Man, what a fun time I had at Uproar Festival! I'll start with huge thanks to Pura Vida Tequila for providing my ticket and VIP access. Now I'll tell you about my day (this is going to be a long post, but it has fun pictures!).
I got to the amphitheatre early so I could catch all the bands. I actually arrived before the gates opened and I could hear one of the security ladies shouting about restrictions on the types of bags you could bring in. I was carrying my Jump from Paper bag which was probably well outside their allowed parameters, but I decided to take a chance because I didn't feel like going back to my car to look for an alternative. I walked up to one of the security guards at the gate, opened my bag, took out my wallet and showed him the inside. He waved me through without a word.
Once inside, I texted my Pura Vida Tequila contact to let him know I was there even though I wasn't meant to go to the bus until six o'clock. We texted back and forth until I figured out where the bus actually was so I would know for later. Then the bands started.
I like to be there to support the up-and-coming bands at festivals because they often don't have much of a crowd so early in the day. The day started with battle of the bands winner TROY from Springfield, Missouri, followed by Canadian band Sons of Revelry, and Birmingham, Alabama-based Within Reason. As I was making my way toward the stage to see Escape the Fate, I spotted my longtime friend Paul Chokota, who is the photographer for the venue. He took this photo of me, which was to be the last time I looked the way I intended for the day, because moments later it began to rain.
The guitarists moved their pedalboards to the back of the stage and kept playing as the stage crew covered all the speakers with plastic. It rained pretty hard and I was a little concerned about the shock potential of the microphones, but the band kept going and finished their set. While I waited for Buckcherry to go on, I sought shelter under the tent covering one of the ATMs, but I was so thoroughly soaked that it really didn't make much difference.
The crowds grew throughout the day and although I got pretty close to the front for Buckcherry, the increasing violations of Wheaton's Law made me retreat before the end of the set. I spent a little time in the Rockstar Energy Drink tent and learned firsthand that a tent that big has a center seam that fills with water and dumps it inside from time to time. Luckily I wasn't standing directly underneath when that lesson came about.
Finally, six o'clock rolled around and I walked to the back parking lot, knocked on the door of the Pura Vida Tequila bus and introduced myself. On many of the stops of the tour there are radio station contest winners and numerous other guests on the bus, but in this instance it was just me, a couple of guys representing a liquor store, and a bartender hired to mix the drinks.
We were greeted by Stewart Skloss, President and CEO of Pura Vida Tequila, along with his assistant Randy Ingle. I didn't have to shiver in my soaked t-shirt for long because Mr. Skloss provided a nice, dry Pura Vida 8:15 Tequila Time shirt, and I immediately ducked into the bus restroom to change. Considering that my original shirt was still a little damp when I woke up the next morning, that was a most welcome improvement to my comfort.
After a couple of delicious tequila drinks on the bus (I'll be sharing some recipes in another post soon), we headed to the backstage area. Our meetup time with Godsmack lead vocalist Sully Erna had been pushed back a bit, but in the meantime we had the opportunity to share dinner with the backstage crew. This was a particular stroke of luck for me in that I had been on site all day long with only a soft pretzel to eat. Most concert venues don't have a lot of food options and this one was no exception.
Once we had dined, we headed to Sully's dressing room to share in the band's 8:15 p.m. pre-show tequila shot. This tradition started with some of the women on the crew and has gotten more elaborate in conjunction with the band's Pura Vida Tequila partnership.
I'm not going to lie—I spilled about a quarter of my tequila portion on my purse while I was juggling my Dixie cup shot and my iPhone taking photos. I'm pretty sure the tequila I did consume is responsible for my somewhat goggle-eyed look in this photo. (But my hair was dry by then!)
Sully (I can call him Sully now—see above) got his "two minute" stage warning just as we finished the shot, and although he offered to take a couple of questions from me before he left the dressing room, I didn't want to be that guy.
Instead, I made my way around to the front of the stage to take advantage of my photo credentials. I saw Paul Chokota again and he and the other professional photographers looked at my iPhone camera with unmistakable pity.
Right in front of the stage, the subwoofers were so powerful that I could feel my shirt vibrating. I was wearing the high-quality earplugs I always carry with me (unsponsored shout-out to Etymotic!), so at least my eardrums were safe. The stage was about my head-height and I got some amazing photos, even with just my iPhone. The only drawback to being so close is that the band members were spread out too much for me to get a shot of all four of them together during the three songs we were allowed. Here are some of my favorite shots with different lighting schemes. (Click any photo to enlarge.)
I had an all-access wristband that would have allowed me into the VIP audience area in front of the stage, but the crowd was getting a bit rowdy where I was thinking of going, so I decided to enjoy the rest of the set from a bit further away. I am a huge Godsmack fan and they played all of their many hits as well as a bunch of new songs from their latest album, 1000hp.
I stayed to the end and then went home to experience the delight of dry socks and warm pajamas.
All in all it was an amazing day and evening, and the rain did not inhibit my enthusiasm one bit. I'm very much looking forward to receiving my shipment of Pura Vida Tequila varities, Naranja and Sangrita so I can play around with drink recipes and share some of them with you.
Disclosure: In exchange for my participation in this program, which will include an eventual total of three blog posts, I received VIP tickets to the Uproar Festival and will be receiving product from Pura Vida Tequila. All opinions are my own.