BUMBERSHITE

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Ryan
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BUMBERSHITE

Postby Ryan » Wed Sep 03, 2003 9:10 am

I'm happy to say that this was my very first Bumbershoot ever. I'm also happy to say that I will never, ever attend Bumbershite again -- not as a music fan, not as a music photographer.

The "access" extened to the working media (and I use the word "access" very loosely) was absolutely horrible. Despite working for two different publications, I was so frustrated at several points throughout the four days that I wanted to 1) punch someone in the throat 2) cry 3) scream "you fucking suck!" at everyone in the media room and 4) rip off my photo pass and light it on fire.

The industry standard for both music festivals and music photographers is "three songs and out." The area between the stage and the crowd barricade is made available to photographers for three songs, and then we are hustled out by staff. Not only is this perfectly normal, it is expected.

But I guess expecting anything at all out of Bumbershoot was where I made my first mistake...

For example:
Visqueen @ Exhibition Hall - photographers may shoot the entire set from the pit area between stage and crowd barricade.
Divorce @ Exhibition Hall (30 minutes later) - no photographers in the pit, must shoot from the crowd, which had swelled to fill nearly half the venue making it impossible to shoot from behind the barricade.
The Dead Science @ EMP - shoot from the pit, all set long.
Voyager One @ EMP - only one photographer at a time, for one song each in the pit.
Kinski @ EMP - all photographers shoot for three songs only, from the pit.
The Long Winters @ EMP - Staff wouldn't even allow me into the venue.

These are not guidelines established by the bands, they were simply made up as they festival went along. No one in the media room could explain why the policies would change from day to day, or even from set to set. Despite wanting to photograph the majority of the bands that played Ex. Hall, I finally gave up. The Thermals were the last band I saw there, and shooting from the crowd, the photos are terrible.

The only access that was not riddled with inconsistencies was the Mainstage at the stadium. Barry was a delight to work with, and I got fabulous photos of Quasi, Modest Mouse and The Shins. So, Barry, great job. Very professional and accomodating. Everyone else involved with media access to the 'Shoot, well, they can go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut.

So that's my cheery Bumbershite story...did anyone else enjoy this four day lump of crap?

A Brutaful Smile
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Postby A Brutaful Smile » Wed Sep 03, 2003 10:13 am

That is ridiculous.
There should be a set standard for the festival or at least have one set rule for each venue, not each band. That's totally ridiculous.

Does this mean you didn't even see The Long Winters?

Your experience sounds incredibly frustrating. I'm sorry to hear that Ryan.

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inverted/converted
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Postby inverted/converted » Fri Sep 05, 2003 6:47 pm

Ick! That does sound fusterating. I'm looking at some of your band photography at your website. It is stunning. I love it. How can I be able to see some Modest Mouse pictures that you took at bumbershoot? Will you put them on your site?

Love always,
Inverted...I mean converted.

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John
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Postby John » Sat Sep 06, 2003 11:14 am

Ryan, you have a permanent LW's pass. But you have to let me know where you're going to be. I can't just follow your white Hummer around town.

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eric!
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Postby eric! » Sat Sep 06, 2003 11:19 am

i personally thought bumbershoot was great. the only issues i had was the bald security guard in EMP that my friends and i dubbed the Flash Nazi - he'd quickly and efficiently get the attention of anyone shooting with a flash and inform them 'no flash' with accompanying hand motions.

i know you're a pro photographer, and i'm just some random guy with a shitty nikon digital, but i'd say you're overreacting. you're judging the entire festival based on how photography was handled by the staff? that's pretty fucked up, dude. you said you'd never attend as a music fan or photographer again... is this purely because of the photographer side of things? or was there an actual issue with the music side as well?

pretty much everything is volunteer-run. that's why passes are so inexpensive. for the cost, it's one of the best festivals around, in my opinion.

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Postby A Brutaful Smile » Mon Sep 08, 2003 2:54 pm

eric! wrote:i personally thought bumbershoot was great. the only issues i had was the bald security guard in EMP that my friends and i dubbed the Flash Nazi - he'd quickly and efficiently get the attention of anyone shooting with a flash and inform them 'no flash' with accompanying hand motions.


that's funny, since i was standing up front i know exactly who you are talking about. i saw him do that.

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Ryan
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bumbershite

Postby Ryan » Wed Sep 10, 2003 2:54 pm

eric! wrote:
i know you're a pro photographer, and i'm just some random guy with a shitty nikon digital, but i'd say you're overreacting. you're judging the entire festival based on how photography was handled by the staff? that's pretty fucked up, dude. you said you'd never attend as a music fan or photographer again... is this purely because of the photographer side of things? or was there an actual issue with the music side as well?

pretty much everything is volunteer-run. that's why passes are so inexpensive. for the cost, it's one of the best festivals around, in my opinion.


imagine if bumbershoot attendees had been denied access to shows for a continually shifting and inconsistent set of reasons. "no brown shoes. ok, brown shoes, but no people wearing glasses. red hair? you can only come in for the first three songs, and then you have to leave." get my drift? the fans would be outraged. what if they treated the volunteer staff the same way? i'm not the only photographer that was at bumbershoot that has a beef with access issues. wonder why the times and p-i ran more crowd shots than band shots? justin dylan renney, a fabulous seattle music shooter, and i explained our positions on more than one occasion to the higher-ups - and got nothing more than a shrug and "our hands are tied."

trust me, i love music more than the average superfan - seattle music is what i live for. but i was there to work, first and foremost. a lack of communication on the part of the festival organizers made that nearly impossible to do. given the opportunity in the future, i'll shoot endfest, or lollapallooza. but not bumbershoot. it may be worth every consumer dollar you spent, but it isn't worth my time.

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Ryan
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permanent LW pass

Postby Ryan » Wed Sep 10, 2003 3:01 pm

and john, that's not my white hummer driving around town.
i think it's charles peterson's.

thank you for the permanent LW pass. who do i show it to at the airport for tickets when the long winters head back to europe?

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eric!
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Postby eric! » Wed Sep 10, 2003 6:25 pm

if you're also a music fan, and you were disappointed as a professional, why not return as a music fan?

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Ryan
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Postby Ryan » Wed Sep 10, 2003 6:47 pm

because every show i attend is just as visual for me as it is aural (maybe with the exception of carissa's wierd, who don't move around a whole hell of a lot), and the camera is always with me. i can't go see my favorite bands without taking photos, whether i'm working or not.

i know what kind of photographs i can make in both less than premium and premium venues. shooting from god-knows-where in the middle of a crowd is sometimes unavoidable, but if access is offered to shoot from the stage, or the side of the stage, or between the stage and the crowd, i'm going to take it. it's usually a better shot.

bumbershoot offered access, then took it away - which is certainly their right.

but they also lose out on the publicity and free advertising that a great, well-placed bumbershoot photo (newspaper, magazine, website) can generate.

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Ryan
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Postby Ryan » Wed Sep 10, 2003 7:08 pm

that said, and all tirades aside...

i make photographs in hopes that both bands and fans will gain something, anything, from them. i'd like to think that i come away from a show not only having enjoyed the sights and sounds, but possibly having contributed a slight sense of historical perspective, or small insight, or something as equally wishy-washy and sentimental.

john, sean, eric and michael have been kind enough to allow me to shoot many, many photographs of them. i hope that they, and the throngs (throngs, i say!) of long winters fans enjoy them. i certainly enjoy being there.


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