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Harbourlife 2013

Mar 19

Now that summer is officially over and the morning chill is creeping back into the air, I thought it would be a good time to look back and reminisce over a few summer festivals. It all kicked off with Harbourlife, the Sydney harbour dance party that is a favourite amongst many in the electronic music scene. The 2013 event had a good amount of sunshine (previous years it has had temperatures in the high 30’s or blustering southerly winds) as well as good atmosphere, good music and an amazing location. I’ll let the pictures tell the story this time…







Touch Sensitive and his crew.










Art Department

Jacques Lu Cont

Listen Out Sydney

Oct 03

The inaugural Listen Out festival happened in Sydney last weekend, and it seems that festival formerly known as Parklife just needed to change it’s name in order to get some nice sunny weather! Four out of the last five Parklife’s in Sydney have been overcast and rainy. So I took the opportunity to go to town on the late afternoon sunshine shots.


Azealia Banks seemed to be rockin’ the house, but left the stage after only 20 minutes into her performance. She is known to be temperamental, but  in her defense, I did notice a few cups or cans being flung her way. Someone in the crowd was fishing for a reaction perhaps?

Disclosure hit the stage and set the crowd on fire (pun definitely intended). They seemed much more relaxed with being on a festival stage than when I last saw them at Field Day 9 months earlier. Solid performance.

I went up on a boom lift to get photographs of the massive crowd. It was a fantastic view from up there!

Round One of Listen Out is over. Looking forward to Round Two in Melbourne and Brisbane this weekend!

Sounds of the Suburbs 2013

Sep 23

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything on thefestivalphotographer.com. I guess I’ve been in hibernation over the winter months. But I couldn’t resist crawling out from under my blankie for the Sound of the Suburbs festival held at Cronulla over the weekend.

I have lived in the Sutherland Shire for the most part of my life and music events here have been very few and far between. So it was really great to see a festival in Cronulla that really got things right.

Wilbar Lane,  a small laneway behind El Sol and the Youth Hostel in Cronulla, was host to the event. It was a glorious day, and the sun beamed directly in for the most of the afternoon.





Art and grafitti were everywhere to be seen.

And here was some artwork of a local flavour.

Chance Water was fantastic, in spite of a few technical difficulties during his set.


The crowd was remarkably fashionable and well-behaved.


Things got a bit out of control in the Mad House. My camera lens sweated up after just half a minute in there. Picture a band playing in a room the size of your bedroom with about forty sweaty dudes head banging and thrashing around in there. That pretty well sums it up.


The Lazys were another highlight – Aussie rock at it’s best.







The Bleeding Knees Club pulled a good crowd that were happily moshing away (a lone policeman tried to tap a few people on the shoulder to tell them to behave – his efforts were in vain).


To sum things up, this small, boutique festival felt like you were at a house party that had spilt out onto the streets. Beers were reasonably priced, the music was well-selected and the crowd was amicable. It was all the things I like about festivals without the crowds, shirtless dudes and expensive tickets. Lets hope there’s another one!

 

SXSW 2013

Mar 26

In my adventures of 2013, I managed to get myself along to the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. As a first timer, I was somewhat overwhelmed with the sheer size of this event – you couldn’t cram more music related events into 5 days if you tried. Over 2000 bands, industry folk and music fans alike take over the streets of Austin for 5 days of music showcases, live gigs and panels. It takes a few days to get your bearings really. Nonetheless, my time in Austin was brief, so I charged ahead for two full days of all things music.

I got to the Austin convention centre nice and early for the keynote speech by Dave Grohl and scored a seat in the second row. Before the speech, we were treated to a music showcase by the very talented Black Violin. They were epic – the best of classical and rock music in one.

Black Violin

Black Violin

Next up, the charismatic, charming and very funny Dave Grohl took the stage. He had big shoes to fill – The Boss was the keynote speaker for the previous SXSW. And he delivered. He recounted his lifetime of music through a series of hilarious anecdotes, starting with the first time he heard Edgar Winters “Frankenstein” when he “gave it all up for a fuckin riff”. He continued on to give a demo of his home bedroom two-track method, which included two tape decks, two tapes and some lo-fi guitar and vocals. Then there were the Kurt days – you could have heard a pin drop in that room when he spoke about the tragic passing of Kurt and losing all motivation to make music. Then one day, the passion to make music returned and he went out and singlehandedly made the first Foo Fighters album. H also spoke about his latest endeavour, a directorial debut on the documentary “Sound City”.

