So you want to take your camera to some of the events and venues. Depending on your camera you should have no problems getting into venues to take pictures, however nothing is guaranteed, rules may change and you may end up going back to your hotel to drop your camera off, take note of the information below.
There are a few unwritten rules, observe them and you should be OK. Firstly you can only take small non-professional looking compact cameras into events, if you try to take an DSLR (or a camera with a large zoom) in to a gig you will find that you are denied entrance when security check your bag. Expect security to go right through your bag, open all the pockets and give you a full pat down (be polite, they are only doing there job and keeping us all safe!). However it really does depend on the venue and the day of the festival, on the last day security don’t seem to mind if you have a bazooka on your shoulder, but the other three days they will inspect your bag, if your camera looks powerful you will be denied access. If you have something like a Sony Cybershot you won’t have a problem, if you have a big DSLR with detatchable lenses then expect to be going back to your hotel.
If you run a Goth related website or magazine then you can apply for a press pass, they are free and give you free entrance to all the official venues. If you have a press pass you will be able to take SLR cameras into events with all your camera gadgets and gizmos. However you will be one of many that has a press pass, you will find that you are quite roughly herded (by security) into the photographers pit at the front of some stages, given a few minutes to take your pictures and then herded out for the next bunch of photographers. For those of you wanting a press-pass you will need to email the organisers (via the official website email address), it will take time to process your request so don't panic till a few weeks before the festival starts.
CAMERA vs. SECURITY
Note from Jase about his camera experience.
At the Agra I was asked to hand my camera over for inspection, which I did. The guard asked me for the megapixel rating , which I gave him. He said that was fine. I asked him if there was an issue with zoom (pushing my luck a bit, I know) he said that they weren't concerned with the zoom, just the megapixel rating. So I went away, feeling fairly happy that the "gamble had paid off"
The following night, I was at Werk II, where the following occurred. I was asked again to give my camera for inspection, and I told them the
megapixel rating again. The guy on Security said he was sorry, but the camera had 12x zoom, and they had been told to enforce a limit of 10x. I (very pleasantly) told him what I had been told at the Agra the previous night, and he basically called me a liar. A long tram journey awaited. Luckily I didn't miss Miguel and the Living Dead!!
Basically, it looks like there are some guidelines set, but it depends on what mood the security are in, or who you get!!
SO YOU MADE A MISTAKE
So you have turned up at a venue with your camera and security have said that you cant come in because your camera has a high spec.
What do you do? Well you have a couple of options
You go back to your hotel and leave the camera there...or
You hand over your camera to security who will house your camera in a secure box at the entrance.
Well the first option may mean you miss the band you have come to see, whilst the second option will make you feel a little uneasy. However I have not heard of anybody losing their camera this way, I believe its quite safe so long as you remember to go back and collect it when you leave.
So I had a press pass for 10 years (I have basically given it up as it distracted from my enjoyment of the festival, and I dont think that Photos today have the power they had 10 years ago, esp. as you can now view just about every gig on YouTube). To apply for a press pass you need to have evidence of your work and be able to supply examples (either a website or as printed material), email the press-office for more information with your CV.
If you are successful in getting a press pass you will receive an email confirming your 'accreditation' of a press pass. You will need a passport photo of yourself, this will either need to be sent off to the organisers or taken with you when you collect the pass. The press pass allows you in to the Press Pit at the front of every stage, see below for a review of my Press Experience.
Note: the press pass only gains you free entrance to the festival, the press pass does not include the Obsorge-Kart, you will have to pay for this if you wish to camp, you will also have to pay for parking. The press pass will NOT get you backstage.
