I first photographed Katie this time last year at Knebworth at a drive in gig which will I think forever remain as one of the most bizarre set ups I’ve ever witnessed. Tonight it felt like business as usual. A pit and a real crowd. Live music is definitely back. And tonight I was working for Katie’s team which was an absolute delight. Food, drinks, somewhere safe to leave my equipment and access all areas for her set as the opening act. Here are a few of my favourites.
After Katie Kittermaster, Scouting For Girls warmed up the crowd for Olly Murs with Roy Stride getting, well, very much into his stride.
Bizarrely, Olly Murs had what, to me at least, seemed the toughest light to shoot in with an enormous LED blaring out “Olly Murs Bedford Park” in case people got so lost in the music they forgot they were in Bedford. The backdrop just made things harder to shoot because at times there wasn’t much front lighting on him so once I’d got the obligatory shot of him with his name and face in the background I studiously avoided that angle. Anyway, like Scouting For Girls, I shot my allotted three songs and headed off well before the crowds after a very enjoyable evening.
It seemed a little strange to be back shooting another festival only a week after the last one. People kept asking me how it felt. Well you’d never have known Covid existed today. People were out partying as if nothing had happened which is probably not surprising.
Mighty Hoopla was cancelled last year and tonight Cheryl (Tweedy, Cole, just Cheryl?) was making her return to live performances after a long absence. As far as I know there has never been any pit access for Cheryl before or there certainly hasn’t for many years. So while there were a good few interesting artists to shoot, my reason for venturing to a packed South London park was to photograph Cheryl.
Before she took to the stage I photographed a fair few others. Atomic Kitten, Alexandra Burke, Raye, Gabrielle and Kathy Sledge from Sister Sledge.
Inexplicably, Becky Hill was on at 2.30 in the afternoon which seemed crazy so I missed her. And Katie Price pulled out, although we wouldn’t have been allowed to photograph her anyway. What was ridiculous, before we were only given one single song for Cheryl, was that every single image I sent for syndication had to be pre-approved by festival PR. I can’t say they were thrilled about that either, but with only 4 photographers there it fortunately didn’t take too long.
I’d asked about access for Cheryl a number of times and I’d been repeatedly told we would get 3 songs in the pit. We got one. After all this time you’d think they’d be more flexible, especially as this is about her musical comeback. Anyway, here she is…