So, I shot my first festival yesterday, up in Sheffield, and rather than being the usual pit affair that I'd expected, I wound up volunteering to also take some shots for Bench (scoring Gemma a free hoodie and myself a t-shirt in the process) and thus also gain backstage access to the artists. Which meant I was also shooting backstage for the organisers too.
So quite apart from divided loyalties, it meant I wasn't shooting 11 bands in 10 minute bursts, I was shooting 11 bands constantly, in three different places. Sure, it was punctuated by periods of sitting around stealing bits of the backstage rider doing nothing, but it also meant that I was shooting from 12pm through to nearly 10pm.
Honestly, it was a great experience and nice to get so much access. Also interesting to see how things work and which stars were down to earth (hats off, in particular, to Pixie Lott who was an absolute delight in every respect, even going so far as to sign autographs for a seemingly endless horde of fans through the backstage barrier) and which were more demanding.
It was also interesting to see that contrary to popular opinion, the package tour isn't dead. This festival was what that was, a bunch of current and upcoming acts doing 15 minutes each. It soon became evident that a lot of the acts doing this knew each other because they were doing the same circuit, talking about the same shows ("Oh, that one was a nightmare, the tape failed and the drummer didn't notice... you doing Leeds tomorrow?") and experiencing the same indignities at the hands of local press. (One can only imagine that Girls Can't Catch were ruing their name as an interviewer threw pens to each of them in turn to scientifically examine their central hypothesis), most acts grinning and bearing it with good humour.
The corporate bit for Bench was interesting for me too - trying to get non-dull yet well branded shots. I think I did OK on that front, but I won't hear from them for a few days, I don't expect. Then I'll get some shots across to them and see what they think. I'd imagine they'll make their website.
I have never been so tired. Finally processed my shots at 3:30 this morning. I'm doing a three dayer next weekend. Wish me luck...
A few shots from the day, then...
Here's Pixie Lott signing autographs for a grateful horde of fans.
A couple of Girls Can't Catch for Bench
There are plenty more for the curious on my Flickr. Even more still if you're on my friends & family list.