Monday, June 30, 2008
Unite the United USB Wristbands - Warped Tour
By Mitchell Peters, L.A.
About two weeks into this year's 14th annual Vans Warped Tour, approximately 100 artists, crew members and sponsors will use a day off to help rebuild hurricane-torn communities in southwest Louisiana.
Between Warped stops in Houston and Atlanta, volunteers from the 46-date trek will spend July 7 building wheelchair ramps and help revamp a library, daycare and senior center in smaller towns that were destroyed in 2005 after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast region.
"Everybody has been focusing their efforts on the larger communities, such as New Orleans," says Laura Murphy, foundation administrator for Unite the United, which is spearheading the project in conjunction with the Volunteer Center of Southwest Louisiana.
"There are all of these little communities out there that have received little or no help from the outside," she tells Billboard. "So we're going into the small communities."
The 2008 Warped Tour launched June 20 at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona, Calif., and so far "we don't have any specific bands signed on" for the July 7 volunteer date in Louisiana, Murphy notes. "But we have a lot of interest."
Artists on this year's jaunt include Paramore, Gym Class Heroes, Jack's
Mannequin, Against Me!, Pennywise, Reel Big Fish, Cobra Starship, Every Time I Die, Angels and Airwaves, Pennywise, Motion City Soundtrack, Matisyahu, Chiodos, Aggrolites, As I Lay Dying and the Academy Is..., among many others.
Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman started nonprofit Unite the United in response to the devastation the hurricanes caused. The foundation was originally intended to launch with a large-scale benefit concert and silent auction.
"Unfortunately, the benefit concert never happened and we ended up with all of these things to auction off," Murphy recalls. "So we started auctioning them off on eBay and raising money from our friends and colleagues in the music and action sports industry."
In June 2006, 400 volunteers from the Warped Tour helped residents clear more than seven tons of debris from Cameron Parish in Louisiana. "It was an amazing experience for everyone out there," Murphy says. "It's really about the Warped community pulling together."