Belmont-based band Better Eyes was chosen to play at the Nashville stop on the Vans Warped Tour this summer.
“We were all just kind of shocked and we didn’t really believe it at first when we were invited, because we hadn’t even been a band for a year yet,” lead guitarist and Belmont sophomore Tyler Welles said.
The band played their set at the Nashville Fairgrounds on July 1. The Warped Tour is known for switching the stages and set times artists play at each stop on the tour to an unpredictable degree, but the band’s set went as unpredicted in other ways.
“We knew we were going to be playing on the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands stage, but we didn’t know what time,” Victoria Draovitch, Belmont sophomore and Better Eyes lead vocalist, said. “When we checked in at 10 a.m., they gave us our time. Our set time was originally 2:30, but it ended up being later that day due to a rain delay.”
The first fairgrounds evacuation due to rain occurred just before Better Eyes was due to hit the stage.
“We had just moved our stuff on stage and it was like, ‘Well, when the evacuation’s over, come back in, and that’s when you’ll start playing.’”
The band followed the instructions of the staff, leaving the fairgrounds with the rest of the crew and fans. To its luck, the delay was a brief 20 minutes. Better Eyes rushed back into play its set. But disaster struck again, as another evacuation was called for mid-way through the set.
“It was definitely frustrating,” Welles said, “because this was our big event to play for people who didn’t know us. When they tell you to stop mid song, it’s disappointing because you’re in your zone. You get this sinking feeling in your stomach. And then for it to happen twice is just awful.”
Despite having played their longest four-song set in the band’s history, Warped was not a bust at all for Better Eyes. After the set, the band greeted fans at its merchandise table, where it sold a record amount of T-shirts and CDs.
“Some of our Belmont friends came to see us, and they were the ones who stayed through the entire show,” Victoria said. “We really appreciated their support through the entire situation. But there were people we had met earlier that day whom we gave out stickers to who came to our show. They even later came to our Battle of the Bands show at Belmont months later; so it’s cool to see that we made fans at Warped Tour.”
This story was written by Daniel Updegraff. Photo courtesy of Facebook.