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Meditation, Yoga and Rock and Roll: My Non Toxic Summer On The Vans Warped Tour

Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll… These words are synonymous with the stereotype you think of on the road on a punk rock tour.  But as the Non Toxic Revolution Lead for Vans Warped Tour 2015, I was pleasantly surprised to find a community that had a broader view of what a rock and roll lifestyle means.  I had the joy of talking to kids and teens every day about ways to reduce toxins from their daily lives, and it was incredible to see it in action among Warped Tour’s behind the scenes family.
With my reusable to-go style PlanetBox in hand, on my walk to the production area, I would see Christopher Drew (Never Shout Never) leisurely riding his bike along with his band. Eric, the keyboardist of Metro Station, skateboard by with a reusable, sustainable coffee cup and dinner plate. Andy Biersack (Black Viel Brides) and Juliet Simms playing a friendly game of football and Hari Chrisnas passing out free gluten free, vegan cookies to Warped goers and crew members as a simple “love offering”. I was so impressed by the mindfulness, compassion and awareness within the Warped Tour community.  Despite this, life on tour can still take its toll on your body and mind.  Warped Tour is incredibly fun, but the hard labor, lack of sleep and lack of personal space can be stressful. The turbulent motion of a moving tour bus, shared with 18 people creates a constant buzz of jubilant chatter and road noises, as well as occasional snoring. The work day is a symphony of sweat, along with a cacophony of smells with clashing music and vibrations from various stages.  The elements are harsh—blinding heat, dust, and rain assault your skin every day. 41 cities in 51 days with multiple time changes and constant “FOMO” (fear of missing out).  With all of the distraction, how does one find time to center and ground oneself?  Luckily, on Warped Tour, I found several resources designed to quiet the mind, calm the senses and restore the body.  Even if you’re not on tour—these are some great tips to add wellness to your life.


Warped Tour had a weekly meditation group led by Buddy Nielsen, of Senses Fail, which was a delight to attend.  Sitting quietly with like-minded members of bands, production, non-profits and catering in a non-judgmental setting was a beautiful way to release thoughts and gently put the mind and body at ease. All levels were welcome and Buddy lovingly guided our sessions with calm, verbal imagery, reminding us to breathe, release any thought that pops up and to gently observe your mind and body.


A great way to do this at home—especially if you are new to meditation is to attend a group or class (often offered at yoga studios) or to search “Guided Meditation for Beginners” or “Guided Visualization” on YouTube.  Explore until you find a group or video that resonates with you.  Be patient and you will feel amazing benefits including stress reduction, stress management, and a greater self-awareness.


Nightly yoga was offered by Woody, the bassist of Our Last Night, and often due to the variety of venues, we had the joy of having class outdoors with some great views of water or mountains.  Yoga is great for staying in shape, building core strength, patience, and stress reduction.  You don’t have to be able to do headstands to enjoy the benefits of a stretch session!  I brought a small, melon sized Pilates ball and would do crunches and stretches in the hallway of our bus while people slept (Quirky, but it worked). Often spotted: Lynn and Alex from PVRIS biking it up.


Colleges and community centers often offer inexpensive yoga classes at a variety of levels, but if yoga simply isn’t your thing, cardio exercise can offer similar benefits. So take the dog for a walk, grab your bike and enjoy the weather, shoot some hoops or go for a swim—just don’t forget your non-toxic sunblock!


TaDa catering, the glorious meal provider of Warped Tour had a huge variety of vegan and gluten-free options at catering, as well as a salad bar. As a vegan, eating my veggies (including dark leafy greens like kale, spinach and broccoli) and having plant-based protein options like beans, quinoa, and veggie burgers, ensured I could stay energized and strong for all the excitement each day had to offer. A fun highlight was bands such as Palisades, Drama Club, and Baby Baby acting as “lunch ladies”, scooping up deliciousness as dinner serving volunteers.


Did you know organic dark leafy greens have been shown to prevent certain types of cancer?  Even if you’re not the biggest salad eater, throw some spinach in your pasta or rice dishes or add some steamed kale to your tacos (everything tastes better with hot sauce). Trust me.


The highlight of Warped Tour was the sense of family, community and friendship.  Having a group of people who all share the creativity, passion, excitement, and hard work that is tour life is such an amazing gift. Learning and sharing about your experiences, ups and downs, and daily victories makes the road feel like home. Whether it was sharing some of my Non Toxic Bare Bones Body Care products in the shower line, volunteering to plant trees in Gettysburg, having a dance party on a friend’s bus or watching the sun set over Jone’s Beach with my friend/boss Monica, adventures are sometimes best when shared.


Scared to try yoga or meditation alone?  Invite a friend! Find a cool blog about non-toxic cosmetics?  Share it! Bored on a Sunday afternoon?  Grab a sibling and volunteer!  Stressing out?  Tell a friend you can trust. The people you surround yourself with should make you feel uplifted and empowered. Wellness starts from within but shines outwards. Share the positivity and grow your own community you can be proud of. Warped Tour is an experience I will never forget, and something I will carry with me year-round with fondness and pride.  If we met at the Non Toxic Revolution booth over the summer, thank you for hanging out, chatting and sharing your stories with me.  I’m so proud of you for your realness, openness, and excitement. Taking steady small steps every day in reducing toxic chemicals, heals your minds, body, and the environment. Together we are a community and a revolution.
Vans Warped Tour 2015



Brianne McKay
Brianne "Brie" McKay is an enthusiastic lover of life, who is fueled by creativity, joy and adventure. She is a firm believer in the power of wellness and that learning should be fun. She loves writing, painting, nontoxic beauty, live music, vegan noms, nature and travel.
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