I have always been a huge live music fan. As a high school student growing up in Chicago, there wasn't a summer weekend when I wasn't seeing a band in the city. Still to this day, I am consistantly watching my radar of when the next good band comes to town in anticipation of seeing them. So when our Daily Republic Tailwind editor Nick DeCicco approached me about trying to get press passes to this year's Outside Lands Music Festival, I was all about it. Getting them wasn't a guarantee, but it was worth a shot.
About two weeks before the show, we got the word that we had been approved and we started making our plans for the three day show. I have shot a couple big concerts before but nothing of this magnitude. So when I arrived after navigating the BART system, it took me a while to take it all in. The festival consisted of five music stages scattered throughout Golden Gate Park in downtown San Francisco. I wanted to show a variety of the acts that would be performing so Nick and I roughly planned out which acts we wanted to see and have me photograph. The festival organizers were very helpful towards the press, extending complementry food and beer but very firm in their rules when it came to shooting the musicians. Every band was accessible to shoot during their performance but the photographers would only have access to the front photo pit (infront of the audience front row seating) for the first three songs of a set. This was awesome and at the same time could be frustrating. Because of the very short amount of time, I had to join the scrum of photographers shooting frantically and try to get as many usable images as possible. Your constantly shooting, moving around, dodging other shooters and fighting for a good shooting angle. It was chaos but a hell of a lot of fun to be apart of. There is something to be said of experiencing a concert inches from the band members performing on stage. The festival was a gathering for celebration and it provided an endless supply of enthusiastic people and good photo opportunities. It was an experience I won't soon forget. -Mike
Check out more photos at our new media gallery at http://www.photo.dailyrepublic.net/?p=386