Life is a festival

Since 2008, I have had the pleasure and honor of being able to photograph at a number of different festivals and concerts in a more serious way. It's a little difficult to describe the feeling that occurs when I'm at a festival or concert. Usually the atmosphere starts to appear in the car on the way there with loud, relevant music thundering out of the car stereo and as soon as you open the door you can hear the muted music in the distance and feel the smell of trampled grass, grilled sausages, fast food and smoking machines. The camera is charged, the memory cards are emptied, the lenses are polished and now it's only minutes before I can stand there below the stage and listen to fantastic music, maybe childhood idols and maybe get that awesome eye contact. Since I freelance and very rarely work for paid assignments, I have the privilege of being able to choose concerts that I actually appreciate myself. Sure, it could be a challenge to photograph "dance bands" or "hip hop", but in the name of honesty, it does not attract the experience becomes completely different when you know the music, the lyrics and recognize those who play. In my opinion, there will be better pictures if you like what you take. I do not know how it is for you but for me music is life. It does not matter if you are angry, sad, happy or need strength, then I find it in the music. It, like healing and healing, makes me cry, enjoy, laugh and think and be myself in some way. You may then be able to approach the feeling that arises when you get to step into the photo ditch. The base makes the trouser legs flutter and the intro ends with the artists entering the stage. In the photo ditch, you recognize a lot of people now after about 13 years and many return to festival after festival. When I stand there, I'm calm now. I feel like I'm handling the situation. In the beginning, I was more nervous and unsure of both the equipment and the lack of my knowledge and how it would actually go there in front of the stage. It can be seen in my early pictures which both have a little too high ISO or sometimes too long shutter speeds and which are sometimes snapped in the "wrong" time. But we are all beginners at some point. How completely. In the ditch, it is respect and consideration that applies, to both artists, audiences, guards and other photographers. Usually you get three songs to photograph and then at least I want to have time to take photos from both right, left and center, and with two different lenses. One to include the whole and one to take more close-ups and portraits. Now you stand there face to face with world artists and idols and now the dance begins. All photographers are extremely focused and concentrated on getting to their pictures. It clicks to the right and left of one, in the back shouts the audience, who are happy to be in the picture as well and in some almost magical way all photographers move so that everyone gets the chance to stand and photograph exactly where they want and need. On stage, the artists pose and it is pointed at the audience, photographers and it is clear that they on stage love to stand there. Every now and then you get eye contact and it feels like a kind of silence agreement that this is damn good and powerful. In a way, you are like part of the show for a while. The hunt for posing guitarists and bassists, or smiling, screaming singers who point to the fans to make them feel chosen, is underway and lasts between 10 and 15 minutes maybe. Then suddenly you are woken up from your little "fantasy world", the riot fence opens and we have to march out the same way we came. I usually hang out and take some overview photos and take photos of exciting audiences for a while and if it's a really good band, I'll of course stay the whole concert. It is important to take advantage of the breaks you can. It gets damn heavy for the shoulders to have heavy camera equipment around the neck for several hours and it takes effort to stand and walk between the scenes for a whole day. As an accredited photographer, you get access to the VIP area where there is its own bar, food and in some cases press places to sit and take care of your photos or write texts, etc. It's so nice to be here and just recharge your batteries for the next band that goes on stage. For me, it's not about drinking beer, I get as much out of concerts and festivals anyway. I can admit that I have a hard time with everything for over-refreshed people and there is plenty of it at concerts and festivals, but it is often handled nicely and many who have ingested alcohol are more than happy to be in the picture for sure. But personally, I prefer to be alert and be able to go home in my own car to be alert and in place again the next day. In the VIP area, you can also get in close contact with the artists. Not everyone, but some think it's a fair collection of fans and people to hang out with. I usually never ask to take a photo or autograph on those occasions because it does not feel quite right but sometimes it happens. I have had the good fortune to have both my children at nearby festivals and especially my son (who today is a thoroughbred metalhead) and then it has been fun to be able to ask for something special from the VIP area. But then the next group grabs attention and it's just take their pick and pack and go to the next stage. The photographers gather below one side of the stage. You chat a little and the mood increases again despite tired shoulders and sore feet. Then another work shift of 12-14 hours is over. The music has fallen silent, the audience is swaying home or towards their tents. Here and there someone stops and takes a night sausage or buys the last donut. The summer night cools and the air becomes raw. The moon peeks out and after a day, but hiking between several scenes, impressions of a lot of good bands and exciting meetings with artists, staff as well as audiences and other photographers, it should be nice to get to bed. Maybe it's a little light in the ears and the last song you heard is still playing in your head, but that's all that makes you can hardly wait until next time. /Mattias Å

Life is a festival