By: Simeon Lohrmann (RYFO Team Leader)
With over 100 bands performing in 32 states in under 2 months, Warped Tour is a MASSIVE undertaking! This summer Warped is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and while the tour is celebrating its 20th year; we’re celebrating our 1st time having a RYFO presence on the tour!
Since the tour kicked off last month in Texas, our volunteers have been spreading the word about our Host Home network, and looking for opportunities to build relationships with the bands on the tour. When it’s all said and done 21 different volunteers will have represented RYFO at select tour dates in 6 different states. With one date remaining for our volunteers in Atlanta next week, we wanted to share about our experience thus far.
A Warm Welcome
Since our first appearance on the tour at the San Antonio date, the bands have been wowed by our desire to care for their needs on the road. Some of the bands went so far as to stop what they were doing to sign up on the spot. Comments like, “This is the best idea I’ve ever heard!” have been repeatedly noted by our volunteers as they share about RYFO. Simply put, RYFO has been warmly welcomed into the Warped Tour Community!
One notable, and somewhat comical comment made by an artist at the Pomona date went something like this…(a phone conversation while walking up to our booth in the catering area) “I’m about to get lunch (brief pause while reading our sign) and apparently I’m about to get a shower!” We proceeded to share with this artist, as we have with most of the musicians on the tour, about the hospitality of our amazing Host Homes all around the country. He was blown away!
In contrast, some of the artists we connected with thought RYFO was simply too good to be true. When Audrey Thompson, RYFO’s Host Home Coordinator was asked, “So what’s the catch?” by one of the more skeptical artists. She responded plainly, “Well actually there is a catch. We’re doing it all for Jesus.” To which the artist responded, “That’s a good catch!”
To add to all the positive receptivity from the Warped bands, RYFO’s acceptance on the tour was fully cemented when Warped Tour’s founder Kevin Lyman took it upon himself to approach our table and personally thank us for serving their artist community.
With such a warm welcome across the board our staff has concluded one thing for sure – This summer won’t be the last time we’re Serving the Voices at Warped Tour!
A big shout out and thank you to our amazing volunteers!
Photo Courtesy of Fire At Will Photography
A behind the scenes view
By: Lori George
I volunteered to work at a well-known Christian artist’s merchandise table two years ago. I had moved to California a mere four weeks prior and viewed volunteering at this event as a unique way for me to meet and network with others. The tour was a rather large one, each gig lasting up to a solid three hours with all the performers combined doing 10-20 minutes worth of material.
The artist I volunteered for not only had their spouse with them on tour, but also their children and their in-laws. After the show, the artist interacted with the long line of fans/supporters at their meet and greet table. Myself and a very small amount of others knew how exhausted this artist truly was. Despite the exhaustion the artist gave out a countless number of autographs, handshakes, hugs, and photos. Much later, after the artist was done for the night, a few more people came up to see the artist. One of them surprised me by making some negative remarks about the artist not staying around long enough to meet with people.
Since that experience and my recent involvement with RYFO, I’ve found myself wondering why these fans were so negative towards this artist. Were they expecting the artist to stay around and meet people all night long? Through RYFO, I was introduced to the idea of being a Different Brand of Fan, one who takes a sincere and genuine interest in the artist as a human being, not just as an artist. A Rebranded Fan looks for ways to love and serve an artist, and cares very little about what they get out of the interaction. It’s all about being an authentic source of encouragement, and pointing the artist towards the love that Christ has for them. Interested in learning more about being a Rebranded Fan?
Watch and share this promo video: A Different Brand of Fan.
A Home for Rebranded Fans
By: Simeon Lohrmann
With all the fan stereotypes that exist in the music community, have you ever asked yourself what it takes to be a music fan? Maybe a simple appreciation for music suffices. Maybe a music fan is someone who supports musicians by buying CD’s and going to concerts. Is there anything else?
Recently I had the honor of visiting my alma mater, Greenville College (GC), where the initial vision for RYFO was born. My wife Johanna and I made the trip to GC with the intention of establishing a partnership between the school, particularly the Music Business Department, and RYFO. I am happy to report that our expectations were far exceeded. We were truly impressed by the commonality between the passions of the Greenville students, and the mission of RYFO.
The partnership with Greenville will certainly evolve over time, yet as it stands today, the prospects are exciting. We’re currently working to create opportunities for the students to engage in the work of RYFO through internships & short-term missions trips. Additionally, RYFO is positioned to support the hospitality efforts at AgapeFest, a 37 year old Music Festival run by Greenville’s students.
Over the past 10 months the RYFO staff has sought to promote a singular core message, “Become a different brand of fan.” This message serves as an invitation to all Christ followers who love music. If you love Jesus and love music, we believe you are the perfect candidate to help RYFO raise the bar on being a music fan. As we interacted with the Greenville students we were encouraged by their deep passion for music, and their desire to make an impact for Christ within the music community. Greenville proved to be a home for rebranded fans.
[Read more about how RYFO characterizes a Rebranded Fan]
Does your church or school share the same DNA as RYFO? If so, we would love to link arms and work together. You can can invite us out by completing the form at the bottom of this page: SHARE.