Grohl’s closing words revolved around finding, cherishing and nurturing your voice in music – the musician comes first.

Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl

As I was leaving the keynote speech, I came across Australian songstress Emma Louise doing a music showcase in convention centre. Her atmospheric and waify music was just a little too mellow for me after the excitement of the keynote speech, but nonetheless I stuck around for a few dreamy moments.

Emma Louise

 

Next up were the MTV Woodie awards, where it became very apparent that it was Spring Break time. Funnily enough, the first band that I saw play here were a bunch of Aussies named Atlas Genius. They were fortunate to have a massive crowd for their set, not something that every SXSW performance is blessed with (I heard that 360 did a set to around 20 people the previous night).

Atlas Genius

Atlas Genius

There was some random bitches and hoes stuff going on on one of the stages – sounded pretty terrible to me.

Lots of kiddies were running around indulging in free Doritos, Reese pieces and alcoholic beverages. Big companies really seem to have muscled in on the marketing opportunities presented by SXSW.

Alt-J did a set in the searing afternoon heat. I felt like their chilled blend of electronic, ambient music would have had more impact in a dark, moody indoor environment, but I was still glad to finally get a glimpse of what all the fuss was about.

Alt-J

Alt-J

6th street was abuzz with people and music throughout the whole festival.


 

I’m going to apologise in advance here for all the Ryan Lewis & Macklemore pics. In the two nights I was at SXSW I caught them twice and both times they were incredible. Macklemore has so much energy onstage, and it was a real treat to see the guest performers who sing all the catchy hooks in their songs.

Ryan Lewis

Ryan Lewis & Macklemore

Macklemore

Wanz came in to do his “I’m gonna pop some tags” line for “Thrift Shop”.

Wanz

And Mary Lambert did her part in the song “Same Love”.

Mary Lambert

Macklemore

Owour Arunga – trumpet player with Ryan Lewis & Macklemore

Later over that evening I headed over to Viceland for some rasta vibes at Lionfest. It was the reincarnated Snoop Lion’s comeback gig. I got there too late to see Major Lazer, but I caught the other support act, a Jamacian dude by the name of Mavado.

Mavado

I must say, the new Snoop was much the same as old snoop – he still had his hot lady dancers and “Snoop Dog” diamonte encrusted microphone. He just threw the word “rastafari” into his rhymes a whole lot more.

Snoop Lion

Snoop Lion

Snoop Lion and Mavado

 

The next day, I got to the convention centre early to see a panel about Australian and Kiwis making music and how they have made an impact internationally. It featured a number of esteemed music  journalists and band/label mangers. There was a lot of discussion about bands needing tour in the US (and not just do one show at SXSW) to get a US fan base and crack to US market.

“Wild About You” panel

Later in the day, I took some time out from bands to see the sights of Austin. The weather was beautiful, and I stopped for lunch at this pub on South Congress.

Austin is a beautiful city – and what better way to see it than in a bike taxi?

 

I spent the afternoon at Red 7, seeing some bands of the indie variety. I saw “Merchandise” and “Parquet Courts”, two indie rock bands that had good energy and were fun to watch.

Merchandise

Parquet Courts

Something definitely needs to be said here about the queues to get into gigs at SXSW. When I left Red 7, the queue to get in was out the door and around the corner. This was a pretty typical scene. If you ever get to head along to SXSW, be prepared to have to wrangle your way in, or have some extreme wait times in queues. It is a shitfight, make no mistake.

Next up, I headed over to Auditorium Shores stage for a big outdoor concert featuring Jim James and The Flaming Lips. It was a lovely afternoon.

Jim James is one unique character,that rocks out to his own phsycadelic beat.

Jim James

He kept placing his hand on this golden bear at the back of stage and having meditation moments throughout the set.

