After so many years of photographing concerts, from small clubs to 40,000 arenas, I finally got the go by my client to cover the main stage of a major festival at IleSoniq this year. It wasn’t expected (I have only been hired by Evenko to cover their main festivals for 3 years – this being my third), it wasn’t planned (I told them I’d be happy to cover secondary stages), but I guess it was earned as they gave me the go just before the festival.
While covering festivals is a challenge, the main stage had it’s own set of unique … obstacles. When at the small stages, things are more accessible. You can pretty much pop in when you want, you can meet the artists before and plan a few shots, access on stage is somewhat easy as well. But the big stage? Evenko had a new stage setup this year. Not only is the stage (used for Osheaga main stage as well) almost 9 feet tall, for their EDM festival, they added another platform on top of the stage that was a good 15 feet high. The front of the platform being a video wall, which was amazing for fan visuals.
The real fun was being up top with the artists. It is easy to be in the way up there, to be too close, to be too visible. We had little room to move, but yet, still had to get the best shots possible. On top of the small spaces, you don’t want to be seen too often. Lingering up top not only breaks the visual for the fans, but you are also in the artist’s bubble a bit too long.
It was a trip. It was fun. I learned a bunch in dealing with top artists, their management, and last minute curve balls thrown my way – “you know that 5 minutes we said we’d give you on stage? Well, sorry, stage closed”.
I think the biggest highlight for me was getting a message from my cousin who said that an artist couldn’t make it and that his group Black Tiger Sex Machine was taking the stage at 6pm! From playing legos as kids to playing and photographing music in front of 20k people.
Here are some of my fave shots of the 2 days. Mostly main stage, a pit stop on day 1 at the Neon stage in the forest (always so fun to shoot in the trees!)
And how can I forget the fans? From the funky costumes, the bright colours… once I would stop and take a fan shot in the pit, I woudn’t be able to leave without taking another dozen.