2000trees is a music festival in Cheltenham, England and is one of best small festivals around. I was there working with Xtra Mile Recordings, who are celebrating their tenth birthday this year and decided to take over a stage and have a bunch of their bands come play some songs. I was juggling three roles--photography, video, and helping run the stage. Having Xtra Mile artists there as group made for an awesome crowd and some great enthusiasm. A lot of the fans camped out together, and there were some lovely moments of interactions between the bands and the crowd. The weather was perfect, and the acts were in top form.
In addition to all the action on the day, it was cool to see some of the design stuff I've done out in the world and in action. Over the past six months or so I've gotten much more into the design side of things with Xtra Mile, and so for the ten year anniversary I designed wristbands, beer matts, t-shirts, posters, and all kinds of swag. I'm pretty pleased with how it's turned out. If you walked away with something that said Xtra Mile 10 on it, that was probably me somewhere in the process.
Festivals are great as a photographer because there's so much to work with. there's changing light during the day, different music and acts, changing crowds and energy levels, and the bizarre energy of "backstage" in open fields and car parks. Some of what makes this fun is also a real challenge as a photographer--all those changes mean there's a lot to think about. That's a bigger factor when I'm doing video and photography at the same time--it's hard sometimes to pick which one to focus on in the middle of a set, or with some moment that comes together perfectly. Future video? Or a still?
One of the things I really enjoy is the interactions with the various bands, and making sure everyone is comfortable with me being there. Having spent time on the road with Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun, I was able to shoot a video (live soon, I promise) while standing on-stage and on the drum stand, getting some great footage while keeping out of the way and feeling like everyone was comfortable. That's not something that can happen with every band or at just any gig.
I took advantage of the location and the daylight to get footage with Fighting Fiction while standing in a field (trying to manage the crowd noise of a festival behind me while filming in 'the wilderness' was a bit stressful). Then with the sunlight coming in during the Xcerts early evening performance I got some shots I'm really excited about--the lighting was just perfect for photos that were mid-action but look almost like frozen time.
It was a great couple of days of music, and a good reminder that Xtra Mile has put together a wonderful community of artists. I'll be posting video soon, plus some stories of working with Larry and His Flask on their European tour. Stay safe out there and look after each other....