Korn. System Of A Down. Banc of California Stadium. Yes. I shot that. Oh, my goodness, it was a rough road getting there and it did not become smooth once I arrived.
It was difficult finding the correct person to request a media pass, I kept emailing anyone who had any connection to them. It was so stressful. Ok, I have anxiety, so anything and everything is super stressful. As turns out, every other photographer there had the same problem. I felt better once I found that out because then it wasn't just my inexperience or incompetence. A few of them had asked me specifically if I had the same troubles and how I resolved it. Well, we all got there, at it was glorious, stressful, and a little violent. (No one was hurt.)
Shooting Korn was simple. Nothing really to report except someone got rowdy and decided to throw their beer...all over my back. They weren't aiming for me, I was just in the beer's way. That was annoying but not the end of the world.
The "fun" didn't really start until right before SOAD went on. We were standing in the pit area, waiting for SOAD to take the stage when an epidemic of drunk suddenly hit the crowd next to the barriers we were standing in front of. Security and medics were pulling people in distress over the barrier, but because of the lack of space, we (the photographers) had to smoosh down as far as we could to accommodate the emergencies. It was a constant game of "avoid the feet" do we didn't get kicked by the bodies people evacuated from the crowd.
Minutes before we were set to start shooting, the security guard in charge placed a glove on the ground and told us all we could not step on front of it to shoot, which meant that we had to photograph this stage from inside the narrow corridor "pit". If that wasn't hard enough, he decided that one security had to stand guard in front of the crowd to one side of the corridor, but he had to stand directly in the corridor, blocking half of the area that we were permitted to occupy. And, of course, he did not choose a smaller guard that we could easily shoot around. Nope. This guard was like 6'3 and took up a lot of space naturally, but decided that it would be best if he man-spread while standing guard. Bleh. Fine. We'll work around him. Thankfully, all of the other photographers, even the women, were really crazy tall, and had absolutely no problem with letting me stand in front of them all. They even made room for me.
So, we start shooting in this corridor, half blocked by a large security guard, and people just kept walking in front of our cameras. Just because. On top of that, the people in the crowd next to the barriers decided that they needed to try to get as physically close to the band as humanly possible. They leaned over the barriers with half their bodies over into the corridor with their arms stretched out as far as they could go. And the security guards did absolutely nothing to stop this. At one point I had to physically move a guys arm with my arm because he kept hitting my lens. Hard. Repeatedly. So, I'm dodging and weaving and bending in ways that I didn't know I could, in ways that a body should not move, when all of a sudden, without warning, three guards come rushing over to where I am standing. They don't say anything. They did not give me any opportunity to move for them. Instead, in a single motion, they rush over to me and pull a person out from the crowd over my head and the only thing I could do at that point was hit the deck as quickly as possible. It was not quick enough because I ended up getting kicked in the head as these guys were all literally on top of me.
If I knew all of this was going to happen, I would absolutely do it all again. It was fantastic.
You can read my full review here.