OK. Don’t ask me how I did it but with a dash of luck and a little bit of right-place-right-time I managed to land myself access to “the photography pit” at Supafest yesterday. Whoa. But more about that later…
Comeback Kid hit up the Hip Hop heavy Supafest bright and early to catch some rays and move our feet on one of the most beautiful days Melbourne could’ve produced. First up we caught Bow Wow but because I’m an idiot (you heard it here first people) I didn’t realise it was Bow Wow ’cause he’s removed his cornrow braids, the “Lil” before his name is gone too and well, he wasn’t 12 years old anymore. Duh. Confusion aside, his set was great. Especially when he decided to climb some of the scaffolding and rap above our heads. Next up we caught Ciara… um… mime. But(!) when she did finally sing her voice was so powerful that we changed our tune (and her dancing of course is epic). She concluded with a very sincere speech thanking us for our time and support and maybe I was feeling a bit emotional but it was quite a touching moment.
We’re not gonna lie to you, a lot of the acts after Ciara and before Busta Rhymes all kind of became one big blur. It wasn’t until Busta hit the stage that we got to witness a really solid set. So many of the acts relied too much on their respective DJs and not enough on their stage presence and skill. Too many songs were cut short for “effect” but as a result it was hard to “find your groove” and really enjoy each piece. Regardless, Busta picked up the slack and was followed by a wowzerz set from Nelly. It got hot in herre (sick sic) very quickly and we danced like crazy to each and every song. Nelly played the ultimate crowd pleasing set (which was what the Doctor ordered) but it was his AC/DC tribute that was truly charming. With his big grin (and even bigger muscles) Nelly sung his way through an AC/DC medley that got the crowd head banging along. You could tell he genuinely loved this Melbourne band. We can’t sing his praises enough.
So it was at this point that I turned to my friends and declared that I was going to attempt to get into the photography pit for the start of Snoop Dogg. I just had to and was yet to utilise this festival gift! I took off in a hurry through the crowd to enter the “Bling Ring” zone (much like the D-Barrier at the Big Day Out) and after a little struggle (they weren’t letting folks in) I was quickly pushing my way to the front of the crowd. After knocking a few people (sorry all!) I was suddenly showing my media pass to a giant security guard who quickly got me past the barrier. I was in! My heart was beating and I was doing my best oh yeah media whatever front of stage been here done that face.
I quickly pull out my camera (a tiny piece of NOTHING compared to the giant SLR’s that were surrounding me) and was suddenly pulled aside by a security guard:
Guard: I’m sorry but that is not a camera. You can’t go into the pit.
Me: Well, um (and the bullshit begins) I’m actually a social photographer for Pitchfork*, it’s like Rolling Stone online and I’m in charge of the social media and Twitter. I have to get photos for my boss.
Guard: Hmmm. Line up then.
At this point I decide to pocket my camera until it’s absolutely necessary and as we’re all waiting patiently to be moved to the front of the stage the screens light up and O Fortuna starts blasting from the speakers. He’s coming.
Suddenly a bunch of photographers I’m with start getting hassled to the front of the stage, I push my way to the front (I’m 5’1″ and I knew I may never get this opportunity again) and I found myself one meter (one meter yes) from Snoop Dogg. He starts rapping (I was so pumped I could hardly hear the music but he opened with The Next Episode) and it took all my strength not to dance but to take photos like I was meant to! There was Snoop in all his height and glory within reach of my hands swinging his braids and grabbing his crutch. To give you an idea of this moment I whipped up a quick GIF which you can view here. Sigh. After a few minutes we were quickly hustled out.
At this point I decide to head back to my friends. As much as being that close was cool, I’m a sucker for a dance session up the back of a crowd and so I found them again. The hits kept coming and the tributes (Tupac and Biggie) and even some of Snoop’s guest appearances were given their time (P.I.M.P. and Drop It Like It’s Hot were highlights). Between tracks were film-like videos to teach us more about Tha Doggfather. After a non-stop-rapping-dancing set Snoop turned to the crowd and left us with his final words: Hip Hop will never die. We hope not.
*A massive apology to whoever is in charge of these things at Pitchfork. I’m sure you’re doing a wonderful job! I’ll stop pretending to be you now.