Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Through the Eyes of a Child: The Waterfront Blues Festival 2019

By MIKE LEWIS Photos by MIKE AND SYDNEY LEWIS // Meet OMN's newest photographer, seven year-old Sydney, daughter of OMN photographer Mike, on her first assignment at the Waterfront Blues Festival.

Typically, children want to imitate their parents particularly those who are very young. My daughter, Sydney, has been asking since around the age of three when she gets to join me in the photo pit and it’s something that has been really difficult to explain. She doesn’t quite grasp the concept of needing to have an outlet to shoot for, she isn’t familiarized with the process of contacting the right people to get approval, and her knowledge of proper pit etiquette is non-existent and this point.

I’ve told Sydney here and there that I would try and get her a pass and I initially thought it would be like most children; she’d soon forget and go back to focusing on building things like LEGO’s or playing with Shopkins, but that hasn’t been the case. Often there was some humorous responses from her such as when I didn’t have a pass for her when I attended Def Leppard to which she replied, “I really want to go, daddy! You know how much I like cheetahs!!” We had to sit down and talk about who Def Leppard was and why there would be no wildlife involved in their live performance. Then there was the Avatar incident last month. This happens to be one of her favorite bands and upon learning she wasn’t going to the show and I had a photo pass, she broke down into a huge tantrum that lasted nearly 30-minutes. It took weeks to get her to even look at the pictures.

When I first approached Oregon Music News about the possibility of having Sydney joining me in the pit it didn’t really take long before our editor thought that in fact it might not be a bad idea. I wasn’t certain what show I would take her to first and considering the number of metal shows I attend, I had reservations. It’s not that she doesn’t like the music but the possibility of crowd surfers or attendees possibly coming over the barricade is a little concerning. However, the Blue Festival provides the best opportunity and it would also let me see if it was something Sydney really had an interest in or if it’s just a passing idea that will soon be replaced by the desire to color princesses.

To date, Sydney has only attended one concert with me and that was Trans-Siberian Orchestra last year. This would be her first festival and went spent a fair amount of time just wandering so she could get an idea of what was going on. She kept telling me how it didn’t look like a concert at all but at this point we hadn’t even made our way to one of the stages. I finally managed to get her over to the photo pit in time for Big Monti where she showed her pass and walked into the photo pit without issue. I gave her a few brief tips prior to the set, instructed her to make certain that she kept out of the way of other photographers and to stick close to me. For the most part she did fairly well although the volume was a little too much for her and we abruptly left the pit only to return after a friend brought her some earbuds.

Upon exiting she immediately wanted to take a look at her work so we found a shady spot for her to review the photos. As she looked through, she asked, “Daddy, did you get a picture of the drummist?”

“No,” I replied, “and it’s drummer.”

“Oh, well I did!” she proudly proclaimed.

While I wanted to get her to another stage keep in mind that I’m dealing with a young child and as it was growing close to 5PM, she decided that instead of shooting she wanted to have dinner. So, after a brief walk to get some pizza, a minor distraction when she saw a gaggle of geese with their goslings and needed to get photos, and a stop so she could admire the river and boats, we were back in the festival once again. She was back in the pit once again for The California Honeydrops. This is where she did in fact make a critical photo pit mistake but one that only a child would make. Sydney decided that it was a great idea of simply sit down right in the midst of everything but she was quickly corrected. I told her that she should never just sit in the photo pit and if she was done, we could leave the area. She wasn’t; she just wanted to look at more photos.

Fatigue however started to set in by this point. I could have kept going but Sydney was trying to nap on the grass and I knew that it was probably time we left. I assumed that she wasn’t interested in a return visit but to my surprise she said that she would like to go back the next day. It’s still undetermined at this writing if in fact we will, but ultimately, I will let her decide if this is what she really wants to do.

Not every photo that she took is great. She still working with understanding the concept of focusing, often getting a shot lined up properly is still something of a mystery to her, but overall, she didn’t do that bad considering that she’s a completely novice. At some point I’m certain I will have to contend with the dismay when she sees me photos and sadly states how mine look better. Sydney has yet to really grasp the idea of experience and that her one time in a photo pit aren’t going to match having nearly a decade and hundreds of shows under your belt. If she wants to continue joining daddy in the photo pit, that’s fine with me but it’s her decision. Right now however, she’s still reveling in the moment of finally getting her shot to be up there with me.

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Good work Sydney! Nana is proud of you!

Cory Burden

I’m the “Drummist” and little darling, you did great!!


Mike, well done sir! i wanna see the drummist pic...

Jay lorenzen

Nice job Sydney. You have a bright future ahead of you. ROCK-ON GIRL !!

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