Last week, the Pitchfork Festival took place in Chicago. Three days of 90+ heat and music from noon to 10PM in a dusty field! Can’t think of a better event to not go to!! And I almost made it. Then….. a client asked me to shoot one band at Pitchfork. Luckily, they were the last band on the last day. So I made my plans to shoot Pavement, the legendary California band that was making a comeback after being “on hiatus” for many years. They were going on at 8:30 on Sunday night, so I arranged to have my passes waiting at the back gate at 7:30. Of course they weren’t there so it took me ½ hour to find someone in charge to get my passes, another fifteen to meet up with the band’s road manager, get permission to shoot the whole show, and relay that to the head of security for the stage. 15 minutes to show time and I was standing next to the stage at the gate leading into the pit, talking to a friend of mine. I saw her eyes get huge looking over my shoulder. I turned around and saw a sight that was either really funny, or the saddest sight for any photographer in the business. Remember those westerns from the 60’s where cowboys were driving herds of cattle across the country? Dust was flying, and the cowboys were riding herd to make sure that there were no strays. Picture eighty photographers charging across a dusty baseball infield, with security guards herding them toward the gate we were standing in front of! When they arrived, the cowboys, oops security guys, divided them into two groups and announced that the first group of 40 would shoot the first song. During the second song, that group would leave from the other side and the second group would be herded in to shoot the third song. I watched these two groups push and shove each other to try to get a usable shot, and then be pushed out the other side, and was really glad I was not part of that impossible scene. After everyone left I wandered in and shot the rest of the show. So three days of music and I spent 2 hours at the event. Great way to enjoy the Pitchfork Festival!
By the way, Pavement was great! For a band that hasn’t played together for quite a while, they were amazingly tight, and their songs stood the test of time. Most of the audience, who were probably 8 years old when the songs first came out were singing along to most of them.
Coming up in two weeks, Lallapaloza! With any luck, I will be able to shoot one less band there than I did at Pitchfork!