The most fan-friendly tour out there needs to fight back on smack talk
When news broke recently that a fan died at the Warped Tour in Kansas City, it was a tragedy. But in the wake of the tragedy rumors were rampant on the Internet – the poor guy died of dehydration because water was $10 a bottle, Warped organizers wouldn’t let you bring in water or sunscreen to force you to buy their goods, etc.
Sadly, it does look like the death was heat-related. What has been little reported nationally is that it was the fourth heat-related death in Kansas City this summer; the city was in the grip of a 110-degree heat wave. Sounds like the problem may be a bit more complex than the Warped Tour.
The “fans” blaming the Warped Tour got under my skin. Of the dozens of festivals I’ve gone to, Warped has always been the easiest, best-value and most fun – and the tour has always gone out of its way to make it fun and safe for the fans. Parents who’ve experienced the tour have no problem dropping their kids off all day, knowing their in good hands.
So I went to the Denver Warped stop on Sunday to see if somehow Warped had turned into this death camp that people were posting about on the Internet. I’ve not been to the amphitheatre in Kansas City, but it could hardly be more brutal than Warped in Denver – held in the parking lot at Invesco Field.
Let's start with the stupidest rumor out there: Did the Warped Tour refuse to let fans bring in water? Nope. You could bring in as much as you wanted:They could have tightened up the rules about underwear, however.
Was water $10 a bottle? Nope.
They did get a little pricey with the sunscreen though.
And it cost you twice as much to buy a dehydrating beer as a hydrating bottle of water.
Was free water provided inside? Yep. Plenty of filling stations.
Other measures taken to beat the heat?
A misted slip-and-slide to cool off in.A little common sense goes a long way - and the Vans Warped Tour has always had a lot of common sense, which is why it has lasted as one of the best annual music events for 16 summers straight.
Justin Bieber takes a bottle to the head
It's all fun and games at a Justin Bieber concert, till someone gets hurt. Then it turns hilarious. Fortunately he wasn't hurt, but some fan decided to show her appreciation by hurling a water bottle smack at Bieber's head. This being the Internet age, not only did it get caught on camera, but from multiple angles.
The late guitarist set to receive perhaps the greatest honor in music history
The Grateful Dead may be the smartest band on earth when it comes to making the most of its back catalog. Fans can buy live shows, DVDs, box sets, outtakes, shirts, bear scarves, messenger bags, candles and even this nifty drink coaster.
But the Dead has been alarmingly light on bobbleheads.
On Monday, Aug. 9, the 15th anniversary of the death of Jerry Garcia, his daughter, Annabelle, will throw the first pitch at the San Francisco Giants game.
Wait, there's more. Bob Weir will sing the National Anthem, and Mickey Hart will lead the 7th-inning stretch (hoping to set a world record with 7,000 fans playing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" on kazoos).
But most importantly, the bobblehead oversight will finally be dealt with. Fans buying a special ticket will get to sit in the Jerry Garcia section of the ballpark, and, yes, receive the limited edition Jerry Garcia Bobblehead.
One would have to think that Garcia, even at his most chemically creative peak, wouldn't have seen this coming. RIP, Jerry.
Wyclef Jean declares candidacy for president of Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Singer Wyclef Jean officially announced his bid to be president of Haiti to a roaring crowd of supporters on Thursday, thrusting himself into a contentious race to lead an impoverished country reeling from a devastating earthquake.
At one point the hip hop artist-turned-politician bodysurfed on the hands of bandana-waving supporters in Haiti's capital and stepped onto a speaker truck to address the crowd of hundreds. Jean had submitted his candidacy papers 10 minutes before the provisional electoral office closed.
"America has Barack Obama and Haiti has Wyclef Jean," shouted Jean, who was born in Haiti but raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. Many in the crowd wore T-shirts distributed by supporters.
Carrying his wailing 5-year-old daughter on his shoulders, Jean told The Associated Press: "It's a moment in time and in history. It's very emotional."
The former Fugees frontman enters a highly competitive and crowded race for a difficult and dangerous job. Only one person has completed a democratically elected 5-year term in Haiti's history - current President Rene Preval - who is poised to do it again and hand it off to an elected successor.
The winner of the Nov. 28 general elections inherits a destroyed capital, 1.6 million homeless people and countless groups fighting over billions of dollars in international reconstruction funds pledged after a January earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people.
