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CleMosh Festival 2023 Review

December 9, 2023 - I was honored to receive an invitation to photograph one of the largest musical festivals in Cleveland, Ohio by the up-and-coming progressive rock band, Midwinter.

I arrived at the venue around two in the afternoon to get everything ready for some promo shots of Midwinter, something I have yet to dabble in as a concert photographer. Admittedly, I was a bit anxious being my first time taking promotional shots for an artist, I was worried the photos wouldn't live up to my expectations but I was pleasantly surprised and everyone was so friendly.

I first met with Kody and his sister Kristen near their practice room an hour or so later to discuss the promo photos. Building off each other's ideas, we utilized the entire backstage area for these portraits including the green room, couches, stairway, and secluded back rooms. Overall, I was honored to have this opportunity and the photos turned out even better than I anticipated!

Before Midwinter went on to play, I photographed Fight From Within at the Gore Cult stage. I was lucky enough to get close to the front, almost at barricade, but the crowd didn't hold back. Within the first few songs, someone decided to violently mosh towards the stage, pushing people while I had my camera at an angle that was not attached to me. I almost dropped my camera due to the intense crowd, but luckily, it didn´t fall.

I had to keep an eye on the time due to having to run back and forth between both rooms to get to the various stages. Regardless, I was determined to photograph as many of the fantastic artists on the lineup as I possibly could. I left the Gore Cult stage around 4:50 to get to the Tavern stage to photograph Dreamwalker, Kody´s other band. Kody awarded me the privilege of photographing on stage during Midwinter's set as well during Dreamwalker, however with six members in the band, I stayed in the photo pit to capture every moment of Dreamwalker's set from the vocalist to the drummer.

After an hour, I was on my way back to the Tavern stage to get everything ready for Midwinter's set. In addition to the photos I captured, I also got the chance to record some video footage of the set. I added an attachment for my camera that holds my phone so I could operate both at once and never miss a beat.

While Midwinter was performing, lead singer, Billy, was dressed head to toe in a cow onesie for the entire set. It was the funniest thing I had seen that night, and it was making the crowd go wild during their setlist. The audience was continuously shouting ¨ MOOOOOO¨ throughout their set, and now ¨MOOO MOTHERF*CKER¨ has been stuck in my head for the past week.

A few hours passed, and I was starting to feel the festival fever with pain in my legs and back from standing all day holding my camera. Eager to catch as many memorable moments of the day as possible, I hadn't taken a moment to sit down at all, and, with more artists performing throughout the night, I wasn't slowing down anytime soon!

Near the end of the evening, people were starting to get rough in anticipation of Tallah and Left To Suffer, the more prominent bands of the festival lineup. People were moshing near the front of the stage all the way to the back of the general admission standing room, it was truly getting crazy in the crowds. I was nearly crushed and almost lost my camera for a second time but luckily the people around me, specifically the man beside me, kept me standing and protected in the mosh. While I was taking pictures, I was beyond grateful for the man next to me who pushed people away when they got too close to me and my equipment, allowing me to take stellar shots of the final acts.

During Left To Suffer's set, the ensemble encouraged fans to join them on stage and the crowd didn't hold back in the slightest, it was almost comical how ludicrous everyone was acting during their set. On stage, fans were dancing beside smiling band members and joining Taylor Barber on the microphone, belting out every lyric word for word. Barber was just as rowdy as the crowd and even decided to throw one of the fans off the stage and into the crowd, who luckily caught him.

I ended the night with two-thousand photos filling my SD card and I couldn't be more proud of the work I produced. I had the opportunity to meet many amazing people and work with bands that were entirely new to me but quickly became favorites of mine. I am so grateful for this opportunity granted to me by Midwinter, I can't think of a better way to end the year off other than this fantastic festival. I will be back next year without a doubt!




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