Riot Fest Toronto 2014 Recap

Last month, I had my second ever experience shooting a major outdoor music festival. Riot Fest Toronto 2014 was held on September 6 and 7 at Downsview Park and featured over 50 bands on four different stages. The conditions were muddy, but the weather held up for most of the weekend.

DAY 1 – Saturday, September 6

I went downtown in the morning to rent a second camera body so that I wouldn’t have to fiddle with changing lenses while I was shooting each band’s set. Having two cameras at your disposal is a real time-saver, especially when you only have about the first 10 or 12 minutes (the dreaded “three song rule”) to get the shots you need. Unfortunately, that ate up a lot of my time and I ended up missing the first nine bands of opening day. In addition, all that running around left me feeling sluggish and tired before I even got inside the festival grounds. Picked up my wristbands at the media tent and then got down to business!

Cameras: Canon 60D, Canon 70D (not pictured) Lenses: 70-200mm f2.8, 24-70mm f2.8

Wristbands and Riot Fest app

New Found Glory (USA)
2:20pm-3pm
Riot stage

Manchester Orchestra (USA)
2:45pm-3:30pm
Rock Stage

Citizen (USA)
3pm-3:30pm
Rebel Stage

Alkaline Trio (USA)
3:45pm-4:30pm
Riot Stage

Photo pit

Taking Back Sunday (USA)
4pm-4:45pm
Rock Stage

Let’s play “Find the Microphone!”

AWOLNATION (USA)
4:30pm-5:15pm
Roots Stage

The twin stages, Roots and Riot

BRONCHO (USA)
5pm-5:30pm
Rebel Stage

Bring Me The Horizon (UK)
5:15pm-6pm
Rock Stage

Viewpoint from a huge-ass hill

Pentimento (USA)
6pm-6:30pm
Rebel Stage

Rise Against (USA)
6:30pm-7:30pm
Rock Stage

Epic leap!

Death From Above 1979 (Canada)
7pm-8pm
Riot Stage

Crowd Shots

A distant view of the Riot Stage

Rock Stage

Crowd, Bring Me The Horizon

Crowd, Bring Me The Horizon #2

Crowd, Bring Me The Horizon #3

Crowd, Bring Me The Horizon #4

Crowd, Bring Me The Horizon #5

Crowd, New Found Glory

Crowd, Rise Against

Crowd, Rise Against #2

Faraway crowd surfer

Sunset

Sunset and green hair

Sunset, beer, and mud

By the time I’d finished shooting Death From Above 1979 just after 7 o’clock, I was ready to collapse from exhaustion. It didn’t help that I got slammed into by a crowd surfer who surged over the barrier. Billy Talent, The Flaming Lips, and The Cure were still due up, but I decided to go home early. The Cure weren’t allowing any pit photography during their set anyway.

DAY 2 – Sunday, September 7

I was a touch late getting to the festival, but I still managed to get (literally) a few shots of Wounds – the day’s opening act – on the Rebel Stage. I toughed it out for the next 10 hours and photographed more than 20 bands. Couldn’t shoot every set, just because it’s a bit hard to be in two places at once, but I think I more than made up for my weak showing on the first day.

Wounds (Ireland)
12pm-12:30pm
Rebel Stage

Almighty Trigger Happy (Canada)
12:30pm-1pm
Riot Stage

Lemuria (USA)
1pm-1:30pm
Roots Stage

Nostalghia
1:30pm-2:10pm
Riot Stage

Seaway (Canada)
2pm-2:30pm
Rebel Stage

The Bots (USA)
2:15pm-2:55pm
Rock Stage

Once again, viewpoint from a huge-ass hill

Say Yes (Canada)
3pm-3:30pm
Rebel Stage

Tokyo Police Club (Canada)
3:25pm-4:10pm
Rock Stage

New Pornographers (Canada)
3:35pm-4:15pm
Roots Stage

The Hotelier (USA)
4pm-4:30pm
Rebel Stage

The Head and the Heart (USA)
4:15pm-5pm
Riot Stage

Die Antwoord (South Africa)
4:40pm-5:25pm
Rock Stage

Shooting Die Antwoord’s set was definitely the highlight of the day – insane show!

Dropkick Murphys (USA)
5pm-5:50pm
Roots Stage

Social Distortion (USA)
5:50pm-6:40pm
Riot Stage

Dead Tired (Canada)
6pm-6:30pm
Rebel Stage

Death Cab For Cutie (USA)
6:40pm-7:40pm
Roots Stage

I was more interested in shooting the crowd than the band…

PUP (Canada)
7pm-7:30pm
Rebel Stage

Clutch (USA)
7:05pm-7:50pm
Rock Stage

The National (USA)
7:40pm-8:40pm
Riot Fest

Buzzcocks (UK)
8:20pm-9:05pm
Rock Stage

Metric (Canada/USA)
8:40pm-9:40pm
Roots Stage

City and Colour (Canada)
9:40pm-10:55pm
Riot Stage

Crowd Shots

Crowd, Tokyo Police Club

Crowd, The Hotelier

Crowd, The Hotelier #2

Crowd, The Hotelier #3

Crowd, Seaway

Crowd, Seaway #2

Muddy boots

Daytime moon, Rock Stage

Just chillin’

Travelling in style

Crowd, Dropkick Murphys

Shirts

Shirts #2

Shirts #3

Shirts #4

Shirts #5

Shirts #6

Wrestling

Wrestling #2

Wrestling #3

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…

Special thanks to the Riot Fest folks for granting me access – looking forward to the next one! Follow the link to see the full set of my Riot Fest Toronto 2014 concert pictures.

Camera: Canon 60D
Camera: Canon 70D
Lens: 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
Lens: 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM