your balance for you. Each time you login, you’ll know how many codes you have banked—which is how many entries you’ll be able to use for the prizes you want most. You can bank codes through August 31st, while the sweepstakes are going on!

There is a different prize every hour, every day throughout August, and each hourly prize is up for grabs during that hour only. You can spend as many codes as you have banked in your account to increase your chances of winning.

Think of it this way: The more codes you spend for that hour’s prize, the better your chances are to win!

OH MAN, I have to go tell all my friends to get some WONKA candy and start banking!!! Now you know why I’m so excited!! LOVE SUMMER!
Be sure to check back frequently for details leading up into August’s spending season!