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Tag Archives: Great Escape Festival

Band and Gig Photography Masterclass

More from the pages of the Guardian. I should say I have never attended any of their courses so only provide information rather than recommendations, check whether it is suitable for you.

Want to learn how to take brilliant live music or festival photographs? At this day and a half’s workshop, you’ll do just that.

Due to popular demand and to ensure you get the most out of your time, the masterclass will be split into two levels:

Group one: Beginner to lower intermediate.
Group two: Proficient with camera.

In groups of just ten, you’ll work closely with a Guardian photographer and learn how to take professional-standard photographs in a challenging and exciting festival environment. You’ll get professional access and shoot live bands, artist and vox pop portraits, cabaret and circus performers, children’s fete games and more under the expert guidance of Guardian and Observer staff photographers Katherine Rose and Alicia Canter…….MORE

Dates: Sunday 3 June 2012; 11am-6pm
Feedback session: Thursday 7 June; 7.30pm-9.30pm
Location: Apple Cart festival, Victoria Park, E8
Feedback session: Guardian HQ, 90 York Way, N1 9GU
Price: £249 (inclusive of VAT)

King Charles @ The Great Escape ©Keith Barnes

The Great Escape 2012

This last weekend, well Thursday onwards, I was photographing for one of Britain’s most respected music bloggers, The Recommender at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton. This annual festival is a showcase for new and emerging bands so no headliners you will of heard of but lots of bands that may grace much larger stages in years to come. My job was to cover the events The Recommender attended and these included some bands, radio interviews and an event part hosted by The Recommender called Blogup where most of the UK and some international bloggers got together to talk about what they do.

On getting my delegates photo pass I was a bit disappointed to learn that photographers had to sign up to a list of terms and conditions that included no flash. When I shoot bands I prefer not to use flash but from past experience I knew that this festival has gigs in what you would struggle to call unlit basements, rooms over pubs, garages, shops as well as established venues like The Dome, Digital and Audio. Most of the places The Recommender trailed me to had basically no lighting at all. If I was lucky there was a 60w bulb pointing vaguely in the direction of the front of stage. This might be an exaggeration but not much. My pictures were therefore often more about atmosphere than sharpness.

I started at The Recommender showcase event on Thursday afternoon at The Green Door Store, a venue under the arches of the railway station. 3 Brighton bands and a fantastic guy from Denmark who went by the name of Rangleklods. The lack of light and no flash meant that my 5D MkII was cranked up to 6400 ISO (later in the weekend I pushed to the max of over 25,000)

If you click on the pictures it will take you to links where you can hear the artists if you are interested and where music exists on line

Rangleklods at The Recommender Showcase Green Door Store

On the same bill were local Brighton Band

Us Baby Bear Bones

Cave Painting are a Brighton band tipped for success considered to be inventive indie, like dare I say Coldplay perhaps (I am sure they would hate that)

Next it was over to Horatio’s at the end of the pier, this is a soulless hole that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone, all the visual excess of the end of the pier, charmless and tacky. It is where the NME choose to hold their showcase gigs usually putting on the rising stars. First up were Peace, (rubbish name if you are trying to google them ) sort of indie darlings in the Foals, Maccabees style. Lighting at Horatio’s is better than some of the other locations but still pretty awful photographically

Another band with a name it is impossible to google is Friends and they were next at this NME showcase

Rounding up the NME showcase was Niki and The Dove, electronic duo from Scandinavia

Last up for the evening was White Arrows

Next day the first interview for The Recommender was with Shell Zenner for Amazing Radio this is a great station if you are into new bands.

Then non-stop onto Blogup for the free drinks on the beach at Life and bloggers doing what they love, hearing the sounds of their own voices. Here is The Recommender and Joe Sparrow of A New Band A Day Blog

The evening ended with a walk across town to see Alt J and Django Django and possibly the worst lighting of the event for me. Both bands were exceptional though


Django Django

What was left of the festival was taken up with video work so nothing else to show here which is a bit of a shame, some of that can be seen over at

The Recommender

Stage and gig photography a few tips

Yes it is hard to get out and photograph when it is pounding down with rain, as it is now. This time of year many people make the effort to see concerts and other stage based performances and although photographing them might not be permissable if you have the chance and want to then there are a few tips that will help you do better.

This post from Picture Correct by Scott Wrigley may help you to do better, “While stage photography may seem simple to the naked eye, the lighting and constant movements that must be continuously mapped are akin to jumping on a trampoline, while balancing on an operating jackhammer, and snapping pictures. The overall public consensus is to take every possibly photograph of the on stage idol, post them all to Facebook, and allow friends to “ooo” and “aww” over how close their friend the photographer was to their personal hero.”.…more

Here are some shots from The Great Escape Festival in Brighton this year, as a festival for emerging artists it is a great place to catch the next big thing in a small venue and pub. These shots are of EMA, she is touted as being the next great rock star by The NME magazine, personally I don’t think so.