Music Festival: Pay Us $500 to Shoot Concert Photos for Us

A popular music festival is offering a new “fan experience” that’s raising eyebrows among some photographers: pay $500, and you’ll have the opportunity to shoot concert photos for the festival from the photo pit.

The Firefly Festival, which happens in mid-June in Delaware and features many of musics hottest names, is selling the opportunity as “Concert Photographer for a Show.”

For a fee of $500, you’ll “get access into one of the most exclusive areas of the festival grounds – the photo pit,” the website reads. “You will be escorted by an official Firefly photographer, given a professional camera, and allowed to take photos of your favorite Firefly artist from the photo pit.”

“After the show, we will edit your photos for you and the best of the bunch will be featured in our post-festival albums.”

A footnote states that “artists may be restricted,” and that you’ll only be able to shoot photos during the first three songs of a set.

“Concert Photographer” is just one of the several experiences available through the Firefly Festival store.

There’s no indication as to whether this new “fan experience” will impact the opportunities given to professional photographers — we’ve reached out to the festival for comment — but it seems that at least a portion of the “post-festival albums” will consist of fan photos.

If fans do jump on this “experience,” then the Firefly Festival has come up with a pretty clever way of receiving free concert photos while making money in the process.

Update: We have yet to hear back from the festival, but shortly after we reached out to them the description of the “fan experience” was changed:

The description of the experience before (left) and after (right).

“After the festival, you will be the sole owner of your photographs, and if you’d like, our team can help edit the best of the bunch,” the festival says now. “With your approval, Firefly is willing to share your favorite photos in our post festival albums.”

“This experience is meant for superfans, not aspiring, amateur, or professional photographers,” the new description continues. “If you’re interested in being a part of the official Firefly photographer team, submissions will be available in the fall for 2018.”

Update: Jared Polin asked Firefly whether the bands get a cut from the package fee and whether they’re aware of the deal. Here’s the response he got:

Thanks for your interest in the photographer experience. Once we receive an inquiry, we work directly with the selected artists’ team to ensure that everyone is aware of the experience happening. The bulk of the cost comes from the services that Firefly is providing (escorting, equipment, editing post event, etc) so artists typically do not ask for a cut. But if they do, we will work with them.

Here’s Polin’s take on the “experience” being offered (warning: there’s strong language):

Update: It appears that Firefly has removed the “Concert Photographer for a Show” experience from its online store.

Update: Here’s what Firefly tells PetaPixel about the experience, which has been taken down:

The ‘Concert Photographer for a Show’ was meant to be a limited, fan-driven experience for the super-fans who otherwise would never have the opportunity to see their favorite artists from the photo pit. The experience has been taken down due to the confusion it is has caused.

Firefly hires several professional photographers to capture images from the weekend. These images are used for marketing and advertising.

In addition to the professional photographers we hire, we credential and work with photographers who are on assignment from accredited media outlets.