Tag Archives: festival

Bands in the Backyard: A Country Music Festival

As part of a story on the pot economy in Pueblo, Colorado for High Country News, I took pictures at Bands in the Backyard. Why? Well apparently it’s the only music festival in the country with a pot shop on-site. The organizer of the festival, Tommy Giodone, owns a marijuana dispensary and a small indoor grow, which he opened up to country music aficionados who grooved to names like Toby Keith and 38 Special.

It was quite the scene, with RVs lined up to camp and tailgate for the weekend, and tons of folks donning cowboy getup. And boy was it hot. I wish I had joined the fun on the giant blow-up water slide, but I made do by making a midday exit to a library to file photos instead.

Here are some frames that weren’t relevant to my marijuana story, but I liked all the same:

Kids keep cool on a blow-up waterside at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015. Temperatures reached 100 degrees during the weekend.

Kids keep cool on a blow-up waterside at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015. Temperatures reached 100 degrees during the weekend.

Josh Kennedy, 24, extracts a dart from a punctured beer can while playing "beer darts" in the campground at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

Josh Kennedy, 24, extracts a dart from a punctured beer can while playing “beer darts” in the campground at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

Festival-goers cool off while tailgating at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

Festival-goers cool off while tailgating at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

Joe Quesada and John Downey use binoculars to people watch and improve their view of the stage at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

Joe Quesada and John Downey use binoculars to people watch and improve their view of the stage at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

People scream while trying to catch merchandise thrown from a balcony by a festival sponsor at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

People scream while trying to catch merchandise thrown from a balcony by a festival sponsor at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

People enjoy and record videos of the music at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

People enjoy and record videos of the music at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

Hannah Duran and Tyler Moltrer play fight during Toby Keith's set at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

Hannah Duran and Tyler Moltrer play fight during Toby Keith’s set at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

CJ Andersen, 23, and Carissa Hiteshew, 20, kiss at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

CJ Andersen and Carissa Hiteshew kiss at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

Technicians adjust spotlights as the sun sets at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

Technicians adjust spotlights as the sun sets at Bands in the Backyard on June 19, 2015.

 

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Hare Krishna

Tatiana Ortega prepares flower garlands for the Janmastami Festival. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

Tatiana Ortega prepares flower garlands for the Janmastami Festival. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

I came to Chile to experience Latin American culture, learn Spanish and hone my skills as a photojournalist in a foreign country. It’s amazing how quickly I’ve gotten comfortable with talking to people and asking for caption information despite the language barrier. At the same time, I can’t record quite as much information about the pictures I take because of my limitations. People in Santiago are very open to being photographed, and I’m often not the only person with an SLR camera. People are constantly recording moments with their phones and cameras, which helps me feel less like a tourist or glaringly obvious photographer.

As far as experiencing Latin culture, I’ve done plenty of that, but I’ve also come to realize how much we share world cultures and traditions. I photographed a Hindu festival, which is not the traditional religion in Chile, before photographing any other big groups of people. The scene was similar to a Hindu festival I might find in the U.S., and at times I forgot I wasn’t at home. Dancing and chanting came from instincts deep within people’s bodies. Vibrant colors filled the room. I was almost overwhelmed by how many interesting moments there were to photograph. It was difficult to stay still, because my body wanted to dance, as I shot the jubilant faces of the people at the festival.

Here are some of my favorites:

A woman pauses during dancing at the Janmastami Festival to take a video of the scene. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

A woman pauses during dancing at the Janmastami Festival to take a video of the scene. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

Are Mirochnick tries to get Ian to dance at the Janmastami Festival. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

Are Mirochnick tries to get Ian to dance at the Janmastami Festival. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

(From left) Sachi, Anandini and Goura dance in front of an alter for Krisha. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

(From left) Sachi, Anandini and Goura dance in front of an alter for Krisha. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

Are Mirochnick (in white) dances with other men at the Janmastami Festival. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

Are Mirochnick (in white) dances with other men at the Janmastami Festival. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

Adriana Waikinao paints Loreto Millalen's feet with lipstick to mimic henna before they perform a dance. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

Adriana Waikinao paints Loreto Millalen’s feet with lipstick to mimic henna before they perform a dance. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

Sachi waits to perform a theater dance with other girls. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

Sachi waits to perform a theater dance with other girls. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

A man bows to Krishna upon entering the Janmastami Festival. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.

A man bows to Krishna upon entering the Janmastami Festival. Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the Janmastami Festival that commemorates the birth of the Hindu god Krishna on August 28, 2013 at Hare Krishna Temple in Santiago, Chile.