Jean's U.S. upbringing could be a roadblock to his candidacy, but the singer says his appointment as a roving ambassador by Preval in 2007 exempts him from the residency requirement.
The singer was born on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince but left the country as a child and grew up in Brooklyn. He gained fame as a member of the Fugees and went on to have a successful solo career. He is known for such hit singles as "We Trying to Stay Alive" and "Gone Till November." With the Fugees, he recorded the Grammy-winning, multiplatinum-selling album "The Score."
In recent years, he has been active in Haiti with the charity Yele Haiti, prompting long-running speculation that he would run for president one day.
Earlier Thursday, he stepped down as leader of Yele Haiti, which faced criticism for alleged financial improprieties.
Jean helped found the charity five years ago to raise money and build awareness of the myriad problems in his impoverished homeland. It raised $9 million in the wake of the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed a government-estimated 300,000 people. Of that, it has spent $1.5 million on food, water, tents, clothes and other products for quake survivors, said Cindy Tanenbaum, a spokeswoman the musician said.
"I am not stepping down in my commitment to Haiti. On the contrary, regardless of what path I take next, one thing is certain: My focus on helping Haiti turn a new corner will only grow stronger," Jean said in the statement.
Jean's personal statement about his decision to run, from Huffington Post:
My four-year-old daughter, Angelina, and my wife, Claudinette, are the angels of my life -- and I know this year has been especially trying for them, as my efforts for Haiti have taken so much more of my time since January, when the devastating earthquake nearly destroyed my home country. In fact, my concern for my family was my primary thought as I was being urged by others to seek the presidency of Haiti.
But then I came to realize that I have to make this decision for them, and especially for my daughter, as much as for myself and my country. At age four, my daughter has already seen so much suffering in Haiti, but we've done our best to have her also witness the beauty of the country and the beautiful spirits of its people. I have always believed in the need to parent her by example, to show her that her dad is a man of action and a man of his word. I've told her throughout her life that Haiti's future lies in our hands -- including hers, as one of the young people of the country -- and I want to show her by example what I'm willing to do to make Haiti a better place. I believe that to move Haiti forward, it's going to be necessary to embrace the energy of its people, to unite around a common goal of moving ahead together. Taking all of these factors into consideration over the last few weeks, I have decided to run for president of Haiti.
I'm happy to have my family as my biggest supporters. They've been right there with me, helping with the programs of my NGO, Yele Haiti, over the years. Angelina and Claudinette and I were all in Haiti a few weeks before the earthquake, in fact. We went to Cite Soleil, one of the country's most dangerous neighborhoods, to give toys and backpacks to the kids. The hotel where we had stayed was destroyed by the earthquake, crumbled to the ground. We escaped death by only a few weeks -- my daughter, wife and I would have been under the rubble.
Once, I told Angelina she was going to perform with me on Nickelodeon, and she asked me if she was going to get paid. I asked her, "What are you gonna do with the money?" When she said she needed it to send to the kids of Haiti, I cried tears of joy! And when some people attacked my involvement with Yéle Haiti and tears rolled down my cheeks on Oprah, she said, "Daddy, you are too tough to cry. I've never seen you cry." I said to her, "I'm not crying for myself; I'm crying for the people of Haiti."
Some negative stories continue to be written about me. People might question my motives. Because our daughter is so young, we have shielded her from the negative stories, but when she is a little older, we will talk about those (and there might be many more to come in the next few months -- or years, even, depending on how things go in my campaign to make a brighter future for Angelina and the rest of the youth of Haiti).
I've tried to do the right thing in every part of my life, but especially when it comes to family and to Haiti. Sometimes I've been successful; other times not so much. But for years, I have been trying to help Haiti grow and prosper, and now I think I have the biggest chance I will ever have to make a difference there. I feel my calling is to serve our country in whatever way the people will have me.
I trust that Angelina understands why I feel a responsibility to my countrymen who suffer so much, because I know that my daughter's heart is as beautiful as she is. I hold Haiti and its growth and development dear to my heart; I have pledged to work for my beloved country just as I have pledged to be the best father I can be to my daughter.
My daughter and my wife, my mother, my brothers and sisters, my cousins and the rest of our family are always first in my heart. But Haiti and its people are a very close second. I hope and pray that my baby girl will understand that, and I think she will -- I can tell in her eyes and with the questions she asks that she already understands that to live for yourself is to live selfishly, but to live for others is the best sacrifice that we can make as human beings.
