Posts Tagged ‘Virgin Mobile FreeFest’

Virgin Mobile FreeFest: the fans

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

One of my favorite things about outdoor festivals is the opportunity to take lots of crowd shots. People having fun and going nuts for their favorite performers generally makes it pretty easy to take interesting photos, especially at a fest like this where there’s inevitably (in the memorable words of my editor at the City Paper) lots of peacocking going on.

Before diving in with a few of my favorite shots (the full fan gallery is here, or you can sift through my Flickr set), a note on the above headline photo. This was the first time I really felt like I was pushing my new Nikon D4. There was no foreground light aside from the light from the hula hoop; I shot at ISO 25600 and even then was only getting 1/80 (just fast enough to freeze the action enough) at f/2.8. The blue trees in the background – lit by the stage effects – was a nice bonus for this shot. I spent probably 10 minutes shooting these hula dancers, who were crazy good, and got some really cool photos.

Alongside the hoopers, most of the peacocking was happening in the dance forest:

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

Just a few more favorites, outside the dance forest:

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

End of a long day:

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

For more, see the full gallery at the City Paper, or my Flickr set with all the fan and music photos combined into one huge photoset.

Virgin Mobile FreeFest: the bands

Friday, October 19th, 2012

The Dismemberment Plan @ Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

In 2009, as the country struggled through the aftermath of the 2008 economic crash, the two-day Virgin Festival became a one-day FreeFest. Richard Branson and co brought big-name acts to Merriweather Post Pavilion and gave away free tickets to 50,000 people. The tradition has, remarkably, continued, and 2012’s incarnation of FreeFest felt quite a bit like 2009, albeit with a bit less gimmickry (that year featured skydivers and Branson handing out free beers with Flava Flav of Public Enemy).

There were some challenges shooting here. The fest had three stages as usual: the “pavilion stage” (Merriweather’s main stage), the “West stage,” and the dance forest. The lighting at the pavilion stage generally sucked and the pit was tiny, making it impossible to move around for the later acts. The West stage had a nice huge pit but the stage was extremely high, probably five and a half feet, and featured a big extension in center that, bizarrely, almost none of the performers used. So, wide-angle shots at this stage were generally fruitless. Finally, the dance forest also featured a very high stage, and all of the DJs stood behind a table, and we weren’t allowed onstage to shoot. For all these reasons, I’m only moderately happy with my band shots, and actually am much more excited about the crowd shots I got (some favorites of which I’ll slap up in a separate post).

Here are a few of the decent performance shots I did get, in chronological order. Local favorite The Dismemberment Plan is highlighted above.

Justin Jones (well, his drummer):

Justin Jones @ Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

Future Islands, by far the photographic highlight:

Future Islands @ Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

Portgual. the Man:

Portugal. The Man @ Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

Trampled By Turtles:

Trampled By Turtles @ Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

The Dismemberment Plan again:

The Dismemberment Plan @ Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012


Nervo @ Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012


Santigold @ Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012


Nas @ Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

ZZ Top:

ZZ Top @ Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012


M83 @ Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

Skrillex, for whom we had to shoot from FOH without any raised platform:

Skrillex @ Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2012

For more photos, check out the article at the Washington City Paper. It’s a huge and unwieldy slideshow combining my photos with those of fellow WCP photog Erica Bruce, so here are direct links to each individual artist:

Pavilion Stage:
Jack White (Erica’s photos only)
ZZ Top
Alabama Shakes
Trampled By Turtles
Allen Stone
Justin Jones
West Stage:
The Dismemberment Plan
Portugal. the Man
Future Islands
Dance Forest:
Above & Beyond
Thomas Gold
Alvin Risk
Volta Bureau

Finally, here’s a link to my full photo set on Flickr, which includes some band photos not included in the City Paper slideshow.

Long weekend

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Richard Branson @ Virgin Mobile FreeFest

Yesterday I covered Virgin Mobile FreeFest, which was fun even if much of the lineup wasn’t really anything I was interested in. Public Enemy made up for all lineup deficiencies anyway; they were awesome. I’m knee-deep in photos and will have 200+ up by tomorrow or Wednesday. An initial cut ran at Black Plastic Bag today.

There were lots of silly publicity stunts at this thing, including Sir Richard Branson, Flavor Flav of Public Enemy and Tom DeLonge of Blink-182 handing out free beers sometime in the middle of the day. Plus Branson hanging out with DC mayor Adrian Fenty, skydivers dropping out of a helicopter to land on the pavilion roof, etc etc. For a free event there sure were a hell of a lot of bells and whistles.

In addition to FreeFest and the Flaming Lips show I posted about earlier, I also shot a couple rounds of the Chesapeake Open, the area’s biggest Ultimate tournament featuring top teams from all over the country, helping out official photog Kevin Leclaire. I culled 200 of my best shots and sent them to Kevin for cropping and any other post-processing. I normally like to have complete control of my workflow from start to finished, and don’t really like showing people unfinished products, but the prospect of editing those 200 photos in addition to everything else I had to do this weekend was incredibly unappetizing. So I guess I’ll see those photos tonight when Kevin is done with them.

Finally, I hit up a studio workshop in Rockville, which was interesting enough that I’ll post separately about it later.