So much for keeping up with my blog...
But I'm back for now with a new post about this year's 8123 Fest. I was lucky enough to be granted a photo pass for a time slot at the festival (photo passes were raffled off this year) - that time slot just happened to cover the two very bands I was hoping to be able to shoot: Mayday Parade and The Maine. Now if you know me, you know The Maine has been my favorite band for so many years at this point. It was at the festival that I realized that this band has been a part of my life for nearly a decade! Nine whole years of binging on every album and going to shows. Mathematically, that's freakin' 41.67% of my life! I've seen these guys in Green Bay, San Diego, LA, Phoenix, and Madrid to complete a total of 18 shows along with interviews and photographing them over the years. And oh god, the amount of merch I've bought... I might have payed their rent on my own a good amount of times haha. Anyways, if you want to just skip to the photos I took, they're at the bottom of this page - there's some sappy fan stuff in the middle...
Here's Jared, John and I the first time I ever saw them live on a boat on the Fox River in my hometown of Green Bay. Still don't understand how/why they would come to GB but it happened and it was great. Ignore the timestamp on my aunt's camera - this was June of 2010. God, I look like a baby.
There's really no way to put into words how much this band has changed my life - in the shortest way possible, their music has cultivated so many incredible friendships, so many jam sessions in my car... Additionally, a lot of their albums have been released at pivotal moments of my life and became the soundtracks of those memories: moving to California, graduating high school, living abroad, graduating college and more. And I know people roll their eyes when they hear someone say "(insert band name here) changed my life," because, I get it, some people don't care much for music - it's just something they enjoy on the radio and it doesn't affect them much. But for others, music just does something to us. I can't explain it, but my heart races when a song I love comes on; I'll get goosebumps; I instinctively start to smile (or even cry idk). And I don't even know why The Maine sparked that something for me 10 years ago, but to this day, they still do. I guess like how Marie Kondo says (I'm obsessed with her Netflix show), but there's stuff that 'sparks joy' for you - that stuff happens to be music.
And that's what I think this whole festival embodies - no one else has to 'get it,' but you know that walking around the grounds, every person you look at 'gets it.' They have that same connection to this band that you feel and you can feel it in the atmosphere that everyone around totally feels the same joy in that moment as you. It's a cool ass feeling. And for those of you who don't know the meaning behind 8123, it's the address numbers on the side of a building across a parking garage that the band members used to see when they would hang out in the garage as teenagers. They built a bunch of memories at this place and their song "We All Roll Along" references this:
Oh back to our first cigarette
You know we can't forget all the faces that we've met
Eighty One (Eighty One)
Twenty Three (Twenty Three)
Means everything to me.
Take me back to the parking lots
The sleep we fought
And all the places we got caught
This place will always be part of me
Yeah you're all a part of me
I think everyone has this nostalgic love for something so simple, but it symbolizes something greater. The number eventually became their self-made label name and it only made sense to make it the festival name. I've been wanting to get the number tattooed since high school actually, and my friend Krystal and I almost did last weekend, but slots filled up for the openings the band had with their tattooist friend. Plus, I'm such a chicken with needles - I know I will someday, but I guess just not yet.
Here's me visiting the parking garage overlooking ~the actual~ 8123 when we went to the festival in 2017. It's such a simple, industrial building, but it really embodies so much more.
This is placed on the wall at The Maine's store in Phoenix
Here's me getting ready to shoot for my 6:30-9:00 pm time slot. I got to shoot the entire set - never been able to do that before!
Real Friends played at the fest and started a circle pit so here goes me into the pit with my expensive camera:
The festival was right in downtown Phoenix, it was such a beautiful day. The last festival was cold and rainy.
My friend Nairie got drunk and danced all of Real Friends' set. She would have danced anyway but I love how loud she was due to the alc.
These are friends I'm so grateful to have in my life: Maya, Nairie, and Krystal.
Forever grateful for Puckett. We've bonded over our love for The Maine since high school
love love love
I guess there's enough blabbering from me - I know I could type forever about how I feel about The Maine and I just won't do it (or them) justice. Now as far as photographing them at 8123, that was the best part of my weekend. It was like coming full circle; I loved this band even before I ever knew I wanted to be a photographer. And here I was, singing along to them play their first album front to back with my camera in my hand, having the freakin' time of my life. To be able to do my favorite thing in the world with my favorite dudes, it was just exhilarating. Now, I've photographed them before, but I've for the most part been disappointed in my results because I never got the BEST photos I felt I should have gotten for them as my favorite band. So luckily, for my 4th time photographing them, I finally broke the curse and finally captured some moments that I absolutely love. My confidence had been dwindling a little in 2018, but I started my year with a fresh mindset that I think really helped me out with these photos:
Here's some Mayday Parade photos: