10 Ways To Win On Warped Tour When No One Knows You’re Competing
Today was my first day embarking on Warped Tour and I felt the energy. (I'm completing this 2000 miles later in NJ) It was Minnesota nice and dirty and sweaty. Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio was in a Enchanted forest that reminded us of Harry Potter where everyone wore MGK shirts. There were many more piercings and tattoos than I have ever seen in Indiana.
Warped Tour is a beast that has it's own code of ethics. There are nearly 100 bands plus locals and over 50 tour buses. People seem to support each other on another level of love and bands can also break up. I heard of people getting fired, hired and even some who retired (ok not retired but that rhymed…).
Here are the 10 top things to execute as a band/artist to make more income at the Warped Tour. It's one of my main focuses (and it should be your's too) on this tour. Passing out flyers, performances, shaking hands, flying chest bumps, etc.
This is something you should live by should you ever be on this tour or any outdoor festival. It can apply to many indoor shows as well.
1. Headphones (most important)
Shout out the band Champagne Champagne from Seattle. They gave me a pair of headphones today to go along with my homemade cds. I realize (and so do they) that 14,000 people attend Warped Tour but only 2% will get to see the new bands/artists perform.
I literally made over $75- $100 via the good headphone experience. I suggest you buy a pair of Marley headphones that seem to be the user friendly sound that tunes out all other noise. They are classy and make the user feel better than putting in those iPhone earplugs. I bought my own album on my iPhone and played it for people. They liked it and bought my music right there on the spot.
2. Water and other necessities
This is a peace offering that helps out people, yourself, keeps health up and keeps you alive. You think it's simple or corny? No. It's not. People really need to be hydrated. People like gum too. They like spray deodorant. A lot of people in New Mexico Warped Tour couldn't buy cds because they spent 40 dollars on bottled water. Just think in business as you take out someone for a meal or coffee to talk business, in Warped Tour you carry a water gun to shoot shirts up and drop a splash into a potential customer's mouth. Mod Sun doesn't give out water but he had these fans that kept his fans cool.
3. More than one performance
Not only did I perform my set at 1:05 today, but I also got to freestyle on the mic multiple times through out the day with One Be Lo and Ross Perelli on the Bring It Back Stage @ Warped Tour. People like Moy from Tomorrow's Bad Seeds will also break dance at our stage while running to the Marley stage to perform his own set. Mod Sun ran from an acoustic performance to also playing in front of near a thousand people.
4. Branding your identity
I spoke to G-Eazy today about identity. He spoke about me being a Jewish rapper and how he was really into his identity of the old school 50's look. The fact that you are wearing a cool shirt (for instance) is part of what will attract your core audience. People gravitate to you being what you are. It's definitely way easier when you brand yourself.
5. Supporting the other bands (karma)
When you are on a tour your goal should be to smash it to the best of your ability everyday. Don't be afraid to help other bands make money by getting them some sales. Whether this means screaming that they are the best during their set in front of 100 people, tweeting them out about their dope set, and also just really checking their set. The Chicharones are a group I have seen come from a Dj x rapper performance to a full band on a tour bus. Whether that means anything to you is irrelevant. They are still grateful for 20-200 people.
6. Make a great sign
It's true that making a big sign works! If you saw a girl in a bikini with the "car wash" you'd be more inclined to stop right? If your sign says something about your band, maybe like you're the greatest person to ever wake up today…or that your band is great because you all brush your teeth in the morning every day on tour, the demographic of the Warped Tour likes that. I see a lot of the hardcore bands doing it. If I make a sign, it'll be a big sign. Like, "My sign is really BIG – Kosha Dillz." Oh Yeah…Mod Sun doesn't have fans, he only has FRIENDS.
7. Have some F$%King Balls
Run up on kids. Pass out flyers. Force them to take pictures with you. Peer pressure them to buying your music instead of drugs. Tell them the $$ is to put diapers on your unborn child. I heard this from Verble of Grimm Image records. He really needs to put diapers on his new baby.
8. Offer a useless item that kids think is cool
This can include anything from autographs to a piece of leopard duck tape that I bought at Walgreens. In Minneapolis, I kept offering a piece of leopard tape to ward off the evil dehydration spirIts of Warped Tour. For some reason this got kids really excited! They got the CD and the magical leopard tape to ward off the evil dehydration Warped Tour spirIts for only $5.
9. Really bad deals attract curiosity
Echo Movement is a band that had a sign up for $200 hugs. So many people do free hugs. Why not charge $200 dollars. No one will really do that…but at least it gets them to come to your booth. You can handle the honesty from the air.
I have seen some cool things happen throughout the tour. Rapper Mod Sun invites up the homeboy T Mills to collaborate on the Marley stage. T Mills invites the Echo Movement kids to play live during his set. Echo Movement wears an "Everything is Kosha" shirt. Wick It the Instigator gets the Chicharones and me to rap on a track of his during the silent disco. The Bring it Back Stage has J Ross Parelli and One Be Lo sharing sets to attract more fans to each other and keep it fresh for the new hip hop listeners of the day.
10a. BE AWARE of your surroundings:
In Cleveland you should talk about how no one likes Lebron James anymore. In Pittsburgh you can talk about Mac Miller. In NJ you can talk about the Jersey Shore.. In Indiana you can talk about how it's been awhile since the Colts won. Maybe in Florida you can talk about the amount of rehabs that are located there. Stir up conversation in regards to the places and ask where they're from. I kept doing this in Ohio, and everyone seems to be from the middle of nowhere. AKA they want to buy your fucking cd because they live in the middle of no where.
Every day of the tour, something changes. I truly believe that most of the relationships and success we have is during down time. The tour is a world of it's own, operating like a "bio dome" for 2 months. Organic food, work outs, masseuses, and performances for the bands by the bands all happen daily. Be cool and don't let exhaustion get the best of you. Always offer an extra hand and smile, because it gets lonely out there sometimes and a genuine smile in this game goes a real long way.
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