Here’s a story with a happy outcome. The festival season approaches, the camper van is in for her MOT tomorrow and is already waxed and splendidly prepared for weekends of music, drinking and general loveliness. Normally first in line is Priddy Folk Festival (this year beaten into second place by The Seed Festival) and last year we had a hiccup with the camera.
I like to carry my camera, currently a Canon 7D dSLR, about with me. You never know when that picture forms in your mind, that you want to capture – or try to. I also carry it at festivals and at Priddy I’ve captured such treasured memories of Janet mired in festival mud at Priddy 2012 and lovely old Fred Wedlock at Priddy 2005… Fred who back in the mid-seventies introduced a teenage bish to blackberry cider in his kitchen full of furiously fermenting 10 gallon acid bottles.
Last year, I was stopped as I entered the main tent and cautioned that my camera was too large, and ought not to be brought to a festival unless I was an accredited professional photographer. Now, I’ve always made a point of not allowing my photography to get in the way of others’ enjoyment, shooting from the back of the marquee without flash (something the 7D is very good at). I was therefore more than put out, having been so cautioned, to see so many iPhones and small cameras being held up in front of other members of the audience throughout the evening. One woman even stood in front of the audience for a whole song, videoing from her compact camera, while across the aisle someone with a smaller dSLR was snapping away with her flash popping like bubblewrap on a boring afternoon. My ire was fired.
Over the past year I’ve exchanged emails with the festival committee chairman, Dean Collier. He’s been very good; taking time out to have the conversation in a shared intention to come to a solution. We discussed various policies – sensible, manageable policies – for the mutual convenience of photographers, audience and stewards. Last week Dean sent me through the policy that will henceforth cover photography at Priddy. My reason for publishing it here is that it is an exemplar of good practice in this area, and should be considered by anyone with a similar festival or other venue. I did ask if I could share it; only the initial paragraph appears on the web site. Thank you, Dean and the Committee.
See you there! Priddy is one of my favourite music festivals. I’ve encountered so many great acts there, met fabulous musicians, got utterly legless on terrific beer both on the site and in the pubs around it. I’ve been towed onto site… that’s still unique to Priddy. I’ve been towed off camp sites before, but to be shackled to a tractor and slewed into place on day one… and sometimes it’s stupidly sunny! This year… may the gods that be, agree… it will be too.