Jim James and his golden bear

Jim James

As for the Flaming Lips, I didn’t get to photograph them due to some ridiculous first in best dressed policy for the first twenty photographers in the photo pit. Ah well, it’s probably better I don’t spoil it for you – Wayne Coyne will no doubt be touring his wacky new show in Australia soon enough.

 

Last but not least, I headed to the Clive bar for an energetic evening of Andrew W.K. and Ryan Lewis and Macklemore. It was a really small venue and stage – I felt like I was almost on the stage. Andrew W.K’s set was wild- all I can say about it is “Party, Party, Party!”

Andrew W.K’s wife Cherie Lily

Crowdsurfer

Andrew W.K.

Andrew W.K.

Macklemore

Owour Arunga – trumpet player with Ryan Lewis & Macklemore

Well that about sums up my whirlwind two day experience at SXSW. Needless to say I slept well on my 15 hour flight home to Sydney. Overall, SXSW was great – I loved the 24-hour non-stop experience of all things music. But a word of caution – it is BIG, and if you want to go to the popular gigs you need to plan ahead,wait in line and potentially not get in. Bernard Zuel sums up the experience well in his SMH article here: “so many good moments, some have to be missed.”

BIG HOT DAY OUT 2013

Jan 21

What a day to be out at Homebush for a music festival – Sydney’s hottest day EVER (on record). In spite of the heat, the Big Day Out charged on, complete with bikini clad teenagers and shirtless lads.

 


Grinspoon were an early highlight – Phil Jameson was in good form.



 


Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gable) of Against Me! I couldn’t figure out if this singer was male or female. The answer is that she’s a bit of both – male turned female.

 

Kids were cooling off at every opportunity.


I don’t know where these guys got the energy for skipping, but hats off!


Just sunbaking in the 37 degree heat, as you do!

This young fellow was unfortunate enough to cop an elbow in the nose for an enthusiastic dancer in the crowd. He was incredibly good about it – there were no complaints as the St John’s ambulance crew cleaned him up. Speaking of which, the St John’s crew did a fantstic job treating all the people with heat stroke and other festival related ailments.

 


Jeff the Brotherhood rocking out.


 


Liliypad whackiness.



Lucha Va Voom had some interesting burleesque and wrestling acts going on.


 


Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were fantastic. Karen O is such an entertaining and charismatic frontwoman, and man, can she wail!




The main arena starts to pack out for the headliners.

At 9:00, out came the main headliners, Red Hot Chilli Peppers. I wasn’t too sure what to expect – all reports were that their performance in Sydney a few years back was terrible. This was not the case at their 2013 Big Day Out performance. Kiedis still had an amazing energy about him and seeing Flea’s slap bass up close and personal was a sight to behold. They pretty much did a “greatest hits” set that left the crowd very happy.


Anthony Kiedis.


Flea.


Josh Klinghoffer, Chilli Peppers guitarist since 2009.





It took me a few days to recover from the heat of Big Day Out 2013, but I’m very glad to say that I can now tick seeing Red Hot Chilli Peppers off the list!

 

PARKLIFE FESTIVAL TOUR 2012

Nov 08

It’s always hard to condense a whole festival tour consisting of 5 shows across the country into one blog post. But here goes…

Allaleujah. After 5 years of rainly skies at Sydney Parklife, there was finally some SUN and BLUE SKIES! Let’s face it, trying to watch some of your favourite artists in the pouring rain is not really that fun (unless you’ve had a lot to drink). So it was fantastic to see (and photograph) the Parklife festival as it should be – a truly spectacular introduction to the festival season.

 

Adelaide had some pretty good weather too. I went up in a scissor lift to photograph the crowd.

 

Punters.


 

A few friends turned up to say hi:


 

More punters.


 

Rizzle Kicks go off in the Sydney sunshine.

 

Chiddy Bang is the eternal crowd pleaser.



 

What can I say about the Bondi Hipsters? These comedians turned djs were an endless source of laughter and entertainment for me throughout the tour. Check out some of their videos online if you haven’t heard of them. It’s well worth it.


 

I’ve been a big fan of Hermitude for years. They have absolutely killed it with their latest album Hyperparadise – it’s fantastic to see them doing so well. Their live show was great too.



