So What!? Fest 2016

Huge blog post featuring some of my favorite bands. We did a 16 hour drive from Orlando, Florida to Dallas, Texas all in a day to make it to So What!? Fest. I made a list of bands to see the while we drove, and gave myself more work than I should have because I wanted to push myself to do some of the best work I can do.

We got there, and we all got artist wristbands, and I asked if it was able to be used as a press pass, and was told no. I was stuck. Basically, I had to sneak behind the stages since the artist wristband allowed me to go behind. I'd wait until until security would check for other people's wristbands, and would make my way into the photo pit like I belonged there.

After I devised my plan to take photos, the first set of the day was Like Pacific. I first saw this band when I roadtripped to Cleveland to see the AP Tour with a bunch of friends. They're a solid band that I feel like everyone slept on during that tour because they were the opening band. That happens a little too much, but they were one of my favorites on that tour package. 

After sets, I'd go to the merch table every now and then to see if someone was there, or wanted to buy merch. The next set I caught was Myka Relocate .I first ran into these guys in Indianapolis on a Like Moths To flames headliner. Super great guys, and I always seem to catch a jumping shot Michael that he always loves. I've always enjoyed their music, and it was pretty fun to see them again. 

The Plot In You put out one of my favorite albums of 2015. I saw them play the same show with Like Moths To Flames in July that Myka Relocate played, and caught a headlining show they played in September. I didn't pay attention to them at the July, but really paid attention to them in September, and really dug the record. There were a lot of photographers for their set, so I didn't get all the shots that I wanted, so I got a decent one of the drummer with the view of the crowd, and really just enjoyed the show.

Next up was SECRETS. Of course, I've posted photos of this band for the last month and a half, so I can't really write up a post about their set. Being outside made it easier to get certain shots that I had been trying to get all tour. The crowd was definitely a more exciting crowd to play to.

This is when my day started to get a bit bunched, and where I was running stage to stage. I caught Slaves again, which I usually do every time they're in Indiana, and I finally got a chance to see This Wild Life. I had been listening to their record for a while, and they had never come close to Indiana. I only got to catch a couple songs because the next band on my giant list of bands started playing 15 minutes after This Wild Life started. 

Next up I caught another band that I've posted about every day of this tour, Too Close To Touch. It was hard to bounce to 3 separate stages all for only about 10 minutes. The one shot I've been trying to get of Thomas all tour, I finally got. I was told no one else has been able to get it because he only jumps once in the set, and I finally got it. It was nice to see these guys get a pretty decent crowd too. Everyone was walking by, and stopping to check them out. 

Of course I shot Picturesque's acoustic set. We were pretty bummed out when we found out we were playing acoustic, and the stage was outside away from every other stage. There were a couple people who came out and knew the words, but also while they played Speak Softly, they caught some people's attention who were walking because of the high note. It was still fun to notice that people came to see them at the festival.

This is where my day started getting a little less crazy. Knuckle Puck has been one of my favorite bands to listen to since the summer. I was pretty bummed that I missed their first 3 songs, and couldn't shoot photos from the pit, but I used that "Artist" wristband to my advantage, and shot from the stage. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it'd be, and I got some of my all time favorite shots. I spent HOURS editing these few photos to make them my best, and I feel like I nailed them.

In between Knuckle Puck and Blessthefall, I stopped by to catch Hotel Books play a few songs. They played a new song, and their new record is going to be so good. It's always an emotional roller coaster watching this band. No one really made noise, the crowd was completely silent, which was the coolest thing because you just have to take it in when you see Hotel Books because they're so different. 

After that I caught Blessthefall. I never really listened to their records, but it was my third time seeing them. They're one of my favorite bands to shoot photos of because of how much they move, and have fun with cameras. A lot of my shots got ruined because of a guy with a GoPro on a stick in the photo pit, but I got a couple that I love. Funny thing, usually when I post photos of these guys on Instagram or Twitter, I end up mixing up some names and getting them wrong. 

Next up was Real Friends. I'm not the biggest fan of this band, but I figured I'd give them a chance live. It was what I expected it to be, but it was fun at the same time. I was stuck to one side of the stage, which bummed me out, but they moved around enough that I got some photos I really enjoyed. It was definitely nice to get some good lights at an outdoor festival. 

Finally got a chance to shoot State Champs. I caught their AP Tour in Cleveland before I left for tour, and was drooling at the light show. Unfortunately, they didn't use their lights for So What! Fest, but it was still so much fun shooting them. I got 3 songs in, and snuck a few shots from the PA in the photo pit while watching the show with a couple dudes from Too Close To Touch. I even took a shot at crowd walking, but fell about halfway into the crowd, but it was still a fun. I didn't get to see Neck Deep or New Found Glory because we had to go DJ "Emo Night" which is a whole different story. 

There it is, my So What!? Fest experience. Definitely enjoyed being there, seeing some friends, and shooting some of my favorite bands. Hopefully we go through there again next year. I wouldn't complain at all.