As many of you know, it’s that time of year again when young, up-and-coming bands campaign online for fan votes to open the Vans Warped Tour in their home city.

Let’s call this what it actually is:  Free publicity for Warped Tour.

Seeing as how Facebook and other social media is still unfamiliar waters for big-name marketers, they know that getting tons of bands to blast their followers with “VOTE FOR US TO OPEN WARPED TOUR!!!!!!!” messages will promote the Warped line-up and tour dates in front of countless online scenesters.  It’s quite the ingenious exploitation, and many bands are dumb enough to fall for it.

My band is among only a few in our area (as far as I know) who are not competing for the Warped Tour slot.  There are a couple reasons why I believe so strongly in my stance against the competition:

 

  1. I don’t believe in competition amongst bands.

    I know music has always been an extremely competitive industry, but the animosity of competition is not really as necessary in the industry as it’s made out to be.

    Music is supposed to be a community, not a contest.  Since we’re all here for the same reason, we have no choice but to coexist — musicians, labels, venues, and promoters should be assisting each other in reaching their goals rather than cutting each other out.

    With the Warped Tour around the corner, I have been asked by several bands all in the same week to vote for them.  With that, all I can think of is how disloyal of a friend I would be if I chose only one of the many bands I know to make this perceived progress in their careers over others.

    A true community doesn’t require you to pick favorites. 

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  2. Much more productive things could be done with the time and energy spent in that contest.

    Instead of spamming friends on Facebook with a link to vote for your band, you could be networking online, writing new material, promoting your other shows, raising funds, planning and purchasing merch, setting up photo shoots, and booking tours.

    Honestly, I’d prefer going through all the hardship and experiences to get to a sufficient level to perform at Warped Tour as a supporting act than to compete every year just to play a couple songs on a tiny stage facing the food court.

 

Overall, competing for one big gold star on your musician’s resume seems a bit less important to me than a ton of smaller accomplishments to rival the significance of it.  And even though I may still go to Warped Tour, I’m sure I feel much less stressed than others over it.

To my friends who are competing:  Best of luck, and to each their own.

— Riley Olacsi, Casket of Cassandra