 

Afternoon sun.


 

Caroline from Chairlift.

 

Passion Pit streamer explosion. Wooo!





Party times in the photo pit.

 

Robyn is incredible. Her dance moves are amazing and like no other. She is a pop queen and an awesome lady.


 

The much anticipated return of The Presets didn’t disappoint. Their new stuff is a bit more “grown-up” than than last few albums, but there’s still enough anthemic dance tracks in there to keep the festival crowds pumped. They were also doing the oldies, usually with a new twist. Very cool.



 

Nero’s live set picked up the party, but was pretty much the same as their Big Day Out set earlier this year. So don’t be too disappointed if you missed their set.



 

Justice did a simple dj set that as always, left their loyal cult fans doing the cross salute.


 

Crowd pics.




 

And finally, what an epic afteparty. Robyn had dance offs with pretty much everyone (and of course won).

 

Charlie XCX and Robyn. The two awesome ladies that rock out in their platform shoes.

That wraps up another top Parklife tour. Already looking forward to next year 🙂

Encore at the Opera House

Mar 29

I reccently photographed Encore at the Opera House, which is is the annual showcase of outstanding performances and compositions by Higher School Certificate Music students. Performances were given by some amazingly talented vocalists, instrumentalists and composers. Here’s some of my favourite pics.










Big Day Out – Behind the Scenes

Mar 26

I’ve already posted these pics on Facebook, but I thought it would be nice to give them a whirl on my blog as well.

The following pics were taken at various cities on the Big Day Out tour 2012. They are a mix of portraits and behind the scenes photos of people I was working with on the Big Day Out tour.

Usually when I work on festivals, I am running around shooting artist, crowd and punter shots all day. So it was nice this time to point the lens at some of the BDO crew and document their backstage activities. It meant that I ended up with a nice little photo album of the tour. Enjoy.



















Field Day 2012

Mar 06

As I look out my window at the rainy sky, I can’t help but think about how much rain we’ve had this summer. It’s already Autumn and I feel like summer never really happened!

However amidst all of the rain and clouds, there was the occasional perfect sunny day. New Year’s Even 2012 was one of them.

I’ve photographed Field Day for the past 5 years, and this year was the first time in awhile that the weather was not to hot, not too cold, not too windy, but just right. The perfect blue skies were a blessing after weeks of clouds.

Spank Rock was an early crowd pleaser.

Hippie vibes was the flavour of some festival fashion.


Calvin lover.

The Justice lovers took their place in the crowd early. RIP to dj Mehdi, who would most likely have been palying at Field Day had he not passed away in a tragic accident last year.

Briana Bluebell doing her quality burleque act.

Space women.

Mentronomy.

Gotye.

The Fuzzy crew and Justice – they go way back.

Afternoon light.

Jack Beats.

Some shots I took from up in the boom lift.


Justice premiering their new live set.

The weather was fine, the music was great and fun was had by all. Twas a great way to kick off the New Year.

Shore Thing 2011-2012, NYE Bondi Beach

Jan 05

For the sixth year in a row, I spent my New Year’s Eve photographing Shore Thing at Bondi Beach. It seems almost as though it’s a rite of passage for backpackers and 18 year olds to spend at least one NYE at Bondi Beach, and this was certainly reflected in the Shore Thing crowd. Excited youngsters with RTDs in hand were everywhere to be seen. After doing a quick round of social snaps, I quickly shifted my focus from photographing people to shooting crowd, lighting and artists.


I must say, whoever was in charge of production and lighting at the venue did an amazing job this year – everywhere I turned there was something photo worthy.


The ever-charismatic Snoop Dog and his thirty-person entourage put on a crowd pleasing show.






At five to midnight I scrambled to get into a good position for the fireworks.


Calvin Harris brought in the New Year with a dj set that I unfortunately was too busy to watch.


Pendulum were the definite highlight of the evening for me. Their drum ‘n’ bass cross heavy rock music went off with a bang. Amazing visuals, fantastic stage production and an energetic performance from the band made for a really exciting, in your-face live show. Looking forward to the next time I see them.