Mike Liorti, 6’9″ front man for Rosedale has developed a unique position on Vans Warped Tour over the years. Since 2008, his band has followed the tour, playing outside the venues before and after the show. While he is not officially part of the tour, he has become a staple act for guests who attend the music festival each year. Hearing Rosedale’s aggressive/pop music with straight from the heart lyrics makes the long lines and boiling heat more bearable. And at the end of the day, when you just do not want the music to end, Liorti gives one last performance as you leave Vans Warped Tour.
Excuses, excuses, excuses. While following Van’s Warped Tour, Liorti has had his share of run-ins with venues along the way. Many cite insurance concerns, while trying to prevent Rosedale from playing outside the gates. Rosedale is not technically part of the tour and not covered under their insurance. The venue has no contract with Liorti, so their polices will not cover him either. However, as much as festival sites like to make excuses based on insurance coverage, they are not valid. (For example, by signing a waiver, the musician assumes all responsibility, allowing the venue to be off the hook for accidents, theft, or security). Still, some venues would not allow Rosedale to perform outside the gates. At times when playing outside is strictly forbidden, Kevin Lyman, head of Warped Tour, steps in and provides Liorti access to the venue so he can play and sell his music inside the gates.
Inspiration is a two way street. Many of the bands performing on Warped Tour have expressed their admiration of Rosedale. Liorti says, “A lot of bigger acts like All Time Low, Bayside, and We the Kings have come up to me and said this (following Warped Tour) is really cool and they are inspired by what I’m doing. It blows me away, because I’ve been inspired by them growing up and still am. That’s always flattering.” Liorti is encouraged by the support he has received from artists that have influenced him and established artists, in turn, are motivated by his dedication and determination.
I’m a believer. Most people can relate to feelings of insecurity when it comes to meeting someone special. Liorti has eloquently set it to words in the song, “Speechless” that say, “And you’re so amazing, you take away my breath/So I’m left speechless/I can’t take my time/I’ve got a one track mind/I can’t take my time/Cus I’ll wait too long to do this again” illustrating that self-awareness can help you avoid missed opportunities when it comes to matters of the heart. The stark honesty in Liorti’s lyrics are compelling. “Speechless” never fails to make me want to get up and cheer him on.
Crowdfunding is not an option. Rosedale is truly a DIY band. All tours and recordings are paid for by the band, including expenses for Warped Tour. Eager to explore the new avenues to fund music projects, Liorti looked into using Kickstarter. After hours of research and planning, he was stunned to find out that Kickstarter would not accept his campaign because he was in Canada, outside the physical boundaries of Kickstarter. Liorti did not let it deter him. Instead he turned back to the old school ways. He explained, “I would rather travel around, sell a bunch of merch and get a following.” Liorti mentioned that there is now a crowd-funding organization in Canada, and he believes it can be beneficial to musicians by allowing fans to become invested in new projects.
Rosedale is currently working on new music and is featured on UStream during the recording process. They will tour the U.S. this Fall beginning in September. I look forward to seeing them on Warped Tour 2015, because to me Rosedale is the perfect beginning and end to a day filled with music.