Guest Blog: Photographing Bonnaroo for Red Bull, Day 2, with Music Photographer Brad Moore

Angelique Kidjo is interviewed by Sal Masekela at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.
Angelique Kidjo is interviewed by Sal Masekela at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.

We arrived on site for the second day of Bonnaroo around 1:00 p.m., and I started with an interview with singer/songwriter and activist Angelique Kidjo and Red Bull’s Sal Masekela. When shooting interviews like this, my goal is to capture images that show both the production involved in case the client needs it, as well as photos of the interviewer/interviewee. Depending on how much space I have to move around, I’ll use a mix of 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses.

From there, I went back to the Red Bull trailer to do a quick edit and check with my editor before heading out for my first performance of the day at What Stage (the main stage).

Since it was the first day of performances on the main stage, I arrived early to make sure I familiarized myself with the entry points and reported to security. The scene had a push in the middle (, and I found that most photographers would be posted on one side. I headed to the opposite side, because who wants to get the same shots everyone else gets?

Francis & The Lights performs at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.

Francis & The Lights, of which Francis Farewell Starlite is the only member, took the stage with a supercharged set. As the first act of the day on this stage, he really woke up the crowd with his performance. I mainly relied on the 11-24mm f/4 as a wide-angle lens for the whole thing.

Chance The Rapper watches Francis & The Lights perform at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.

In the middle of the second song, I heard someone say, “Oh, there’s Chance!” I step back from my camera and look up at the stage-side balcony, and of course there’s Chance The Rapper watching in support of his collab partner. Even though I was right at the scene, he was still a good distance away from me, so I used the 70-200mm f/2.8 for this frame.

Francis & The Lights performs at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.

I finished with Francis, then moved on to the next series on my list.

Cold War Kids performs at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.

This was my first time seeing or photographing Cold War Kids, and they did not disappoint me. The only downside to daytime outdoor performance is that scene lighting doesn’t have much of an effect on photos. That’s pretty much all white/warm light from the sun. Fortunately, lead singer Nathan Willett is an energetic performer and gave the photographers plenty to work with.

Brad Shultz of Cage The Elephant hangs out with friends at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.

After Cold War Kids, I went to the artist reception area where various vendors are set up (as well as Danny Clinch and his backstage artist portrait area) in hopes of getting some candid photos of hanging artists. Cage The Elephant’s Brad Shultz and his friends were more than happy to pose for a photo! I didn’t want to be right in front of them, so I took this on the 24-70mm f/2.8 to be wide enough to fit them all in the frame without being right in front of them.

Mario Cuomo of The Orwells enjoys a Red Bull at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.

Mario Cuomo of The Orwells also happily posed for a photo and happily drank Red Bull for his picture.

Portugal. The Man is interviewed by Sal Masekela at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.

After getting some candid footage, I turned the corner to Sal’s World, where he was interviewing Portugal. The man.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band is interviewed by Sal Masekela at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.

Then I followed Sal to this picnic table where he was joined by the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band for an interview!

Tove Lo performs at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.

After this interview, I returned to Which Stage to photograph Tove Lo. His set was one of the most entertaining of the festival! With the sunset, the stage lighting was much more effective than before. And she was constantly on the move, which made it a fun time!

Tove Lo performs at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.

I believe every photographer in the pit has a shot like this, but who doesn’t love a good hair shot?

After the Tove Lo set, I had some time to go back to the Red Bull trailer and download/save and edit/upload before heading to That Tent for the Preservation Hall Jazz Band set.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band performs at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, USA on June 9, 2017.

These guys were my last set of the day. Throughout each day, I tried to limit the number of photos I took of each performance, but this one was a challenge! They were so awesome and full of energy, emotion and expression that I didn’t want to take my finger off the shutter.

It was my first night of the week, ending around 10:00 p.m. before returning to the trailer one last time to edit and upload.


You can see more of Brad’s work at BMOOREVISUALS.com and follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

Leave a Comment