Officially, this is my 4th year shooting Rifflandia. Rifflandia has been around for 6 years in total, and has grown steadily ever since. I feel quite fortunate to be a part of something in such a way that I really get to see that happen, front-of-house and backstage. As the festival has grown, so have I - as a member of an amazing Victoria community, and as a photographer. I'm looking forward to making it 5 years.
This was the first year where I could not shoot every single show I could possibly find my way to. I was shooting a wedding all of Saturday and had to miss an entire park day and all the night stages - including most of Friday evening. That being said, I was still witness to some pretty interesting things. I've shot somewhere in the vicinity of 500 bands in concert now - so I've seen a lot... Mykki Blanco and Bosnian Rainbows were probably the most notable crazy "I've never seen this before" shows of the festival that I saw. Everything about Mykki Blanco's show was high energy, insanely raw and totally in your face. He was actually in my face at one point. Pics to prove it below. Bosnian Rainbows was a different kind of crazy. Google image search "Teri Gender Bender" and you'll immediately get what I'm saying. She's a character so obscure I can't describe it to you. I hope that my series of photographs chasing her around the beer garden, dancing, crawling and stripping her clothes off will give you an idea of what type of show it was.
Both of these were artists I never knew about before the festival. Rifflandia has a knack of leaving me with a handful of artists the check out after the festival. I'm listening to Bosnian Rainbows as I type this. This is one of the reasons I love attending - even if I don't know much of the line-up, I leave knowing that much more about the music world.
I hope the photographs below can showcase a glimpse of my glimpse of this years Rifflandia.
Oh, just to give you a sense of time and what it means to have shot 4 years of the festival, the first picture is of Sjoerd. Sjoerd was the second man whose wedding I ever shot. Since then, he has formed a band and Sarah a and him have had a baby. He's not doing too bad if I don't say so myself.
Everything you do at a festival defines your experience of it. My experience of a festival as a photographer is nothing the same as the average festival goer. I get my three songs to experience the band at full-force, within arms reach... while I shoot alongside anything from 10-35 photographers. It's a battle zone, I'll tell you that. Right after, I'm booted out by security to a not-so-decent spot to watch the show or find new things to shoot. At the point I'm not sure if I've got all the photographs I wanted, or if I got to actually experience the bands show, fully. It's a curious thing to go through. In between each "three song set," I usually find myself looking for the next moment. Be it backstage or front. Things are always happening.
You go through this over and over and over, until you've reached the last band and you leave the photo pit for the final time. "Did I shoot enough? Did I push myself enough?" I ask myself. There is no turning back. I hope for the best. I make sure I have the best time I can doing anything I do. The experience is different to the average festival goer, but I can say without a doubt that my experience was a positive one this year.
I love festivals. I love music. I love people letting me photograph them having the time their life. Hanging out, conversing, drinking an odd beer. Festivals are very likeable.
I am thrilled when I come out with a set of images that allow people a to relive the experience they had watching the same events I had the opportunity to photograph. Images have the power to evoke these feelings in people after the moment has happened. This is one of the reasons I love photography more than almost anything.
This is my experience of the festival: