Judge Gordon Sullivan's annual harmonica festival tour never took hold.
True stories of rock & roll.
Though Sixties festivals like Woodstock and Monterey Pop will always be more legendary, the Nineties really gave birth to the idea of the touring festival. Lollapalooza, Ozz Fest, Lillith Fair, and the Vans Warped Tour all sprung up and had their biggest success in the 1990s. In large part due to changes in music popularity, audience expectations, and rising gas prices, these tours became less feasible in the twenty-first century. Many of the more famous festivals shut down or stopped touring (staying in one place allows for significant cost savings), but the Vans Warped Tour has been bringing its brand of punk-populism to stops across America since 1995. To commemorate its fifteenth year, the people behind the tour compiled a whole mess of footage shot during the 2010 tour and whittled it down into a 100-minute film that gives fans access to their favorite bands, the people who make the tour possible, and fellow fans. Though it's not a bad documentary, it's aimed at the Warped Tour faithful and will likely not play outside that demographic.
No Room for Rockstars is all about fly-on-the-wall video documents of the tour. Small DV cameras and an all-access pass make for a documentary that's equal parts band interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and a fan's perspective on the craziness that goes on between the dozens and dozens of bands that play a stop on the tour. The main focus is on members of Suicide Silence, Never Shout Never, and Mike Posner. In addition to their thoughts, we see all the work it takes to pull off the tour.
I've been to my fair share of festivals through the years, and even helped a few bands with setup and take down. Still, I had no idea just how much blood, sweat, and tears goes into a logistical nightmare the size of the Warped Tour. However, after watching No Room for Rockstars, I have a much greater appreciation for what it takes to get that many people in one place, get multiple stages setup, and ensure that everyone who comes has enough room to be safe, hydrated, and sanitary. Hopefully, fans of the tour will find themselves similarly impressed with all that goes on for their benefit.
It's also nice to see the fairly heroic efforts of the bands involved. Obviously, we don't see everything that everyone does, but the ones we do see seem to go out of their way to make sure fans have a good time. Long hours, grueling drives, and dedicated performances are just the tip of the iceberg for those performing at the festival. We also get to hear their thoughts on the music, the fans, and the experience of being a part of something that (in many cases) was started when the performers weren't even in school yet.
Finally, the fans. As either a document for those who were there or a vicarious way of experiencing it for those who weren't, No Room for Rockstars understands that the Vans Warped Tour lives and breathes because of the dedication of the music fans who show up. As such, we get footage shot by fans and footage of fans enjoying their favorite bands.
As a DVD, No Room for Rockstars hits the mark with a decent standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Shot mostly on consumer-level looking equipment, No Room was never gonna look great, but what's here is fine. Detail is a bit all over the place, as is color saturation. Black levels are decent, though, and no serious compression artifacts show up to mar the presentation. The Dolby 5.1 Surround is fine, with no distortion or imbalances. Some of the interview material can be a bit spotty, but it's a problem with the source, not this track.
The main extra is 90 more minutes of footage divided into sections by band. These could easily have been put into the main feature and include interview and performance material. The film's trailer is also included. A second disc is a CD with the Vans Warped Tour Greatest Hits, including tracks by everyone from Suicidal Tendencies to Pennywise.
No Room for Rockstars doesn't have much to offer those who aren't terribly interested in the 2010 Warped tour. On a technical level, it would be nice to have more performances, since that's what the tour is all about. Also, from an organizational standpoint, it might have been nice to focus on a single stop on the tour to give a complete picture rather than the scattershot approach here. Also, if you're not interested in the 2010 bands, then you're out of luck. For all the talk of history and continuity in the Warped tour literature, a greater focus on the history of the tour and more of the older bands involved would have been appreciated.
No Room for Rockstars will likely appeal to the Vans Warped Tour faithful with its mix of band interviews and behind-the-scenes information. For everyone else, though, this disc is worth a rental at best if you want to know what it takes to mount a serious tour.
Not guilty. Rock on!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
• Bonus Footage
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