Just a little over a week ago, I posted about what I am looking forward to for Fort Rock 2016. I talked about all kinds of things from experiences we're hoping to have, and who I'm really looking forward to seeing live. I'm not gonna spoil it, but if you want to know what al lI said, please head on over to that blog post.
This time is all about reflection and the past, not the future and day dreaming about all the possibilities. Some of you may remember that last year I covered the 2015 Fort Rock Festival. I covered six different performances, interviewed four bands, took over 400 pictures (that made it to the internet, that is), and vlogged. I did write about it initially right after the festival, but given the fact that its been close to a full year later, and we are coming up on Fort Rock once again. So, it seemed like the perfect time to talk about it, and share some of my favorite pictures from the day.
We did not cover a ton of performances that day. We missed covering Young Guns, Starset, Motionless In White and In This Moment due to interviews, and opted out of The Pretty Reckless just because we were in dire need of some down time....And we really wanted to look at the merch tent. So we chose to listen to their performance but not cover it.
I'm not going to tell every detail in this one, because I've already done that. If you want to read everything that happened, please click here. This is more my pointing out some key moments I was very happy with. I'm going to just be telling this in whatever order it happens to come to mind, so it will be a bit random. I mostly am going to talk about little moments here and there, and covering sets. I've talked a ton about the interviews, so I'm only going to touch on a couple of those.
I may as well get the interview talk done first, huh?
The first thing I really want to mention was actually having someone I was going to interview having a clue who I was when I walked up. My third interview of the day was Starset, and when I walked up, I introduced myself to Ron DeChant (their bassist), and he answers with, "Hi! We knew you were coming." That was the first and only time I ever have had something like that happen! Do I really think he had ever saw my website or anything? No, definitely not, but their press person must have told them the names of the outlets or something. It made me extremely happy, and I will probably never ever forget it. If you actually want to see the interview, please click here.
Just before that interview, I sat down with Gus from Young Guns, who was easily one of the most interesting people I've ever talked to! I honestly could have chatted with him all day, had time permitted that. He just had a lot of creativity and insight to give, and I really liked the way he thought and expressed himself. I'm not going to give anything away, but if you want to know why I say that, feel free to watch the interview here.
Also, shout out to their tour manager for that tour, he's still one of the most organized tour managers I've talked to yet. He got in touch with me hours before the interview was scheduled, and stayed in touch on and off all day. Plus, he was cool when I texted him and asked if we could do the interview inside somewhere simply because I was getting a little overheated. He didn't even hesitate to say yes, and came and got myself and a friend of mine within minutes.
Then just after the Starset interview was the interview with VAMPS. This was an interesting experience for me, and admittedly probably one of the most boring interviews to watch. Not because of the bands, but because I didn't find a lot of information before hand due to lack of time mostly so on top of the language barrier, the questions weren't that good. VAMPS is a Japanese band, and they themselves spoke very little English, so their tour manager was translating. So, I would ask him the questions and then he would have to translate, which made it take a while. I was kind of fascinated hearing them speak, even though I didn't know what they were saying.
That being said, among Japanese fans, it kind of blew up. Its my most viewed interview, and within a day of me posting it, I was getting a ton of interaction, mostly from Japanese fans on Twitter. So, that was cool, even if I didn't really know how to react to it, and wasn't properly prepared. I try to be extremely prepared, but I got offered that one semi last minute, along with Lola Black, and between work and prep for the show, I didn't have a lot of time. None the less, if you would like to watch the interview, please click here.
I actually vlogged a tiny clip on their tour bus, because it was only the second time I had been on one and the first time, I did not vlog. I wasn't vlogging yet, so it just didn't cross my mind. I actually watched the vlog back while writing this, and I could have sworn I recorded a bit in the tour bus bathroom, just because I went in there and could...I must have cut it out. It was actually sort of funny because after we left and were walking back, my friend asked if I used their bathroom just to say I had been in a tour bus bathroom. That was part of it, admittedly, but it was mostly so I wouldn't have to use a porta-potty.
I didn't vlog a lot that day, I was too damn busy, but if you want to watch it, its just below!
Now, into the photography. This show was also the second time I got to see one of my absolute favorite bands, Papa Roach. Both times I've seen them, I've had a photo pass but at this show, I got what is arguably the best photograph I have ever taken.
I was so shocked to realize this picture turned out at all, let alone so well. On my camera, in the moment, I thought it was blurry. I remember glancing at it, thinking, "God damnit!" Doing it again, and then having Jacoby move because he's like a ball of energy on stage and doesn't stand still for very long at all.
So, the next day when I was going through the pictures, and saw how clear and beautiful this picture was, I honestly got so excited. I am so proud of this picture, and to this day, its still one of my favorite shots. I don't even remember what song they were playing here...I think it may have been "Getting Away With Murder", but I'm not positive.
A little later in their set was a cool moment that I am not sure I talked about before. I was in line to get some water with a friend of mine, and I was completely not paying attention to the line. I was standing backwards in the line, so I could watch Papa Roach still. They were playing "Forever", and I was just in a really good mood, and enjoying the music. I looked over at the line next to us, and there was a girl in that line that just looked miserable. You could definitely tell she was in desperate need of some water, and probably wanted to sit down. I smiled at her, still singing along, and all the sudden she got the biggest grin on her face and started singing along too. It was just a really cool moment that expressed the power of music and I just tell that story.
I feel kind of bad that this is all out of order, but that's how my my memory works and I try to just keep it real. Plus, I do feel like I'm repeating myself a bit, there for being completely redundant. Going to go on anyways, though!
