Scenes From Warped Tour's "Reverse Daycare": Blazing Saddles, Air Conditioning, And Parents' Memories Of Concerts Past
The Reverse Daycare tent at the Vans Warped Tour resembles nothing so much as a really relaxed waiting room. While away the hours in a bazaar armchair while your daughter (always a daughter) treks from stage to stage, occasionally texting you or stopping by the air-conditioned tent and asking the security guard stationed outside to poke his head in and call for you. (She's not allowed inside.) Read one of the provided magazines (Vogue, Allure, Lucky, In Style, Women's Health, Runner's World); watch a movie; doze off (intentionally or otherwise). It's a minor but crucial element of a tour that, as Reverse Daycare Tent Manager Shilpa Hareesh pointedly noted to me, is now older than many of its attendees.
Brad Nelson The parents' tent at Warped Tour.
On Saturday at Nassau Coliseum, Warped Tour first-timer Denisewho spent most of her time in the tent catching up on a backlog of Crain's New York Businesstold me that the tent was the deciding factor in her 14-year-old daughter's Warped attendance, after a plan for her to go to the festival with a group of older kids was nixed. (Last names and kids' names and ages, where provided, were volunteered by parents.) Denise's daughter researched the Reverse Daycare Tent and presented her case, recruiting her mother as a chaperone for her and her friends. This is a common narrative, Hareesh told me, and a cursory online search for "reverse daycare" bears that out. Several other parents who had planned for Reverse Daycare also brought their own reading material, whether a Grisham mass-market or Fifty Shades Darker on an e-reader.
Three-time attendee Tiffany Drummond, seated nearest to the power strips, was the model of scene responsibility, helping confused parents hoping to charge their cell phones and indicating the cord that led to the tour-provided, shared iPhone charger. (Hareesh said she hoped to replace a tour-provided universal charger that had been stolen on the way to Sunday's Warped Tour stop in Hartford.) Drummond noted, almost proudly, that her daughter Tia, now 16, doubled down on the Warped Tour each year, attending once with her father in California and once with her mother on Long Island. Later in the day, after her mother excitedly introduced me to her outside the tent, Tia would tell me that this year's Warped Tour was "more relaxed" than last year's. Probably not unrelatedly, the two had arrived at 11:45 that morning, which, notably, was the latest any parent I interviewed indicated, even though doors supposedly opened at 11:30. Denise deadpanned about her own crew's 10:30 a.m. arrival: "I was told that we were late."
Many other parents simply took a brief reprieve from the sun and the noise of the festival. Hareesh stationed herself inside the tent's entrance, greeting parents and listing the amenities, including free beverageswater from a cooler, sponsored Monster Energy Drinksand massages (provided for $1 a minute by Stage Hands Massage to benefit the nonprofit Hands That Rock). A widescreen television showed closed-captioned DVDs (Saturday's selections included Blazing Saddles and The Fugitive), with the audio broadcast into a different channel of the same headphones used for the Silent Disco "dubstep party." Two still-unreleased films also screened: Renee, starring Kat Dennings, and Fat Kid Rules the World, directed by Matthew Lillard. Hareesh told me that Lillard actually contacts her looking for feedback from Warped parentsand I bet she gets quite a bit.