Radio 1 Big Weekend at Powderham Castle, Exeter - 28th and 29th May 2016

When I heard that Exeter was going to host this years Radio 1 Big Weekend music festival I soon cleared my calendar.  There was no way I was going to miss shooting some the worlds most biggest artists while they were only a few miles from my doorstep.  Normally I'd have to travel a little further for this kind of shoot.

I'm really excited to share these images so I'm going to save the rest of my thoughts for later on in the blog post and get straight into the photographs.

BBC Introducing Stage

In New Music We Trust Stage

Main Stage



The Crowd


I hoped you liked the images, but in case you are interested I'm going to talk a little bit about gear.  Aside from plenty of spare batteries and memory cards this was definitely a two body, two lens job.  The ability to switch between telephoto and wide quickly is really important as the action can be happening in front of you on the stage or behind you in the crowd.  For this gig my chosen gear was a Nikon D610 with 24-70mm f/2.8 VR and a Nikon D750 with 70-200 f/2.8 VR. Both are wonderful combinations to shoot with.

Aside from the camera gear though some essential items are sunblock, water and food.  Shooting a gig like this can be very busy.  Jumping between the press tent and three stages makes for a busy weekend and you don't want to be battling hunger, thirst and sunburn if you're going to take the best of images.  

The Experience

So what is like to shoot a big event like Radio 1 Big Weekend?  If I could describe it in three words they would be exciting, hectic, and fun!   There is no doubt that shooting festivals can be hectic.  With three stages and barely any gaps between an artist finishing on one stage and another starting somewhere else, you have to have a daily plan.  Without some sort of plan you will either burn out or miss someone you need to shoot.

It's also very exciting.  I still get a thrill as I enter the pit at the main stage and start shooting.  You can prepare by watching YouTube videos of the artists to see how they behave on stage, but every performance is different so you need to stay on your toes.

It's also fun.  After all, I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it.  I was located in the BBC Pictures tent and despite myself, the other photographers and the BBC staff being exceptionally busy everybody was enjoying themselves and there was always good chat while we walked between stages.

And finally...

My friends over at MusicMuso have written a full review of the Radio 1 Big Weekend and you read it over here.

My next festival will be Glas-Denbury in July.  As I did with this event I will be posting images live as they happen so remember to check out my Twitter and Instagram feeds.

See you next time on The Unplugged Blog!