Los Angeles festival juggernaut HARD announced yesterday that there will be a total media blackout for the HARD "Day of the Dead" event. This along with other festivals cracking down hard on photographers may spell an end for freelancers.
With less than a week before the event, Live Nation restricted the total ticket sales to 40,000 and enacted age restrictions to 21 and over on top of the total press blackout. This means that even the artists are prevented from bringing their own hired photographer to the event. This is a huge hit to those who have worked tirelessly to find their place in the festival photography world.
Realistically there is no such thing as a media blackout today, every attendee has a mobile device capable of taking and sharing photos. However, limiting artists from bringing their own photographer seems silly. Sure lock down the random requests for pit passes, but why exclude those like Adam Elmakias from working with a band they’ve developed great relationships with. The most frustrating part is that HARD seems tight-lipped about the situation. This all is perhaps fallout from the two teen girls who passed away at HARD summer in August.
Insomniac has also cracked down on photographers this year. Personal photographers (paid or unpaid) will no longer be allowed to accompany artists; instead, the festival’s official team of photographers will provide services on a tier-based system. Essentially, pushing out everyone else so they can have the pie all to themselves. Citing safety concerns as the reasoning seems reasonable until they decided that they wanted to charge the artists for coverage.
It’s really too bad to see a blanket policy enforced because either they are too lazy to sort through the requests for legitimate coverage or letting the actions of a few affect the industry as a whole. I’ll gladly stick to my hardcore shows where they seem happy to have coverage. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on the moves by the festival hosts.
Per Billboard: "Due to interest and demand from media to cover the artists and performers at Hard, the organizers have revised their policy to now offer credentials to qualifying media." Who knows what they will deem as qualifying however.