In some ways, that day was like my first day as a Sled Island photographer, exactly four years previously at the same venue. On that Thursday night, June 23, 2016, I covered the performances of three bands downstairs, adapting my settings to deal with the low light conditions; waiting to catch the spotlight transitions and capture a chord change, a wide-eyed look from a singer, or some other decisive moment of performance.
Between those dates, I photographed 66 bands, solo musicians and stand-up comedians at ten venues across the city. Each year, it was an exciting, and exhausting, effort over four or five days to capture images at the evening gigs, sleep for a short while then get up to edit, select and download the photos to meet the 10:00 am deadline. Before the next set of gigs, I would write up stories for my blog, and do some research about the artists I would be seeing later in the festival.
Four years on, the world is a different place. Just like most other public events, the COVID 19 pandemic struck Sled Island and it had to be cancelled. It is surely a pause in the rhythm and rhyme of live artistic performance, and it should be back in 2021. Here is my version, in words and images, of some of those events.