photograph of crowd enjoying the sun at Summer Sundae 2009, Leicester
10 Things To Pack When Photographing A Festival

The Summer Music Festival is well and truly underway now and it’s time for my annual favourite – the Summer Sundae Weekender.  Whilst I’ve been to larger festivals such as the V festival in the past, I much prefer the smaller festivals these days where you can get to the front of the crowd without the need for a hundred excuse me’s, you can get a choice of what to drink other than the usual over-priced limited sponsors range of one lager, one cider, an alcopop if you’re lucky and white wine at a stretch.

Unfortunately I’ll have to refrain from indulging in the usual fantastic range of Real Ales at Summer Sundae this year as I’ll be covering the festival for Virtual Festivals and being unable to stand up straight without support isn’t the recipe for great shots!  So given that the beer is off the essentials list, what has made it on to the list?

  1. Tent – okay so it’s an obvious one, but make sure you put it up in your garden a week or two before you go so there are no nasty surprises when reach the camp site.  Mine needed a pole replacing which had split.  No big deal as long as you’ve got spares but could be a nightmare if you don’t realise until the last minute.
  2. Camera – Naturally you’re not going to get far photographing without this.  As with the tent, give it a good check over before you go, make sure your sensor is clean, batteries are charged etc.
  3. Flash Cards – there’s a huge difference in storage requirements between shooting 3 bands in a club of an evening and shooting up to 100 bands over three days!  Of course you can’t shoot all of the bands but I’ll be trying to catch as many as I can.
  4. Plastic Bags – Okay so you can go the whole hog and buy a waterproof enclosure to protect your camera from the whims of the British weather, but an alternative is to keep a pocket full of plastic bags handy to throw over your camera if the heavens open.
  5. Toilet Roll – it’s a fact of life that festival toilets are created in the lowest levels of hell with the sole intention of filling us all with dread and fear but unless you’re overdosing on Imodium you’ll have to face them at some point and there are few things worse than putting off a visit until you’re about to burst only to find there’s no paper.  Take your own and you’ll never be caught short.
  6. Water bottles – I always take a couple of water bottles with me, if the weather is good it can get very hot stood around in the sun all day and most festivals provide taps with free drinking water so there’s no excuse for getting dehydrated.
  7. Ipod – okay so I’m at a music festival so why do I need my iPod?  Simple, festival camp sites are noisy places at night and slipping my iPod on is the quickest way to a good nights sleep I know of 🙂
  8. Laptop – If you’re hoping to get any sales from covering a festival you need to get the images available online as quickly as possible.  I’ll be uploading whenever I get the chance so you can see what’s happening (almost) as it happens!
  9. Business cards – if you’re covering a festival you will undoubtedly be asked where the images will be posted, take a good stack of cards to hand out and let people know where they can see your work.
  10. Socks – lots and lots of clean dry socks.  If the heavens open and your feet get wet you’ll be limping along with blisters in no time at all so look after your feet and take some spare socks just in case.

Well that’s my top ten list, and there are probably a number of things I’ve missed but it’s a good start 🙂  Here I come Leicester!

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