Top 10 Tips for Great Festival Photography

These day’s anyone with an iPhone and a backstage pass is a music photographer – cluttering up the stage stairs, chatting up the groupies in the artist meal tents, taking all the drink cards that ought to be reserved for honest, long-suffering magazine editors.  But next to the likes of Dan Beetley they are impostors all. This hard-working Austin lad has been snapping the scene for the last ten years and to celebrate the release of his new book “Splitting the Seconds”  he shared with An Honest Tune his top ten, pro tips on Festival Photography.

01. A cigarette in the hand is worth 2 in the mud at a winter festival; take care of your essentials.

02. Bartering becomes your currency. Where once a 2 Lt Water bottle could disguise everything from Giggle Water to Cossack Juice now, the only safe smuggle aid is a lens cleaner bottle, which goes through unchecked. Buying German beers or French waters is simply not an option for most photographers. If you can’t buy, barter. If you can’t trade, steal. There are no friends, there are only obstacles and enablers, choose your accomplices accordingly.

03. Find friends in high places, smile at the bouncer, learn his name, he’s your mate, you’re friends now. When you enter the VIP bar make him feel special and later when you arrive with three new friends, Bruce will turn a blind eye.

04. Now let’s get to work, make sure you’ve got batteries (charged overnight), film or memory cards, a fast lens or two and you are ready to roll.

05. Plan your shoots because when that tour manager you can’t remember buys you a Jack Daniel’s, and you realize it’s not only Jack Daniel’s – you’ll need a map.

06. There is always a bar more VIP than the VIP bar that you are in. This is a holding pen for groupies and hangers-on, open doors, shake hands; find out just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

07.  Sleeping is a luxury. Plans are safety nets. Live dangerously; fuck the safety net. Don’t plan where to sleep; this will get in the way of finding interesting photographs.

08.  And when you wake from that tipi, clean your teeth with that lens cleaner.

09. An after-party is always followed by an after-party or two more.

10. Leaving the festival is only the beginning of a new adventure. Get your images to your editors as fast as you can.  Drive the band to the airport for the tour manager who is missing in action.  Lie through your teeth. You’ve earnt it, after all, a picture tells a thousand words; you’re welcome to a few.

Great song to wake up to

 

 

“Sleep Through The Static”

by Jack Johnson

Trouble travels fast
When you’re specially designed for crash testing
Or wearing wool sunglasses in the afternoon
Come on and tell us what you’re trying to prove
Because it’s a battle when you dabble in war
You store it up, unleash it, then you piece it together
Whether the storm drain running rampant just stamp it
And send it to somebody who’s pretending to careJust cash in your blanks for little toy tanks
Learn how to use them, then abuse them and choose them
Over conversations relationships are overrated
“I hated everyone” said the sunAnd so I will cook all your books
You’re too good looking and mistooken
You could watch it instead
From the comfort of your burning beds
…Or you can sleep through the static

Who needs sleep when we’ve got love?
Who needs keys when we’ve got clubs?
Who needs please when we’ve got guns?
Who needs peace when we’ve gone above
But beyond where we should have gone?
We went beyond where we should have gone

Stuck between channels my thoughts all quit
I thought about them too much, allowed them to touch
The feelings that rained down on the plains all dried and cracked
Waiting for things that never came

Shock and awful thing to make somebody think
That they have to choose pushing for peace supporting the troops
And either you’re weak or you’ll use brut force-feed the truth
The truth is we say not as we do

We say anytime, anywhere, just show your teeth and strike the fear
Of god wears camouflage, cries at night and drives a dodge
Pick up the beat and stop hogging the feast
That’s no way to treat an enemy

Well mighty mighty appetite
We just eat ’em up and keep on driving
Freedom can be freezing take a picture from the pretty side
Mind your manners wave your banners
What a wonderful world that this angle can see

But who needs to see what we’ve done?
Who needs please when we’ve got guns?
Who needs keys when we’ve got clubs?
Who needs peace when we’ve gone above
But beyond where we should have gone?
Beyond where we should have gone
We went beyond where we should have gone
Beyond where we should have gone

 

Waiting on the World to Change

“Waiting On The World To Change”

by John Mayer

Me and all my friends
We’re all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing and
There’s no way we ever couldNow we see everything that’s going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it

So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

It’s hard to beat the system
When we’re standing at a distance
So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change

Now if we had the power
To bring our neighbors home from war
They would have never missed a Christmas
No more ribbons on their door
And when you trust your television
What you get is what you got
Cause when they own the information, oh
They can bend it all they want

That’s why we’re waiting
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

It’s not that we don’t care,
We just know that the fight ain’t fair
So we keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

And we’re still waiting
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting waiting on the world to change
One day our generation
Is gonna rule the population
So we keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

We keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change