Farm Aid 2011

Just spent the last three days in Kansas City. Best Bar-B-Que on the planet!! Went to Arthur Bryant’s twice in 3 days. Worth the trip just to eat.

Farm Aid was very cool (even though it was hot outside). Took place in Livestrong Sporting Park (a soccer stadium) not really built for concerts, so the stage was pretty low, causing all the photographers to have to sit for most of the show. The pit was smaller than usual, with a video camera track in the middle. So, photographers had to sit on either side. My proposal was to divide the photographers into two groups, one on either side, and let them change sides in between acts. I also suggested that we leave everyone in to shoot the entire show. This suggestion was met with a little resistance, but I suggested that we try it. I gave each side a little pep talk about being civil and sharing the space, and we let it rip.

My job during the day was to shoot the concert, upload photos after every band to the Farm Aid website for media use, and upload images to Getty several times during the show. I also had to handle contest winners who paid money in an online auction to sit in the pit during their favorite act. And make sure that the press photographers worked together. If that part didn’t work, we would have had to go back to dividing the photographers into groups and only allowing people in the pit for two songs of each artist.

The process worked swimmingly!! Photographers all worked together. I had to give then a little pep talk halfway through so they shared the space equitably, but most people thought the access was fine- better than spending half the show in a holding room under the stands!

The show was great. The four main acts, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews all put on great shows, and some of the newer acts were fabulous:

Robert Francis, a Los Angeles based singer- songwriter, Will Dailey, a Boston based singer- songwriter with a great rocking band,and Rebecca Pidgeon, a Scottish actress (who is also married to David Mamet) and singer were all supurb.

One of the highlights was Willie’s son Lukas, who has the guitar chops of a seasoned blues guy with a very soulfull voice reminiscent of his father. He kicked some ass!

A good time was had by all and a lot of money was raised to help farmers!!

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