I think I've finally recovered from the great time last weekend at LouFest 2017 and first off want to definitely recognize the crew at Listen Live STL and Common Ground PR for continuing the festival and for Speakers in Code for sending me out to my seventh LouFest. Sure the music is nice, but over the years it's been a great weekend to just see and catch up with the various folks I've been fortunate to meet over the years that are helping to foster the concert/music scene in St. Louis.
Day 1 Debrief:
- After navigating the same terrain for so many years, it took a good half day to really grasp the new layout and where everything was positioned.
- Didn't think I would, but I ended up really appreciating the reduction back to 3 stages this year, both from a pacing (no longer running from stage to stage) and quality (getting to the bigger acts sooner) standpoint.
- Favorite acts of the day: Cage the Elephant (the intensity and antics of these guys is a photographer's dream), Spoon (now checked off the bucket list), Huey Lewis and the News (crowd nostalgia favorite, didn't realize how many songs I knew of theirs).
- Man, we really lucked out with a great weekend of weather.
- Snoop with the dark lights and his ball cap are now on the list of "Hardest LouFest headliners to shoot." He joins Wilco for the honor.
- Had a Missouri grain bowl with roasted vegetables from Vicia that was so good that I also ended up getting another the same day. (It also probably didn't hurt to get some healthy food after all the drinks and pizza I had been consuming the rest of the festival.)
Day 2 Debrief:
- One of my strategies from the last few years has been to shoot 1-1.5 songs at the main stage and then book it to the BMI stage to try and make it there by the third song to shoot. The new layout (positioned them on opposite ends plus having to head up the Bud Light stage hill) was just too far and I ended up short-changing myself shooting sets from Houndmouth and Nathaniel Rateliff and still missing out on Noname and Lizzo (both of those latter acts sounding incredible and drawing great crowds to the smaller stage).
- Run the Jewels was easily my favorite show of the day, probably vying with Cage the Elephant as my favorite sets from the weekend. I think the short portions I heard of Noname and Lizzo combined were probably my next favorites.
- Didn't think I'd be that excited to see Nathaniel Rateliff again after shooting them before, but man, I think I'm a big sucker for his current sound and big band setup.
- If anyone's taking suggestions for next year, the logistical matter that started to really get annoying on Day 2 was having the photographers and VIP attendees funneling into the same entrance area. This got particularly worse as the general crowd grew and at some points even though we wanted to clear the area per Security's request, there literally was no place to move to.
- Last few years I've had a tradition of ending LouFest by ordering some junk food and sitting down somewhere to enjoy the headliner. This year, I was just way more run down and ducked out early on Weezer (next time!).
- Tamron 24-70mm f2.8
- Nikon 50mm f1.4
- Nikon 70-200mm f2.8
- Polaroid 600
The big gamble I made this year was opting for the 50mm prime (portraits, use at night, size) instead of the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8. Think I definitely made the wrong choice as the smaller stage sizes would have been much more accommodating to the wide lens.
I'm also getting tired of swapping lens in the middle of sets (and during some of the more crowded photo pits, it was impossible to even get back to my bag for a switch) and I think this LouFest finally made me want to cave in and pick up a second camera body.