The Vans Warped Tour 2017 Interviews
Behind The Scenes with Danielle Mardahl – Vans Warped Tour Press Manager
There are a vast amount of hard working people behind the scenes at the Vans Warped Tour, bringing it all together as a team to make sure each and every show is an event to remember. Meet Danielle Mardahl, the Vans Warped Tour Press Manager who works on the side lines at each and every stop, coordinating interviews, photo passes, and other goodies for the media. Many a music writer or live show photographer aspire to cover the Vans Warped Tour, while others have been veterans reporters of the iconic music festival for years. Covering the Vans Warped Tour is always a memorable experience, and Danielle coordinates both bands and press representatives with a tremendous amount of efficiency. Highwire Daze Online caught up with Ms. Mardahl at the Qualcomm Stadium date in San Diego, California – the second to last day of the 2017 tour. In this interview, we discuss with Danielle Mardahl her time spent as the Press Manager on the Vans Warped Tour, working with the legendary Kevin Lyman, advise for writers and photographers wanting to be part of the Warped press/photography experience, adverse weather conditions all across the country, and a whole lot more! Read on…
We’re here with Danielle Mardahl, the Press Manager for The Warped Tour. How did you wind up becoming the Press Manager for The Warped Tour?
So a handful of years ago I actually interned for 4fini, which is Warped Tour’s production company. I was on Twitter just messing around and they had tweeted out something about their LA office looking for interns and 5 years later here I am.
What has it been like working with Kevin Lyman? People see him as a legend.
People see him as a legend and I’m definitely one of those people. Kevin Lyman’s name to anyone who attends Warped Tour is like, oh my god! That’s so and so! It’s insane! I just can’t even sum it up. He is an incredible mentor, he’s a great teacher and he’s an all around real person. So to be able to work under him has been great.
What’s more challenging? Corralling bands or press people?
Ooo. God. I think half and half on that one, but for the most part probably the bands. Press people at least know I’m going to give them orders. The bands on the other hands don’t like to take orders from anyone but themselves, [laughs].
What advice would you give a new magazine or website or photographer wanting to cover Warped Tour?
We have an application process every year, where we definitely encourage everybody to fill out. But something that’s been new with recent years is our TEI Classes. TEI offers a lot of photography classes. We have classes with Lisa Johnson, and in the past we’ve had things with Ashley Osborne where you learn touring photography. That really looks great when you are a new photographer or interviewer and you say hey, I’ve taken the TEI classes. I’m really trying to get my foot in the door, what can I do? We feel like Warped Tour has always been a great starting place for a lot of people and to really help them get their footing. They get to observe other interviewers and how they do it, I guess just keep going for it. If you’re starting out right now, trying to get out on Warped Tour doing press, it’s fun. I encourage everyone to just – when someone asks what did you do to get there, I want the answer to be “everything.” They did everything to get there.
Some press people seem to have a sense of entitlement about their positions. How do you deal with entitlement?
I shut them down right away! No, [laughs]. You do see the entitlement here and there, and it’s unfortunate to come across that because you know, we don’t want anyone to be entitled. Everybody’s on the same playing field here. But I think it’s funny when someone who’s entitled comes in and says I’m gonna interview so and so and I’m like, yes, but you’re fourth on the list behind the three other people so you all get to interview so and so, calm down. [laughs]
Let’s turn that around, what do you think the ratio of rock stars versus down to earth bands have been on Warped Tour this year? No names!
No names! Actually this year we have a lot of older bands that are out, and surprisingly they’re not divas. Everyone has really mellowed out and I think at the beginning maybe some were divas and then very quickly they realize they’re on Vans Warped Tour and there is no room for rock stars here. So, I’m happy to say there’s not a lot of divas, not a lot of big head bands out here – which is really nice to see because it makes everyone really fun to be around.
What has been the most adverse weather conditions on this tour and where was it?
Oh man, I think it’s gotta be Phoenix. Vegas was hot, Phoenix was hot, but it was close to 115 I think. It was terrible. Absolutely terrible.
How do you deal with that all summer?
Ah, I feel like it just becomes second nature. You just adapt so quickly, drink water and stay in the shade as much as possible. Don’t think about it.
Is there a highlight when you hit any particular part of the country?
Yes. Some of my favorite venues are on opposite sides of the country. New York Jones Beach and Mountain View Shoreline Amphitheater are my two favorite stops. They happen to be on opposite sides of the country. So it’s not even one area, those are my two favorites. But it’s also always fun to hit the east coast – I’m from the west coast so it’s fun going down a different side of the country.
At the end of the day, what music do you listen to to unwind after all this?
Anything that we wouldn’t play here on Warped Tour. I was actually having this conversation with someone the other day. It’s funny because year around I never listen to rap. Very rarely. But I find myself listening to it on the daily out here just because it’s nice to hear something else. Not that I don’t like the bands out here, I love this music but you can only take so much. You need a change.
What goes through your mind now that we’re at the last two days of Warped Tour?
I can’t believe we’re here. I feel like I was counting down to this day and now that it’s here I don’t know where the summer went. [laughs] It’s sad, but it’s also exciting because it means we did another great year and we made it through, barely. We survived. I’m ready for next year. It’s always fun to take what we learned from the year before and apply it to the next one.
What’s up next for you?
Good question. I’m going to take some time off, wind down from this summer before jumping into any other work. I do some freelance PR here and there, so it’ll be nice to mellow out for a bit and then jump back into it.
(Interview and Photo by Ken Morton)
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