Larmer Tree Festival Day 3

Larmer Tree Festival day 3

One of the many gifts that insomnia bestows on the sufferer is more hours in the day to get things done. I wake at 4.40 and get myself over to the showers. I notice how much the campsite and car park have emptied out. More than any other this seems to be a festival that has strata. The Tom Jones fans on day 1, Squeeze fans on day 2 and the party people on day 3 4 & 5.

Off to the lock up to retrieve my gear and see if I can sneak into the press tent before opening at 8am to connect to wifi. Can’t.  Go back to the car and sit processing photos and writing until it’s time to make the other half a cuppa and a bit of brekky.

The sun’s out in full force so we bask and read. I plan my day. Big draw today is Frank Turner. I like his stuff but will he be any good? After all he’s just a bloke with a guitar. Trundle up to the press tent, check emails and facebook/twitter. Spend an hour shooting the shit with fellow togs who have become my new circle. Learn masses. One of the great things about hanging out with fellow photographers is that you get to learn tricks that don’t turn up in the books. They are also in the main great fun and I find out just how good it is to be an official tog at download.

The Hackney Colliery band are on the main stage so I whizz through the stewards waving my pass and stand alone in the pit. Some pyrotechnics have appeared on top of the PA boxes and I realise that maybe the Frank Turner set later in the evening might turn interesting.

We take a civilised tea back in the double decker bus and I spot the circus schools workshop  as a decent photo op. Then off to the main lawn for the irrepressible Beans on Toast. In the middle of the set Frank Turner comes on stage for a number. I decide I like Beans.

I see more bands in the afternoon before a well earned pint on the main lawn where Al picks her Frank viewing spot.  Off then to the press tent to find that we’re allowed three songs and all of us at the same time. Before long I’m front and centre at one of the best light shows ever. It proves that it’s easy to make anyone look like a rock god when they’ve got thousands of pounds of professionally set lighting behind them. 

We get ushered out and most of my colleagues head up to the garden stage where you can get a  side on shot of the main stage. I choose to work my way into the centre of the lawn but a few hundred yards away from the main stage. I get a light show to die for and shoot a good few long shots in preparation for the one I actually want which is the pyrotechnics.

During the FT set there were a few drops of rain and now there’s thunder and lightning. I decide that I can’t be arsed to push my way into the big top for the final act of the day and we wend our way back to the tent for a cheeky beer. As we get in the heavens open and it hammers it down for the rest of the night. Our tent thankfully is properly watertight and I drift off to sleep listening to the rain batting off the Yurt next door.

March around the fields looking for a shot of the sunrise over the tents. I’m convinced that it’s going to be stunning as there’s a bit of cloud but already feels warm. Meet up and chat with some security guards, one of whom tells me how many hits he gets on Instagram for his photos. He then proceeds to march right down the road that’s the lead in to my shot! In the end I photoshop him out of a disappointing sunrise.

Tai Chi on the lawn and Zumba in the big top then round the site looking for crowd and reaction shots. There are masses of things going on and it becomes easy to fire off 100 shots randomly and have a lot of samey product at the end. We sit in an interesting talk in the pavilion about General Pitt-Rivers who founded the gardens but the room has no air con and it begins to heat up like an oven. I decide that attending the Mark Kermode film club in the same room later is a non starter.

At the end of the set  I stand with camera high above my head trying to guess the moment they’ll fire. To my delight I get it pretty much spot on and for my pains get a stunning shot of Frank Turner in longs how surrounded by fireworks.

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