Collecting your press pass can be a bit of an adventure. First you will need to get yourself down to the Agra ticket office (it opens from 10am Friday till 10pm Sunday and 4pm on Monday), there is a window with 'Press' on it, there could be a long queue of people at the other windows, and you may need to work your way through to the 'Press' window. Hand over your email accreditation print out, you will then get a blue wrist band (well in 2006 it was blue), you can then enter the Agra Mess park. To get your actual Press Pass you will need to walk past Halle 1 and Halle 2, walk past the entrance to the Gigs in Halle 2, continue pass the Kindergarten. On your right you will see a security guy, there is a building here too, flash your wrist pass and he will allow you to pass. Walk to the front of the building and enter there is a room to your left, rather sombre in appearance, you will find a couple of guys behind tables, show them your email print out. If you sent off your passport photo you can simply collect it, if not you will have to wait for them to fill it out and laminate it. Check out the Agra Map for exact location. You can return here during the festival to chill out, and use the facilities (small canteen, toilets, comfy seating and power for laptops and recharging of batteries).
ONE OF THE PAPARAZZI
So now you have your pass, you can go down the front and take pictures of bands. Welcome to the Paparazzi Pit. Your experience will change depending on the venue and the size of the band playing. You have approximately three songs to take your pictures before you are ushered out by security. If its a big popular band then there may be two waves of photographers and you may get a shorter period of time to take your pictures.
You and 70-100 other photographers will wait at the entrance to the Press Pit (at the Agra, for the main bands) as the band is announced. The pushing will start now as they all crowd in together. When the music starts the security guy will start letting you in, the pushing will increase as etiquette goes out the window. Be careful as there are many obstacles to step over.
Many of your fellow photographers don't really seem that interested in the bands playing, I guess its their job rather than their passion (or its photography that is their passion and not the music). There seems to be little or no photographers etiquette, if you wait to take a shot don't expect them to move so you can get a better shot, many are quite selfish unfortunately. Still that said, it is one hell of a opportunity, its excellent to get down the front and be able to take some excellent shots of bands. Its rather better at some of the smaller locations, and for smaller bands you get more room. Your pass will be required every time you enter the press pit or pass security (just show them the
pass photo side up).
PRESS PIT – A BEGINNERS GUIDE
The following is all generic photo pit info, relevant for all gigs and venues, its not WGT specific. Of all the various types of photography invented I would have to say that taking decent photographs at a concert is just about the most difficult. You have loads of people behind you
(and you are in their way), the band in front of you, a constantly moving singer possibly running or stomping around. The lighting will be very low, weird coloured or extremely bright and will change quicker than you can think, and you may have a rather large speaker next to you. Of course the crowd will be jealous, security will be annoyed and stressed and the band will think you’re annoying.
So what do you have to do to get a good picture?
Well sticking to a few rules will certainly help, not pushing and shoving will also help, and be
polite to security.
No Direct Flash Gun photography (the band are trying to deliver a performance, they maybe filming the performance, the last thing they want are powerful camera flashes from the front of the stage. You maybe asked to leave if you continue to use large flashes guns). In built camera flashes are less powerful, they probably won’t improve pictures, you can use them, but it’s probably best to keep the shots when you use them to a minimum. (Use a diffuser if you need a flash gun)
You only have three songs to take your pictures. Queue up by the entrance to the photographers pit when you hear the intro music for the band. When security gives you the thumbs up, show your pass (photo side) and move in to the pit area. Beware that there maybe large metal trip hazards in this area (that hold the crowd barrier up) and there maybe leads on the floor. When you are done or when security wave you out, don’t linger.
What the security guy says goes: Don’t argue with security, they are there to do a job that can be very stressful. Do as they say or indicate, they have the right to take your pass away.
OK so now you know the basics. No flash photography is a pain, many bands will play in weird coloured lighting or sometimes very low lights, however if you have set your camera up correctly then you can get some great shots. The first 3 songs rule (about 10 minutes max) is a bugger, the last 3 songs would be better as bands are normally less energetic for the last songs and you would be able to get better pictures. So be prepared to take a lot of pictures and trash them when you get home due to them being blurred and not focused..