Bluesfest Through the Lense

Hawaiian Ukulele sensation Jake Shimabukuro

“3 songs only” they said as we entered the media tent behind the scenes at Byron Blues Festival, “and wear this purple vest”.

This year’s Blues Festival I saw from a fresh perspective, as far as my festival experiences go. Donning my Photographer wristband I accessed backstage and entered a new realm as part of the Northern Rivers Loop Team.

Walking into the well equipped media tent I was blown away by the gear scattered on the tables and the buzz of the creatives that belonged to it. Cameras and laptops, chargers and cables, coffee and whiteboards...oh and I must mention the lenses! Serious lense envy happened as I ambled in bravely with my modest 28-200mm into this new world not knowing where to look first.  

“This is one well oiled machine” I thought as we heard the drill. The whiteboard was displaying the next available performances to go shoot from the pit as they gave us the rundown, “First 3 songs only, be here 20 minutes before the act starts, grab a purple vest, get escorted in side of stage, and out immediately after the 3rd song (sometimes less when there are a heap of photographers).” 

Feeling slightly overwhelmed but excited I considered just easing into this zone, you know, get a feel for the festival and then make my way to the pit...maybe, because you know those lenses are slightly intimidating.

Next minute...
“Who is in for the next artist at Crossroads Stage?”
Hand goes up! Ermmm my hand’s in the air, and off we go.

Boom, there I was next minute metres from gospel legend Mavis Staples leading the set with For What It’s Worth ( “Stop... what’s that sound, everybody knows what’s going down” vibrating powerfully through my very core as I stood inches from the speakers.

That’s all it took, and I was hooked!

“Jimmy Buffet?” Yes!
Billy Bragg? Jake Shimabukuro? Nahko and Medicine for the People? Vintage Trouble? 
Yes! Yes! Yes!

Vintage Trouble ignite the stage
Festivals tend to transform you, you find yourself becoming one with your new world and soaking up the good vibrations as the human electricity and flow grows with each new day. The 28th Blues Festival was no different. If your boots are dusty, you have successfully timed your window of opportunity at the bar and rubbed shoulders with a few strangers or celebrities and in my case captured a few amazing shots, then it’s been a great day.

My festival experience behind the lense was other worldly and full of moments that will be etched in my heart forever and remembered through the hundreds of images I was lucky enough to capture in the moment. 

In the words of explosive performer Nikki Hill “Backstage is like a Rock ‘n’ Roll fantasy camp, especially seeing such a female presence around has been incredible” 

"Mane of Fire"
Nahko and Medicine for the Peoples Bass guitarist Pato


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