The Vans Warped Tour travels around North America for almost two months every summer. The daily show stars around noon and goes on until 8-9 in the evening. Altogether 70 bands perform on the tour playing mostly punk, rock, hardcore and metal with occasional hiphop and reggae artists.
Prahlada-Nrsimha das and me are on the tour right now, literally traveling back and forth across the USA. He passes out books all day from as early as 7am until 9-10pm. He doesn’t really take any breaks, just eats lunch and dinner while packing more books in his book bag. Sometimes he actually sits down and reads the Srimad-Bhagavatam while eating. There’s no stopping him. He just wants to share Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual, original books with as many people as possible. And I think this is his 16th year of volunteering his time and life to do it full time.
My job description for the summer is indeed warped. Normally I wake up at 4am but on the tour I do all the driving every night and so go to sleep around 8am, after cooking a veggies-rice-and-beans mush that we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner… and then wake up around 3-4pm. Because the tour moves so quickly from city to city, a normal nightly drive is anywhere from 4 hours to 12 hours.
We don’t really keep count of how many books Philip passes out daily but as I try to sleep in the hot van in a puddle of sweat and with heavy music blasting from at least five different stages, every now and then I feel an empty box thump next to me or sometimes over me 😀 And at the end of the day there are sometimes six empty Bhagavad-gita, KRSNA book and Sri Isopanisad boxes, sometimes over ten. Of course we pay for the books ourselves and can’t generally give them all out for free (and that’s why we have this website – for the free downloads!) but people are happy to give a little and sometimes they’re not interested in the book but just want to support our work and give a donation. So thank you, all you sweet souls helping to make this service happen!
It’s midnight right now and I’m at a fast food restaurant’s parking lot using their free wifi to go online. There is no driving anymore for tonight and I have to stay up until morning so I can then sleep all day again to be able to drive about 10 hours tomorrow night.
If anyone feels it in their heart to send us any prayers and good wishes for a safe and successful summer tour, that would be very awesome!
These photos are just some random pics I took at the recent California Warped Tour shows. PETA says it bluntly:
A subtle tip jar sign in the booth of a band:
In conclusion, although the constant and intense heat, noise, traveling and hard work sometimes resemble a subhuman existence to me and every once in a while I yell and scream and throw things around in our poor van in frustration, I still wouldn’t want to spend my summer any other way. I actually dreamed of this tour already many months ago. There is a special aspect that I love about it – we get super absorbed in the service of book distribution and doing what we both are convinced is the greatest good we can do: to pass on the spiritual wisdom and connection we were once given. There’s nothing more satisfying to the soul than that.
Me looking like a troll and driving in the Nevada desert.
Prahlada-Nrsimha das talking about the Bhagavad-gita As It Is.