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Rockin’ on the Big Stage

Local band performs as part of Vans Warped Tour.

Through the mud, grass, gravel and sweat sat a local band just waiting to make another step toward stardom. The band, Adelyn, had its own tent set up at the 2006 Vans Warped Tour to promote its album, merchandise and most of all, the band members' hard work.

Adelyn has played the Warped Tour before, but each year it gets a little more exciting, said Dan Mineart, the band’s bass guitarist from Burke. Each Warped Tour is different, he said, because of the way each venue is laid out and the different crowds each show attracts. Warped Tour, a touring music show featuring modern rock and punk bands, has traveled across the U.S. every summer since 1994. Adelyn has played four East Coast dates this year, and wrapped things up with its final show at Nissan Pavilion, Thursday, Aug. 10.

“It’s exposure like no other,” said Mineart, a Lake Braddock graduate. “It’s just a lot of really interesting people all in one place.”

The four band members all met at James Madison University in Harrisonburg. Some of them have since graduated, but they still live in the college town and enjoy playing small venues there.

For the band, Aug. 10 began with rain, providing a muddy venue full of teenagers wearing skimpy clothing and plenty of tattoos. So many teenagers were in attendance that Nissan Pavilion limited its beer service to a small, fenced-in area near the front entrance and far from any of the six stages set up there. But Adelyn’s four band members, all of whom are in their early to mid-20s, said they’re happy to have whatever fans come their way.

“We get to meet a lot of new people and get a lot of exposure [at Warped Tour],” said Justin Turner, Adelyn’s drummer from Franklin, Va. “That’s what it’s all about.”

IN THE AREA of the show called “tent world,” bands set up shop and spoke to passing rock fans. Some tents had long line with anxious music fans waiting for autographs, and others sat unnoticed or empty. Adelyn’s tent was full of the band’s loyal friends, girlfriends and “groupies.”

“We go to as many shows as we can,” said Jessica Fortune, Turner’s girlfriend. “I just get really proud of him when he’s up there.”

“I see how hard they work; I want them to make it so bad,” said Courtney Fortune, Jessica’s sister and also the girlfriend of J.K. Royston, Adelyn’s other guitarist.

The band wants to make it big too. They’re not just a bunch of college students playing in a band to pass the time away. Royston said performing in a show like Warped Tour could be a huge boost to their success. From the young teens looking for new music to the older fans who came to see old school punk bands like NOFX or ska bands like Less Than Jake, everyone walking through the mud at Warped Tour is a potential Adelyn fan.

“There’s so many kids here just looking for something new to get into,” said Royston. “They come to see their favorite band and find new favorites along the way.”

AS THE MEMBERS of Adelyn played their set, several people did stop and listen for a while. Collin Leslie was on his way to see a band playing on a nearby stage when he paused to check Adelyn out. “They’re pretty good,” he said, as he nodded his head to their sounds.

“It’s all about the rock-n-roll,” said Ryan Perrish, lead vocalist for Adelyn. “There’s nothing like having hundreds of people singing your songs back at you.”

While the band played the East Coast Independent Stage, their friends shouted back at them and danced to their indy-rock sounds. Perrish’s melodic vocals didn’t miss a tune, even as the band fought to play over the sounds coming from the stage next door. Very little space existed between the two stages, and the crowd overlapped into both areas. But the band’s friends screamed and cheered for them as they played about a half-hour set.

“We’re pullin’ for them,” said J.C. Clement, a friend of the band’s from JMU. “They’re good guys. They match up really well.”

At the end of the show, Mineart said the stage they played was especially difficult because of the overlap in sound from the stage right next to them. Band members kept hearing echoes and had trouble hearing their own sounds. But Mineart said it’s all part of the show. Some venues are set up better than others, and he said they have to take it for what it is. Since they’re still on their quest to stardom, they aren’t picky about simple things like stage placement at a large, well-attended show.

“We try to play pretty much anything that comes our way,” said Royston. “It’s all about the crowd; it’s the mood.”