It’s been almost a month since 2016’s edition of Ramblin’ Man Fair and my review for the second day only got submitted over the weekend, finally, I’d felt it at the time, but when you take a step back and look at the work involved Reviewing and Photographing the guts of 20 bands over a 2 day Festival can be quite tiring while you are there doing it, having to run from one stage to the next to ensure you are in the pit early enough to get some shots and listening to and noting important points of the set for your review. People do things in different ways, personally I do my gig reviews from memory rather than writing physical notes while a band is on, that way I think you can immerse yourself in the show a bit more.
But the real work starts when you get home and start editing and trying to put it all together. The reality is that it’s a time consuming process and even more so when you have a busy full time job and a 9 month old son at home, time is not always your own and when you lose a couple of days to life the whole project becomes that little bit more involved, more stressful and plays on your mind a little, add to that you know you have another even bigger Festival coming up with only a three week gap – where does the time go 😉 So you keep chipping away piece by piece, when the words aren’t flowing work again on the photos and vice versa, but it always depends on the time of year and the other life influences. On the plus side I got to work with my new Sigma 70-200mm lens at Ramblin’ Man for the first time, on the negative side the budget didn’t stretch to a new camera body, but will keep saving the pennies for that one, but we will get there, hardware doesn’t come cheap (and neither do boilers by the way).
With the upcoming work for Bloodstock approaching rapidly the only choice was to cut down on other review work for the rest of August, things being busy enough as they were and a tonne of hard work to still get through. Anyway I’m starting to go off topic here, back to the main thing behind this post, doing Photography & Reviewing solo at a Festival, well one of the main problems is fitting in everything you want to see while remembering to eat and take on board liquids (especially when it’s 29º C and the sun is baking us all). With 10 to 11 hours of moving, shooting, storing memories, repeat for two days in a row, keeping energy levels high enough is a struggle, but the music itself generates an energy all of it’s own which helps to carry you part of the way, for me there’s always a problem in dropping a band to get food or take a seat for a half hour, at least when the weather is this good you can grab some food and sit on the grass watching a band, or on the off chance that there’s nothing on that interests you there’s the opportunity to scan through the photos you’ve already taken and clear out some of the errors. This weekend I’m working for the great guys at Overdrive, so there’s the added option of taking a break or two in the Media Area when coming out of the photo pit. Reality this saved me over the weekend I think. In an interesting conversation with a friend also covering the Festival it was revealed that they had seven personnel working the weekend, more involved of course as they were doing interviews on top of Photo/Review, but still, what a luxury, and it’s at that point you go to yourself “I’m mad, aren’t I”, but having seen it a lot with gigs over the last couple of years it is very true that getting reviewers that can commit is getting more difficult as time passes by, so it’s going to be more of a reality for photographers to double job. Thankfully for Bloodstock I was just going to be reviewing, but reviewing 30 bands is still a large body of work, had there been thousands of Photos to work on as well then the Ramblin’ Man work would still be ongoing and the end of the month would come and go without much progress.
So doing both tasks for a Festival rather than a gig is pretty crazy when you think about it, but in reality on occasion you have to step up and help out the team, modern life doesn’t always allow us the extra time or flexibility we need, so I have one more double job Festival in the pipeline this year, but it’s an easier format and should require a lot less running around. For now it’s back to the Bloodstock Reviews and in between times add galleries here for Day 2 of Ramblin’ Man, we will get there one way or another. Hard work for your passion is often a difficult thing to add onto the hectic daily toil, and maybe it will have to be scaled back in the years to come to avoid falling apart, but it’s a pleasure to try and bring a flavour of these events to others, and I’m always hopeful that others like these Photo’s/Reviews.