Monday, 31 May 2010

Shooting the Newport County Music Festival

Getting up this morning was a bitch. After spending almost the entirety of Saturday led on the settee in the recovery position praying I wouldn’t turn my guts inside out and vomit. Again. I dragged my backside out of bed for a production meeting and to shoot some pre event interviews for the Newport County Music Festival documentary. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to being in front of the camera, but I had a job to do as writer and presenter. On arriving at Spytty Park looking for two large marquees we were greeted by a fairly big tent and the attempted erection of a slightly smaller gazebo. Disappointed with the scale of the event we hid from the persistent rain and endless grey sky in the stands and shot an interview with the DJ tent headliners, DJ Denzo and MC Wotsee.

We met at 8.30 Sunday morning, well they did. I arrived at 9 after attempting to source a wheelchair for some tracking shots, but settled on an old office chair I discovered in my garage. We arrived at the event to find that although we had been promised our own room to set up base it had not been organised. We were eventually given the key to a portacabin to keep our gear. The weather was looking good and everything seemed to be ready to go, but the schedule had changed in the DJ tent, bands tent and Newport City Radio acoustic lounge in Bar Amber. Our schedules also had to change, but thankfully there were no major clashes and our five cameramen would be able to get the lot.

The event started slowly as people trickled in and so we caught up with some of the bands and got some interviews. We shot some decent content with the bands talking not only about themselves, but also the Newport music scene, local talent and the closure of the famous TJs. We shot what we could, but dragged out feet a little until the crowds began to gather as the afternoon went on. The sun was blazing and as the crowds gathered we went out and got some words from the people enjoying the sun. We then got our key shot. We sat Matt on the office chair and as I pulled, Nathan pushed and we got a great tracking shot all the way down the running track and passed the crowds as they soaked up the sun. why rent a dolly for 600 quid a week when you have an office chair?

Later in the day the music got better and the artists with the bigger followings drew crowds into the tents. Dirty Goods performed a faultless acoustic set live on Newport City Radio from Bar Amber and the crowd who had squeezed in gather them fantastic support. The DJ tent filled with people throwing shapes, although it felt one throw away look at the wrong roider could’ve sparked a mass riot, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves anyway. The bands tent was filled with the card carrying members of the Newport rock and indy scene all supporting local talent. We shot some great stuff of the key bands, got some good stuff wandering through the crowds and even got some idiotic Newport County fans warning Cardiff fans not to come to Newport. Marvellous. Despite the council’s attempts to quieten the festival after supposed complaints of noise pollution, the event motored on.

All in all I think it was a decent day and decent crowd. Some of the bands were ok, some not too good, but others were top notch. The Dirty Goods absolutely rocked the main tent at the end of the night until the event ran over and it was shut down. Despite the organisational difficulties thrust upon us by the event promoters we got some great footage in the can and I’m confident we can make a good little film about the event. If nothing else the several job offers we received from local bands and artists were worth the long day and at 1.30 am we finally made it home.

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