I’ve shot a lot of festivals over the years but V Festival has never been one of them. I chose to do it largely because Beyoncé was headlining and on the bucket list of artists I’d never shot, she was right up at the top.
The number of photographers had been restricted apparently compared to previous years which was great because the only time a pit felt over crowded all weekend was when Rita Ora played on the second stage. And that was only because it was so high that we were all perched up the top of our ladders, so it really wasn’t that bad.
Headliners aside there were some great acts to shoot – Jessie J, Maximo Park (this jump shot happened within the first few seconds of their set and was gone in the blink of an eye so fast I wasn’t even sure I’d caught it at first), Paloma Faith, Stereophonics, Seasick Steve (who bizarrely only two of us chose over Olly Murs when stage times clashed) and Ellie Goulding.
It was the headliners who were the let down. Beyoncé approved a handful of us for one song from the mixing tower. Frankly I might as well have stuck the camera out of my bedroom window back in Hertfordshire – I’d have got equally bad shots. We were just too far away and the unaccredited photographers all got much better shots illicitly from the crowd.
On Sunday, Kings of Leon did their usual trick – one side of the pit or the other, and Caleb was lit by one powerful white light shining at the far side of his head so his whole front was in darkness – an obvious one finger salute to the photographers. The weekend belonged to Rita Ora who outshone the lot of them and was an absolute joy to photograph but my favourite shot of the weekend was this one of Maximo Park’s Paul Smith in mid air.
My prediction is that Lady Gaga will headline V Festival in 2014. You heard it here first, and that would be amazing.