Soundwave 2013, RNA Showgrounds, 23.02.2013 – The Belated Quick Round-Up

Soundwave 2013 @ RNA Showgrounds 23.02.2013

This year’s Soundwave was a whole lot of hard work.

Earlier in the week it looked like it was going to be a wash out, with heavy rain forecast for the week, bringing back memories of the 2011 festival and standing in a few inches of water at the second stage. Although there was some heavy rain on the Friday night during Blink 182’s sideshow, the Saturday was bright, sunny and very hot.

The heat was so much that I think I basically ended up with heat exhaustion from the day. A lot of sunscreen and a hat meant that I didn’t burn but walking about 11km (I forgot to turn on the GPS until after I’d been to Stage 6 for Northlane, over to Stage 1 for The Blackout and back to Stage 3 for Dragonforce) and carrying 10.5 kg worth of camera gear on my back really took its toll. One of the very good things about photographing festivals is that you have very easy access to water when you’re in the photo pit, so dehydration wasn’t the issue, just the heat itself.

My day looked a lot like this.

View 23/02/2013 12:16 in a larger map

Total distance: 10.30 km (6.4 mi)
Total time: 9:26:29
Moving time: 7:21:33
Average speed: 1.09 km/h (0.7 mi/h)
Average moving speed: 1.40 km/h (0.9 mi/h)
Max speed: 11.70 km/h (7.3 mi/h)
Average pace: 54.97 min/km (88.5 min/mi)
Average moving pace: 42.85 min/km (69.0 min/mi)
Fastest pace: 5.13 min/km (8.3 min/mile)
Max elevation: 115 m (377 ft)
Min elevation: 20 m (64 ft)
Elevation gain: 429 m (1406 ft)
Max grade: 32 %
Min grade: -54 %

I did leave slightly early to head over to The Tivoli to photograph Einstruzende Neubaten but the soothing air conditioning and plenty of the free ice cold water from the end of the bar couldn’t get my temperature down and stop my sweating. Leaving that soothing environment and getting the train back made me feel even worse, although I’m not sure if the feelings of nausea were due to the effects of the heat or one of the wasted Soundwave-attending bogans dropping his guts throughout the 30 minute trip. When I got back I did discover that I did have a slight heat rash on my chest and legs, areas that hadn’t been exposed to the sun but worst of all that my face had swollen up. Again whether this was a heat-related issue or some reaction caused from sunscreen and sweat underneath my hat, I don’t know, but it basically looked and felt like I’d had a dose of botox. The skin on my forehead just felt like rubber, very odd.

Sunday was just a world of pain. All the normal joint pains but with added blinding headache and very occasional tunnel vision and just a feeling of complete exhaustion. On Monday I wasn’t feeling much better so took a very rare sick day and stayed in bed all day. By Tuesday I was feeling better so went back to work even though I was still fairly shattered and could easily sleep for another 10 or 12 hours.

I’ve always enjoyed photographing Soundwave but this year it was too much of a hard slog. On top of the weather, it’s probably my own fault for trying to do what I always do and make the most of the opportunity by cramming as many bands as I can into the day. A total of 19 bands were photographed this year. It should have been more but plans to photograph Sharks and Red Fang went out the window early in the day thanks to the annual oversight of delivering the photo passes to the box office. Every year it happens and it’s frustrating when you miss out on bands you wanted to see and photograph. Although I was there before 10:45am, by the time the photo passes and contracts had arrived, and I’d gotten in, it was almost an hour later. Other photographers had been there an hour before me so their wait was even longer. Looking back I wonder, given the lack of shade on Costin Street and hanging around in the heat for an hour waiting, if that’s where it all started going wrong.

Highlights were Gallows, Fucked Up and Metallica. I didn’t stay to see the full sets from any of them but they all did more than enough in the time I was watching.

Lowlights were obviously heat and some of the terrible bands on Stage 4 that I popped in to photographing throughout the day between some of the bands of the bigger stages. I guess I’m far too old to understand modern metal (I’m sure I say that every year).

More photos and thoughts coming soon.  In the meantime, a gallery of my photos is here.

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