SweetLife 2016

SweetLife 2016

Foreword: Photographer Corner (skip this if you just want to read about the festival)

I pursue photography as a strictly artistic avenue, independent of any outside organization. I tend to plan my free-time activities around events that will provide me with a sort of inspiration for work. Upon arrival to the venue, I was greeted by a huge sign that presented a message not to be found when acquiring the means to attend this festival. It read in large bold font “Cameras with removable lenses and recording devices are not allowed.”

This immediately presented me with an mental predicament. Perhaps industry professionals that do venue work for a living will understand the process more, but as an enthusiast, I did not comprehend this message. I think I understood the message for what they were trying to say, that is, no large cameras or filming equipment allowed. As in, crew type work perhaps. In my bag, I had two m43 cameras, with a total of five additional lenses. This was now a concern for me.

Upon arrival to the gate, I immediately told the attendants that I was carrying personal camera equipment. They looked me square in the face and told me, that since my ticket had not been scanned yet, I could walk to my car to store my gear there for the event. I initially asked them why this ban on cameras was not on their website, to which they retorted it was (in honesty, on the actual venue site, a similar message was present, but the event page that had all the info to the festival and ticket procurement, there was no mention).

I realized that I was in a situation that was simply not logical to me. As I walked back to the car to store the gear, I pondered on the possible reasons for the banning of cameras that had removable lenses. In the end, I came up with no reason other that they could perhaps be used as a weapon due to their slightly larger size. This was not making sense to me.

When I returned to the gate sans gear, I asked the closest attendant, we’ll call him Bob, if there was a venue manager or someone that could explain the reason for making me leave my cameras outside the event. He responded very clearly, which I appreciated immensely. I was told he would try to find someone that could talk to me. We walked up to a group of venue workers nearby all perusing their phones with a central figure seemingly the leader. Bob told her my predicament and asked her for guidance. She looked up from her phone with an intense aura of complexity, and asked if it was a DSLR. I immediately knew this conversation would be fruitless, nevertheless, I proceeded to respond that no, my cameras were not DSLR (for anyone that might not know, DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex, meaning there is a mirror mechanism that reflects the light through the pentaprism and in turn through the viewfinder; lifting of this mirror will then expose the sensor- derived from SLR and the film days). My cameras are m43, which are MIRRORless, hence my answer. She then looked even more perplexed and did not utter another word as she glanced at Bob with seemingly indifference. I looked at Bob, who had been courteous the entire ordeal. Bob told me that usually removable lens cameras were not allowed. Knowing he was more inclined to listen, I briefly expounded on the technological aspect of cameras, elaborating on the fact that there were removable lens cameras (I’m mainly referencing the Nikon J series cameras) with sensors (perhaps the main aspect in photography) smaller than compact cameras and compact cameras, that is, without a removable lens, with sensors bigger that 90% of cameras (Sony RX line). I wasn’t even hitting the issue of the 21st century and the fact that almost 100% of attendees had recording devices in the form of GoPros and cellphones.

Bob listened to me as we walked away from the group of assumed media-auditors on their cell phones. He eventually looked at me and said I was good to enter. I’m mainly writing this excerpt looking for a reason or conversation as to this camera policy and it’s effect on enthusiast photographers, but also to show that if you are presented with a similar challenge, look for an explanation and do not simply stand for it. Thanks Bob.

Raindrops and Bass notes

The crowd was immensely interesting. There was a mix of representation of generations, ideologicals, and presenters. This could be clearly seen in the vast multitude of groups and the way they presented themselves. From youth as young as mid-teens to the well-seasoned, everyone seemed content in their surroundings.

Immediately passing the gate, festivalgoers are ushered onto an immense green hill that then uncovers the vastness of the venue.

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To the left is the main stage, shadowed by a large pavilion with draping covers extending from the sides. Resisting the urge to directly go to the main stage will present the option of following the side path to the right that lays territory for the vendors on the way to the secondary stage.

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Being a Sweetgreen sponsored event, the fare was cleaner than most festival oriented offerings, which was very nice.

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Continuing down the vendor path leads directly to the stage known as the “Treehouse”. This stage is surrounded by a large quantity of music aficionados in the form of giant trees, providing for a magical, nature-centered feeling of encapsulation in the performance.

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Returning to the green hill provides a haven to sprawl out, enjoy the fare, and feel the rays of sun create warmth on the edges of your skin.

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The setlist was covered with prominent musical artists, who all performed excellently, showcasing their abilities and personalities to the crowds.

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Towards the end of the day, a storm rolled in, lending its ambiance to the event. This provided for an interesting ingredient in the festival, regardless of your location.

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Overall, the festival was a great experience, from the venue location to the artists that provided their features. Thank you.

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