The Best One-Day Music Festival I’ve Ever Been To – The Whitaker Block Party

A little background.

Whiteaker Block Party is a neighborhood event for the Whiteaker neighborhood of Eugene, Oregon. This was the 11th year of the block-party. The neighborhood residents and businesses in the hood pull together and volunteer to throw a ten-hour party. Which is more like a music festival than block-party.

I had been approached a few months back by Mick Dägger of the band Dick Dägger to see if I was interested in shooting the Whiteaker Block Party and then he later asked me to manage the photographers. I was excited to volunteer for the job. The word got out that I was working the festival and people I know would come up and be enthusiastic that I was shooting the show. It feels good to know I have fans of your work.

Planning the job.

How do you plan a job like this with two photographers? You have to know the players and the layout of the event you’re shooting. I tried to put a plan together, I had a Google Doc of the bands that needed to be photographed. I planned out different routes between stages where I could get to a good vantage point to photograph the attendees, vendors and volunteers. That was the plan at least. I started my planning process weeks in advance. I needed to prepare and purchase any supplies necessary for the event. I worked on a project a month earlier and already bought extra batteries and memory cards, so I was well equipped in that area. I only brought one too many lenses, which is pretty good for me. I brought a mono-pod and never used it and I didn’t bring a tripod and didn’t miss not having it.

When Tyrone Russ (the other photographer) and I arrived on location at 09:45 we re-evaluated our plan. We decided on a new plan; abandon the orginal plan. New plan: Shoot everything and anything interesting.

How was the music?

The music was amazing. Just amazing. Almost all local acts. There is such a deep talent pool of musicians in this place. It is a little ridiculous. There really was music for everybody, and every musical taste. I just wish the schedules were staggered a little better, but with eleven stages I could see that being difficult. There were a lot of acts that I like that I had never heard of, but I really enjoyed seeing. There were several stages, I couldn’t get to because things were so to tight.

It’s not just about the music.

There was a lot going on the at block-party, more than just music. There were street performers and arts and crafts for the kids and just a bunch of neighbors hanging out together, playing out with their dogs and children. I think I saw some people having a beer together. This event is nothing like I’ve ever been too. Ferry Festa in Dobbs Ferry and Ferrogosto in the Bronx are a lot like a big block-parties, but hanging out in the Whit with these clowns was the highlight of my time in Eugene.

I left at 10:15pm and I woke up at 10:15 the next morning, I walked down to the zone and if I didn’t see the party for myself, I probably would have assumed that it didn’t happen. Man, the cleanup crew really did a great job.

Nice work guys.

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Off stage
On stage

Good Night Folks

An Interview with Surfs Drugs

I hang out with a lot of bands, I get some funny photo sessions. So on a recent shoot with Surfs Drugs, the guys and I had a great mock interview session.

I love these guys, they have a great sound and real professionalism. I love shooting with musicians and bands that take what they do seriously even if there is nothing serious about their personalities. The job is the job, but there is no reason you can’t have some fun at work.

The Sketchy Park Under the Freeway

Washington Jefferson Park in Eugene in is a neighborhood classified by the locals as fairly undesirable. This area of town is sort of coming into its own though. I still wouldn’t park the car over here and leave it unattended. There is a pretty nice skate park and the trees are quite nice. However, I don’t think I would stroll through here in dark.

Four Bands at The Boreal

Living in the Pacific Northwest affords me with the opportunity to catch independent music almost any night of the week. Last night in Eugene was another great evening of music. Berg and I hit up The Boreal to see some friends and four great bands perform. The bands hail from Eugene and Portland, so some homegrown music was on the menu. I had a lot of fun, the music was loud, the scene was chill and everybody seemed to love the music and the venue. The show was definitely worth the $5 cover.

Last night’s bands; Cheesepuff (eug), Killed by Health (pdx), Hey Lover (pdx), and VCR (eug).