31 JULY – 2 AUGUST 2010 – SONISPHERE FESTIVAL, KNEBWORTH UK

I was shooting at Sonisphere for Rotosound, I arrived on the 2nd day around midday and the festival was already in full swing. I was camping again which didn’t appeal too much, but acquired the coolest and most recognisable tent I could find as I’m quite lousy at remembering where I set up camp in a sea of predominantly black tents! This one, I was sure would stick out a mile!

Outside my little zebra print tent you can see a white step stool. I called this my “special” stool. I’m a petite person and experience has taught me that at these big festivals you need height to shoot the main stages. Something which I lack unless in heels, which I’m not about to break an ankle over – especially in unpredictable festival weather! So this stool serves me well. I could have put a few band stickers on it though right? Nevermind.

This festival I didn’t have a huge amount of running around to do from stage to stage so was networking, photographing interviews with journalist friend Tazz Stander and some live shots for Rotosound.

Fear Factory were first on my list, having photographed them at their London show a little less than a week before it was great to see them on a huge stage. I shot them for an interview on the Gibson Bus which was full of so many cool things, guitar stair rails, TV screens etc…cool bus, really cool guys.

Anthrax were being interviewed in the press area shortly after. Scott Ian was there with his girlfriend Pearl who was promoting her new album. I was sitting next to her for a few interviews and felt really sorry for her as people’s questions seemed to be more geared at what her favourite shops are when she visits the UK and what her dad (Meatloaf) was like when she brought her first boyfriend home, rather than talk about her music. She looked kind of frustrated.
I had to grab a picture with Scott Ian. The guy is high on my “dude” list after seeing his patience with Seb Bach on the “Supergroup” TV series. You can see I’m sporting a Motley Crue photo pass. It was very exciting for me as I’ve never taken their pictures before and only 50 passes were issued for their set.

Before Motley Crue I would have to shoot Gallows for Rotosound. There was a slight stage time clash but thankfully both stages were right next to each other rather than opposite sides of the festival grounds (phew). I managed to arrange with one of the “runners” to come and get me and escort into the stage area when I had finished. A big load off my mind as I couldn’t miss either! That’s one of the annoying things at festivals; if there’s not a couple of photographers working together you have to prioritise. Mind you, I guess it’s the same for festival go-ers and bands they want to see. I was just happy it worked out.

Sooo Motley Crue. Here’s my fave shots from their set. I planted myself firmly on my “special” stool in between Nikki Sixx and Vince Neal to make sure I got good shots. I even managed a quick pic of Tommy Lee taking a picture of the crowd before he sat at his drum riser. Sweet!

Saturday was shaping up to be the busiest day press wise. The area was buzzing with Lacuna Coil, Evile (whose performance I sadly missed), CKY, Skunk Anansie, Papa Roach..loads more! I shot for Tazz during her interviews with Chad from CKY – who couldn’t keep his tongue from poking out even when on stage he did it at me….

…see!

Skunk Anansie – My favourite female fronted band, I love their energy and used to watch many interviews of them as a teenager. They have been one of the few bands that have lasted and not gone out of the loop despite music style changing so much over the years. I was very much looking forward to see them live and take their pictures, both for the first time.

After their set, press was winding down. Time to get dinner – a burger, pint of beer and freshly cooked mini donuts. Festival food isn’t the healthiest at all. I watched the sun set to Rammstein with some friends. A good day.

I headed back to the zebra tent, which I found very easily and I’m sure many others used that as a landmark to find their tents too! The day was so warm so getting into my sleeping bag was really nice; the nights however were SO SO cold. Any chance of getting to sleep when people were chatting outside my tent and singing was impossible, especially when it felt like it lasted all night. I also forgot my pillow so had to bunch up some clothes to rest my head. Ugh.
Sunday required coffee. Immediately. Thankfully the busy day was Saturday and the press area was somewhat deserted for most of the day. I bumped into Ol from Evile, and was happy about that as I missed them on Saturday. Not that I would be taking my sunglasses off any time soon.

Today would have been a huge day for me, as I was to take Iron Maiden’s pictures for Rotosound as Steve Harris is an endorsee, and also Terrorizer needed some snaps too. That would make me wake up for sure. Pendulum was also on my list to shoot for Rotosound. Other than that, I was only interested in Alice in Chains live. Great set and I loved taking their pictures.

A buzz was going about the press area mid afternoon when Iron Maiden’s management issued a cut list of photographers they had approved. My name wasn’t on the list! I was going nuts, and with it obviously being the weekend, I couldn’t call any company up to sort the issue. So was left with disappointment and frustration. Still, I had to shoot Gareth, the bassist from Pendulum so went along to my “now” final shoot of the festival and rocked it.

I packed down my zebra tent and waited for Glen to pick me up earlier than I had hoped and double checked the list to see if I was missed. A bit of an anti climax to the festival really.

I got home to find out that there was a mistake on the list and they were looking for me to shoot Maiden about half hour after I left! I don’t know if I was angrier that I should have stayed or that there was a mistake. ARGH!! There will be another time hopefully.

About the Author:
Marie Korner is an internationally published photographer, with over a decade of experience. She has an insatiable love for collecting skulls & vintage items. A wife, mother of two, and occasional foul mouth in a pint-sized package.


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