concert photography, Foo Fighters, gig photography, Imelda May, Isle of Wight Festival, Jeff Beck, Kasabian, Kings of Leon, Live Music, Music, music photo contracts, music photographer restrictions, photo restrictions, photographer, Photography, Pixie Lott, professional photographer, Pulp, Stornaway, Two Door Cinema Club
Logistically, this festival is a nightmare; it’s on the island so there are limited ways to get there and it’s miles from all the ports. I’ve never been so I snapped up a late accreditation which of course meant all the nearby hotels were fully booked and the others I enquired at asked for “silly money”.
Travelling a distance every day by public transport (I am determined where possible to travel by as environmentally friendly means possible) required a few compromises, the first of which was not taking a ladder (more on this later). My hotel was in Portsmouth and I would travel back and forth on the Portsmouth-Ryde ‘fastcat” (this was still cheaper than the Isle hotels quoted).
Arriving on the Friday, the first band I photographed were the openers on the main stage “Big Country”.
The rest of the afternoon was spent shooting acts on the “Big Top” Stage or in the media centre, leaving fairly early as I would not be shooting “Kings of Leon”. I particularly enjoyed “Imelda May”; her performance, style and music went down really well.
Weather-wise, Saturday was by far the best day and again I started on the main stage with “Stornaway” and spent the day being ferried between the 2 stages, the hi-lights were really;
I finished off the day on a high with “Pulp” (Jarvis Cocker really on form).
Sunday was awful wind and rain (at times torrential rain). With heavy coats and plenty of plastic wrapped around the camera in a vain attempt to protect it I went out to the main stage to shot James Walsh. It’s now i regretted not bringing a ladder. The stages at festivals are very high, usually with a camera platform in front at half the height for the TV guys. This makes a ladder quite important but the trouble it I absolutely hate shooting from one because I feel far less mobile (ok, it’s not that hard to get down, pick it up and move it but it is far less fluid). However on this day, my lens was just above the camera deck which the rain was bouncing off and the wind was blowing straight into my face (lens).
The rest of the day was just as bad and after shooting “Two Door Cinema Club”, “Jeff Beck” and “Pixie Lott” I decided to call it a day (not just because of the rain).
The headliners on Sunday were “Kasabian” but before them were 2 bands I wanted to shoot but decided not to due to restrictions imposed. One band restricted any images that we shot were only to be used for up to 60 days. That is fine for a newspaper but for a photographer working for a news agency it is far too restrictive (and very difficult to manage). The second band required all photographers to forward CD’s of all the images within 3 days so they could use them for free. It could be argued that this is fair enough and had the manager walked in or phoned and asked politely for a few I would have no doubt sent a couple over but adding this into a legal contract it just struck me that this well known band did not want to pay for a photographer to supply images for their website (or merchandise).
I would have therefore been in the position of sitting around for a couple of hours in a wet tent and paying out for another night in a hotel to shoot one band. One of the measures I watch very carefully is the “production cost per image” which includes all expenses, business costs per day, equipment etc etc. Had I stayed another night, the “cost per image” for this weekend would have increased dramatically. That couple with the rain is why I left.
Whilst on the subject of contracts, it was imposed restrictions on press agencies that led me to not shooting “Kings of Leon” (who always restrict agencies) or “Foo Fighters” (up until an hour before we were expecting to shoot them).
So there it is, coverage of a 3 day music festival with no headline acts…