I linked up with My Festival Friends back in March while I had been photographing the band 311. Where I met the VP in the photo pit at this venue. They were playing a private show for Rock Brothers Brewery for the release of their 311 Amber Ale in cans.
A few months had passed and I finally got my official email address and such. I started hitting up publicists and industry contacts I’ve made over the last decade. I was gung ho on making my dent in MFF.
After the success of shooting Third Eye Blind on their Summer Gods Tour & EDM legend Benny Benassi I thought things were going well. I received confirmation for MSO PR to shoot Dub Step DJ duo, Adventure Club.
I left my house at 11:30pm to make my way to Ybor City. A historic neighborhood, northeast of Tampa’s downtown area founded in 1880s. I had my car windows down. I was blaring my favorite Adventure Club remix, “Daisy” by one of my favorite bands Brand New.
When I got to Ybor I tried my best to find parking near the Ritz. Good luck trying to find free parking on a Friday or Saturday night. Everyone who owns a parking lot tries to cash in on people trying to party their faces off. Every where you look there’s a shady parking lot “attendant” trying to sell you a $10 parking spot. Ybor defeated me as I finally caved, paid $10, and parked in a shady looking lot. After double beeping the keyfab to my 2006 Honda Civic to make sure it was locked, I walked a block and a half to the venture.
Before I went to get my press credentials I whipped out my camera to shoot the marquee. A staple for letting your readers know where they just missed the event of a lifetime. Little did I know, they would be the only three photos I took all night.
I dropped my name to a guy in an orange shirt, with a black vest and black bow tie. He was surrounded by other club promoter looking guys at the VIP / Will Call line. I drop my name, he looks and then looks again. My name isn’t on the list. I pull out emails saying it should definitely be there. At this point there’s not much he can do besides point me in the direction of the general manager.
The GM looked like he wanted nothing to do with anything that night. He was wearing a white polo, plastic framed glasses, and his long dirty blonde hair pulled back in a half assed I’m sure sweaty ponytail. I gave him the spiel of how I’m their to shoot and blah blah blah. He looked at me and said, “There’s nothing I can do. If you’re not on the list you’re not on the list. They already have their videographer and photographer checked in”. I ask if he can grab the Tour Manager for me. He declines with a look of “Nah, bro”.
I stand outside the venue feeling and, what I subconsciously think, looking like an asshole for a few minutes trying to get in touch with the publicist. Why the publicist? Because I was never sent the always beneficial fail safe, Tour Manager contact info.
I put my tail between my legs and walk back to my car. Not bummed because I wasn’t shooting the set tonight, but because I just drive 40 minutes, wasted gas, and wasted $10 for a parking spot I used for all of 20 minutes.
This is the ugly side of being a concert photographer. Things like this happen to people in the industry allllll the time. Luckily this is only the second time it has happened to me in my career. I went to photograph Adventure Club and all I got was a photo of the marquee and this shitty story about failure.
Words & Photos by Alan Davis