Breaking Benjamin was up just before Papa Roach, and while I'm not a massive BB fan, I have memories connected to them so covering their set was very special to me. Breaking Benjamin were at my very first rock concert, which was on February 26, 2010. Some people may be aware of this, but Ben is sick, and for a while that was holding him back. When I saw them the first time, Benjamin was not even well enough to get off a stool for the most part. He sounded great, but you could tell he really didn't feel well. So, to see him giving it his all, laughing, and bouncing all over the stage was just awesome. It was nice to see him not only feeling better and doing what he loves, but it was also something personal for me. It sort of felt like things had come full circle a bit because I saw BB before I really started journalism, and then here I was, 5 years later, covering one of their performances.
I got a ton of really good pictures of all of them, but here are a few of my favorites.
Another thing I was really proud of for this show was that I got to cover Slipknot's set. You had to request a special photo pass for Slipknot, and I got one! A lot of thoughts passed through my head before and during their set.
For starters, just before Godsmack took the stage, all of us photographers had to find the lady with our wristbands. I basically ran through the field, and pushed through a crowd of now fairly drunk people to get up to the barricade, and was texting the lady trying to find her. I found her, she gave me my wristband and then I couldn't get people to move to let me in front of the barricade.
So, knowing I had very little time before Godsmack's set started, I knew I had one option. I had to just climb over the barricade. There were two problems with that. The first being the fact that the barricade came up fairly high on me. I'm short, so the barricade probably came up to my stomach, but I got my leg on top of it anyways. Then came the second problem -I was so sunburned and sore at this point that my leg didn't want to budge, and I was having trouble pulling myself over.
Frustrated, I turned to a few people right behind me. I looked at one of the two men and asked, "Can you do me a favor?" He answered with, "Maybe. What is it?" I just bluntly said, "You have to help me get over this barricade."
Knowing that's not usually allowed, he said no at first, because he didn't want to get in trouble. I explained I had a pass, and pointed to it. He said "Well, I want one! How did you get that? Get me one and yeah I'll help you." I said "It doesn't work that way, its a photo pass and I have to get over there to cover their set and then Slipknot!" He then told me to give him mine (this man was very drunk, keep in mind.) I snorted and said "Hell no, I earned this!" He claimed he did too, and I just dismissed him by turning to the other guy and going, "Please?? I really need help and am pretty much stuck here."
The woman that was with them, who I assume was that man's girlfriend or wife by the way they were acting, smacked him and said, "Oh help her! It will only take you a second." He gave in then and I thanked him up and down for his help.
Then I walk over to the press pit, and sit down on one of the steps on the other side of the barricade. A security guard was standing right there smirked and said, "Had some problems there, did you?"
Apparently he was watching my struggle the entire time and rather than help, was just amused. In the moment, the whole thing was so frustrating, but honestly I look back at all of that very fondly.
I don't have a ton to say about Godsmack's set, except that their lighting did not like my camera very much, but it was kind of nice to finally cover them. It was my 3rd time seeing them, and each time I had had a pass for the show but wasn't able to cover their set.
They let us press people stay in front of the barricade because there was no way we would manage to get back to the front for Slipknot with the crowd. I'm not a massive Godsmack fan, and frankly I was exhausted at that point. So, I planted my happy ass on what I assume was one of Godsmack's equipment boxes. I thought for sure I was going to get in trouble for that, especially because a security guard came up to me at one point. He wasn't mad though, he just came up and said, "You look like you've been having fun today." I said "Yeah, I have. Its been a long day." He asked what all I had done, so I told him I had interviewed four bands, and covered several sets without really sitting down at all. He then asked what time I got there, I told him around noon, and it was about 9pm at the time, and he was rather impressed.
I vaguely remember asking him if it was okay I sat where I was, and he didn't care a bit.
Then came Slipknot's set. Let me say one thing, Corey Taylor's new mask makes him look like he escaped from an insane asylum. He also though is very good at looking at cameras, which is awesome. That's a goal when you're covering shows -you want them to look right at the camera. This did happen, which is badass but because of how realistic Corey's mask is, I had to momentarily take a step back and remind myself it was just Corey Taylor.
Some of my favorite pictures from the Slipknot set, along with the picture I just spoke of are below. I don't have a ton to say about their set because I don't remember what they played while I was covering them. And then right after I left the barricade, I had to say goodbye to my best friend who moved away that night. We watched probably half their set before heading home, just because it had been such a long day.
The pictures in the slideshow you see just above this text include pictures of Breaking Benjamin, Papa Roach, We Are Harlot, Slipknot, and some of the crowd at Fort Rock.
There were also a few sort of behind the scenes pictures I wanted to include, because I was very glad they were taken. A manager of a local band was also there as a photographer and took pictures of me doing the interview with Lola Black, and a friend of mine took my picture while I was in front of the barricade just before Breaking Benjamin. Plus there's some from in the press tent, which I had never had before, and just stuff like that. They're just pictures I really wanted to share, because they're great memories.
I think that about covers it, if I'm honest. Like I said, I did talk about it in full last year. So if you want to read that, you absolutely can do so here.
Fort Rock this year is coming up very quickly and will be two days instead of one. I've been working on getting content up since the day the lineup was announced back in December and am going to keep it up. Some of that content included writing about what I am looking forward to at this year's festival. It also includes a ton of album reviews, news, and biographies for Fort Rock artists. I have put together a directory, so anyone can check it out, and see everything that's been written regarding the festival, they absolutely can. Click here to check it out.
I think I should find out if I get to cover Fort Rock 2016 around the end of this month or early next month, so fingers crossed! There's a lot I'm looking forward to, and I'm really hoping to do this. I actually have not had a photo pass for a show (that actually worked out) since Fort Rock last year, so I'm really looking forward to it.
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