In concert photography sometimes you get it and other times you simply don’t, for one reason or another. When I first got into the genre, I wanted to know why am I limited to the first three songs. I still don’t have the exact reason years later, but I suspect it's as as simple as to get out of the way of the fans. I just chalk it up to being what it is. So you do what you can do in the span of those three songs. It forces you to concentrate and I’ll go out on a limb saying you'll probably produce some of your best work because of the time constraints.
Fast forward to diving into festival photography. There’s a lot of opportunity with this type of event; in the form of catching multiple artists that maybe you’ve been eyeing for some time. It’s also a perfect opportunity to check off your bucket list. And finally, it’s an opportunity to be introduced to acts that you wouldn’t have otherwise heard of or maybe even paid attention to. This is exactly what happened with me.
A few years ago at my first foray with the Richmond Jazz Festival I missed the opportunity to catch the incomparable Cécile McLorin Salvant. I remember her being on at the same time as another "more popular" act that I wanted to cover and because I really had no idea who she was, I chose to take the road more traveled. This is funny because usually that's not my m.o. at all. I'm known for doing the opposite of the more popular, but for whatever reason, with this, I did not. And I’m kicking myself today. If you don’t know who Miss Cécile is, I really can’t say a whole lot because I didn’t either... which is why I missed her. I had no idea what I was missing. Once I got hip, which didn't take me long, I immersed myself in her music and now she's in my playlist I call Bellini's All Day.
I learned to RESEARCH! Research is your friend. If you don’t know an act and are considering not covering them ... TRUST ME when I tell you to do your due diligence and check out their website, sound cloud and YouTube. There are some gems out here for those of us who may not be too hip on certain genres of music. Plus as I mentioned above, it’s an opportunity to get exposed to other types of music.
Don’t limit yourself ... Expand your knowledge, culture and language.