As the Creole saying goes, "L'union fait la force" -- "there is strength in unity." That is something I live by; I get strength from my family, and from all my supporters in Haiti.
Kanye West's Twitter feed phenomenon
If we knew how much creative madness would come from Kanye West simply signing up for Twitter, we would have encouraged the prolific BLOGGER to start tweeting ages ago.
In one week’s time, @kanyewest have inspired faux-New Yorker cartoons, a trending topic dedicated to predicting what he’ll say next, and now @budgetkanyewest, a Twitter feed parody of West-esque status updates if ‘Ye didn’t have $87,000 to spend per week. (Sampletweet: “just got off the subway!!! PICTURES SOON.”)
MTV Buzzworthy, on the #predictingkanyetweets bandwagon, has guesstimated the five tweets Kanye will inevitably make during his tenure on the social networking site. On Thanksgiving Day, the chances of Kanye tweeting “I just ate a turkey stuffed with a lobster and the lobster was rocking a Audemars Piguet watch! I love America!” is pretty high. And hilarious. Although any prediction that anyone has come up with so far, including West’s comedy budAziz Ansari, is not quite as funny as what Kanye is actually tweeting himself:
Is it wrong to wear a CHANEL dinner jacket with a T shirt to the airport if it's still breakfast time out here in Singapore uugh TOO LATE!
about 19 hours ago via web
Tell everyone at the label only use Gothic or Helvetic fonts for email blast unless I otherwise approve
about 21 hours ago via web
Neon suit check ... Wut I look like on stage Ibn... am I glowing??? OK THEN!!!!
about 21 hours ago via web
Twit pic acting up ... I wanna bless yall with this hotel view but it wasn't meant to be I guess
10:00 AM Aug 4th via web
Limitation spawns innovation
9:52 AM Aug 4th via web
In life... Sometimes you gotta just wait for the next elevator
5:57 AM Aug 4th via web
Don't you hate it when you say bye to someone then yall get on the elevator together and it's like, now what?? Awkwaaard
5:47 AM Aug 4th via web
sometimes I push the door close button on people running towards the elevator. I just need my own elevator sometimes, my 7 floor sanctuary
5:44 AM Aug 4th via web
I don't understand why they have a do not disturb button on the plane if they keep waking you asking if you want juice.
2:20 PM Aug 3rd via web
I used to go to the Bang & Olufsen store and just stare at the TVs and speakers, that store was one of my main inspirations
9:19 AM Aug 1st via web
Fur pillows are hard to actually sleep on
8:55 AM Aug 1st via web
I need more church in my life
8:49 AM Aug 1st via web
It's gonna be a super good day
8:48 AM Aug 1st via web
Long-lost documentary to finally hit screens, DVD
The 2006 documentary "Who is Harry Nilsson (and Why is Everybody Talkin' About Him?)" will see a limited theater release in September and will be out on DVD by year's end. Finally the focus might be taken off of Nilsson's party years (granted, they were pretty much all party years) and focused on the brilliant songs he wrote and the even better covers he did of other people's material.
The official website is still pretty sparse with the details, but you can watch the trailer below.
Be careful out there, people
The Warped Tour is one of my favorite festivals every summer -- and millions of music fans agree. For a festival that has always been 40 bucks or less ($33 in my town this year), you get more bands than you can possibly see and have a great day.
Unless you don't. The sunburns and passed-out fans I've seen in the past always make me take extra care in planning a day at Warped, and this week the unthinkable happened - a fan died, with indications being that it might have been dehydration.
Having enough water on hand has always been a festival problem, starting with Woodstock (well, till it rained anyway) and was a controversy when Lollapalooza was at its peak. Yes, bottled water can be pricey, but Warped will let you bring in your own empty container and at the dates I've been to the free water refilling stations have flowed continuously.
The results aren't in and condolences are due to the concert-goer's family and friends. Whatever happened there, protect yourself. It's August, it's burning hot out there. Take care of yourselves and your friends.
Bonnaroo artists speak out against nuclear weapons
The "shut up and sing" crows won't like it, but artists including Weezer, They Might Be Giants, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Ozomatli, OK GO, the Entrance Band and more speak out eloquently against nuclear proliferation in this MSN Music exclusive video shot at Bonnaroo.
That's a great lineup of minds right there. But Rise Against -- one of the most important and socially aware hard-rock bands to come up in the past few years - also made their own PSA supporting the banning of nuclear weapons. Check it out below, then go to the Take Part website for more information and to find out what you can do.