Last week was the SXSW film, multimedia, and music festival in Austin. It’s a pretty big deal and every Austin photographer I know shot at least one SXSW concert, party, or event, if not several.
Now if you’ve ever met me, you’d know that the BET showcase is not exactly somewhere you’d expect to see me. The line-up included several rappers and hip hop DJs, and I have to admit, I had no idea who any of them were.
I got to the venue – The Stage on Sixth – and was pleasantly surprised by the size. There was a smaller outdoor stage out back under a tent, a mid-sized stage in a large room inside, and an area blocked off as a VIP lounge. They gave me a “talent guest” badge and allowed me to walk around pretty much anywhere I wanted.
That being said, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to an evening of getting trampled by a mob of fans, or standing painfully close to large sub-woofers. I brought some ear plugs, a bottle of water, and found a safe hiding place behind the small stage before the show, just in case I needed to escape for a few minutes.
I had two camera bodies, one with a 24-70mm f2.8 lens and one with an 80-200mm f2.8 lens, my standard set up. I got close to the small stage before the show and expected to be mobbed shortly after the show started, but a miraculous thing happened. I guess the security guys were briefed that I was there because they made sure I had room to walk back and forth across the front of the stage and asked me every few minutes if I was okay.
The same thing happened at the larger stage. I went from dreading a shooting situation to being perfectly comfortable enough to concentrate on my job. I can’t say enough how great the security guys were. There wasn’t a situation, at least that I saw, that wasn’t handled well.
Anyway, I came away with a lot of pictures. Since it was a showcase, every artist got to perform a few songs on stage, then they moved on to the next act. Here are a few shots I got on the small stage:
After the small stage show finished, performances began on the larger stage inside. There were fewer artists, but each had more time. Here are a few images I got inside:
I returned home after the showcase at about 2:30 a.m. and then went to work editing. I sent in over 100 photos and got to bed just before 5 a.m. Click here to view the rest of the BET Showcase photos.