Welcome to Tour Journals, a Music Times segment where we ask some of our favorite up-and-coming bands to send us a dispatch from the road. This time around, we've asked our Camplified Summer Concert Tour contest winners Council to step in and send their journals and blogs from the current Camplified tour.
The phone rang and it was a call that would change our summer. We were asked to go on tour with Camplified. They said we had won the Music Times / Camplified Contest, and asked if we could play dates on the tour. It was unexpected, and so our first question was, when would you want us to play? Turns out it would be three days away!
As a band, all you can do is keep preparing, and when an opportunity comes your way ... you seize it. We were both excited and nervous because we would be playing to a teen audience. We weren't sure how our music and live shows would translate to a younger crowd.
The night before our first show we picked up the SUV we would be using on the first half of our tour dates. The great thing about the Camplified tour is that you don't have a car stuffed with equipment. All the drums, amps, etc., would be provided and setup for us. However, you could bring any extra equipment that you wanted to use. Every musician longs for the day that they don't have to setup their own equipment, and we were excited to get the opportunity to experience it.
Our first stop on the Camplified tour was YMCA Camp Northpoint in Rochester, NY. When we arrived all the tents and equipment from some of the sponsoring partners – Aquafina Flavor Splash, Roland, The Duck Brand Tape, Scholastic, 808 Audio, Ion Audio, Dormify and AR for Her – were setup and ready for the campers. For the majority of the day we got to hang out and do activities with the campers. It was great getting to know them and see what their interests were. During the morning hours, each band took turns at soundcheck for the show later on.
YMCA Camp Northpoint is a day camp, which means you arrive in the morning and get to eat lunch with everyone. We had some great pizza with all the campers. After lunch we started getting ready for the show. The camp counselors then brought all the campers together for the event. Daniel, the tour manager and emcee, started things off. Luckily, the campers were excited to hear the bands that they had spent the day with.
Over the tour, the band performance order changes in order to keep it fresh. For our first show, we went on second.
No matter how much energy we thought our set had, we quickly realized that we would need to triple it. Kids are extremely honest and their reaction, or lack thereof, will say it all. After all, this age group (teen/tween) is what trends are based on.
These campers were extremely appreciative and great to play for. From our band's perspective, we needed to up our game if we were going to really reach every single camper and make sure they remembered the moments our music gave them.
After the show, there is a meet and greet. All the bands are lined up at tables and the campers get a commemorative poster. They go down the line and all the bands sign it for them as well as give out some of their swag, which usually has the band's picture, and all their social media websites on it.
After that, the day was over. It's a great feeling to know you connected with so many campers, and had the opportunity to share your music with them.
Today, we headed to Greenwood Trails in Winsted, CT. This was our first visit to an overnight camp. For these, we get to arrive a little later because the show is later. We were tired from the drive but as soon as we arrived we found some campers playing and decided to jump right in. Instantly, we got our energy back.
The Camplified event didn't start until after lunch so we had some time. Therefore, after getting to know some of the campers and answering a lot of questions about if we are triplets and, if we aren't, why do we look the same, we headed to lunch. The grilled cheese and salad from their salad bar were fantastic!
The rest of the day was filled with getting to know the campers in each of the different tents. Whether it was teaching them a simple drum beat or a chord in the Roland Tent, making guitars in the Duck Brand Tape Tent or lounging on Dormify bean bag chairs in The Aquafina Flavor Splash tent, it seemed the campers were really excited for all the days events and the concert later on. Dinner was also great –– ham, mashed potatoes and salad.
Showtime had finally arrived and we went on first. The crowd was great. We were learning how to approach our set to make it stand out from the others. Pat, our lead singer, started getting the crowd going with a chant. He was on a wireless microphone and that was pretty much like setting a wild horse free. From this show on, our sets would change drastically and Pat would wander off into the crowd and return to the stage only for water breaks and band introductions.
After the other two bands performed we all went to the courts for the meet and greet. The weather didn't seem as though it was going to cooperate, however. It began to downpour and we all rushed into one of the cabins. Luckily, the Camplified and Greenwood staff brought a van by and took us from cabin to cabin to meet all the campers. They were great! We signed all their posters and gave them our Council cards.
As of this writing, we are making the drive back to Syracuse, NY, for the next two shows in the Rochester area. More to come!