Ok, so a lot happened before I was able to get to this show. Let's start at the beginning.
There is no single way to get a photo pass for a concert. Yes, the one rule is that you must be shooting on behalf of a publication, but as far as making contact, everyone is different. Some publicists will get you on the list a week or two out, some will do it a day or two out. There is no way of knowing who will do what unless you have worked with them before. So, my method is I start contact two weeks out, check in a week out, and again two days out.
My contact for this show was Amy-who is awesome. I couldn't have asked for a better contact. Unfortunately, she is not the final say, and I began to slip through the cracks. Tours are an insane amount of work and everyone involved is putting in long hours. It happens. I get it. I ain't even mad at it. Normally, that's not a huge deal, I can always go through the company producing the show or show up to the venue and talk to the onsite contact. However! This show was several hours away from home requiring me to have to rent a hotel room for the night. My little anxiety monster was starting to take over as the show date was quickly approaching.
I decided I would take the chance and book the room. At best, it all works out the way I wanted. At worst, I spend a night by myself in the middle of nowhere. I win either way. I managed to get the last room in the hotel I booked. Yay for me.
The day of, I get to the hotel minutes before check in starts. Wonderful. I unpack and immediately head out to find some food. This particular place, Twenty-Nine Palms, is pretty much a one street town. Just drive down this one street and everything they have is there, on this one street. Super easy. After I eat, I email Amy and ask if everything has been resolved. Not yet. The time for me to leave for the show came quickly, and I still had not received word that my pass has been secured. What do I do? Do I wait in the warm room for the email, or do I go to the venue and take my chances? Well, this venue is in a place called Pioneertown, an actual working, functioning western movie/TV set built so that actors could have a place to live and play while they work. I HAD to see it! The sun was setting and I was loosing my chance, so...I went. It never occurred to me that there might not be any cell service at this place. I found out the hard way that there was not. None. Zero. No. Cell. Service. Anywhere. I was completely unable to receive any emails from Amy confirming my pass. The word "stressed" lost all meaning for me that night.
The sun had set and I was very quickly reminded how cold it gets in the desert. Very, very cold. Good thing I always keep gloves in my camera bag and extra sweaters in my car. I was covered. Or, so I thought. I was very grateful that we are currently living in a time where masks are an acceptable choice because that mask kept my face super warm. The line to get it was wrapped around the venue when I finally got in it. It didn't take long to get to the entrance. When I asked about my pass...nope. They did not have my name on their list. I swear, I was about to cry. I was told to talk to a lovely young woman who was clearly also stressed, but so kind. I showed her my previous emails with Amy to prove that I should have been on the list and that I'm not a random person who just showed up. She would have been justified in turning me away, however, she decided to sort this out for me. She brought out the big guns....the tour manager. I explained to him who I was, why I was there, who I was shooting for, and showed him the emails with Amy. He couldn't have been nicer. I actually miss him. We should be BFFs. So, he looks at me, reads the emails, and then I hand him my card and say "here's my card so you know I'm super legit." He laughed and told me he will be right back with my pass and that they LOVE the press and photographers. He came back, gave me my pass, and told me the golden rule: First Three/No Flash. I was in! Yes! I thanked him, and then found the young woman who made this happen and I thanked her.
Besides the cold, I loved this venue. In addition to several bars, they had several bbq pits up and running with burgers and hot dogs. Anyone who has ever met me knows that I love hot dogs. They also had....wait for it...coffee! Hot dogs and coffee! How is this not standard in every single venue in the world?????????? The stress just melted away upon smelling the hot dogs and coffee. I would happily shoot at this venue again.
Anyway, I had my pass, I made friends with the other photographer there, and someone in the audience went crazy over my camera bag-it's black with pretty pink flowers all over it. The show was amazing. I love Coheed and Cambria. You can read my full review here.
It was all worth it.
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