Tuesday Viewsday XVII

Les (2009)

Les (2009)

This past weekend was Memorial Day and, here in central Illinois, that means that Summer Camp Music Festival has come and gone for another year. I have to say that I was a little upset I didn’t get to go this time around, but I thought I’d share some fond memories of good music and crazy hippies with all of you.

A few years ago, my good buddy, Big Steve, asked me to help him and our other buddy, Dude (yes, that’s really his name) with parking RVs at Summer Camp. While I wasn’t too excited about the idea at the time, I thought a break from work was in order and signed myself up. I didn’t realize at the time that this would really launch my career as a live music photographer, but it did.

With my brand new Nikon D40X over my shoulder, I headed out on a Thursday morning to park RVs… and what a sweet gig it was! We had a golf cart to ride around on and became the coolest guys (or so we thought) in the entire place. After that first day, we took some time to relax and catch some of the acts. We spent most of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday driving around in the cart, watching bands right next to the stage.

Willie in Red (2009)

Willie in Red (2009)

The best part, thought, was Saturday evening when Dude drove by the campsite we were in and told us to get in his golf cart. We headed down through the woods and into the backstage area for Les Claypool! We got to hang out, drink beer, and then stand on the stage as Les played. When I thought it couldn’t get any better, Dude threw a photographer pass around my neck and shoved me down into the press pit.

I thought things couldn’t get any cooler until Sunday night when all of us got to go backstage for Willie Nelson and Los Lobos. We were all front row when the show started, but again, Dude pushed me into the press pit and while I shot for the first few minutes, I decided to get out of the way and just sit on top of the speaker at Willie’s feet to watch the show, snapping an occasional photo here and there.

As you can see, the images I came away with were some of the most inspiring and helped set my feet firmly in the live music genre for photography and the memories I walked away with are as vivid today as they were on that hot, dusty day in May three years ago.

Now it’s your turn… got any cool live music stories, photography-related or otherwise, to share? Drop me a story!

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