Country Thunder 2016

Holy. Crap. The four days of Country Thunder were such a roller coaster, filled with mostly highs.

THURSDAY: Nothing like shooting the biggest event of your life so far and your card reader not being able to read your CF cards. As I’m flying all around town trying to get one before I leave, I get a text from the Megan and Chelsey saying, “do you want the good news or the bad news first?” As I received that text, I also found a card reader, so that took care of the first issue of the day. Well, CT had messed up and not given me a media pass for the weekend. But instead I was given a Backstage pass – which had all the same features as the Media pass plus the access to clean porto’s and free alcohol. So after my small freak out, I was really okay with that.

After I got back to the house and Alysa and I had packed everything up and sorted it ready to go, we get a text that Jordan was running about a half hour late. Even though we picked this time to leave like 2 weeks prior. So here I am freaking out again. Well that half hour turned into just about 2 hours, and we still had to stop at the office and pick up the stuff we were borrowing for the weekend. Well, after leaving that late, I missed the first act. So when we got to the campsite, we let Joe and Jords figure that stuff out while Alysa and I went down to the grounds and the Star Camper. On our way in with security, he had to check my backpack which was fine, but he opened and goes, “holy shit you have a laptop in here!” Like thank you, I didn’t already know that. So we go to the camper and then I shot one act and we headed back to the campsite to help the boys.

As we were heading back to the grounds for the rest of the evenings shows, a massive dust storm and thunderstorm rolled in and ended up cancelling the rest of the shows for Thursday unfortunately. We watched the storm from inside the camper and then Joe, Alysa and I went to bed early while everyone around us, including Jordan took to the rain and mud and proceeded to get hammered.

FRIDAY: We woke up to Garrett waking us up nice and early at 7 am. We asked if Jordan was still sleeping in his camper. Well, Jordan wasn’t there and when we checked find my friends, he was 18 miles away in Delavan and we were completely unsure of how he even got there. But we continued on our day, did some heavy day drinking, complete with about 20 people playing flip cup. I headed down to shoot with Alysa and we just kinda hung out in the Star camper and helped the girls out in between acts and while I wasn’t shooting.

Friday night, Paramalee opened for FGL. And my God. FGL straight killed it. Like unbelievable. Singing all their hits, their new stuff and covered some Backstreet Boys. After another long day, we passed out after we got back to the trailer. Joe ended up getting food poisoning from our attempt at cooking burgers mixed with some heat exhaustion and puked all night.

SATURDAY: We got up kinda early and headed to Whitewater for a shower and a nice nap in the air conditioning. We started the morning with some Jessica’s breakfast and took turns taking our sweet time in the showers. We slept so soundly. We lost Joe for the day, but we were almost back to 100%. When we got back, Alysa and I headed down to the Star Camper again, trying to get as much air condition time as we could. WE ALSO FOUND THE LOVE BUS. JAKE OWEN BROUGHT HIS LOVE BUS WITH HIM. We got pictures, don’t worry. When we got there, the girls were sorting out meet and greets and on stage seating and getting them prepped for their contests and giveaways. They didn’t have any for Jake. And our hearts kinda sank. So I went on to shoot my acts and after Granger Smith Alysa and I were gonna get food cause we were hungry. Well Megan said, “grab food and come back to the trailer.” I mean, that was the plan anyways, but she hadn’t said that all weekend so I knew something was up. So I told Alysa on our way to get food and she was like I can’t eat. And so we didn’t out of complete nervousness. So as I’m downloading in the camper, the three of them are sitting on the couch and Chels goes, “we need to talk” and Alysa’s response was “wer’re getting kicked out aren’t we?” And Megan goes, “We hate you guys so much that we’re giving you meet and greets to Jake Owen.” LIKE WAIT WHAT. Honest to God, we both started crying. HOLY SHIT.

Fast forward a bit – It was raining and then it started raining harder. And thundering and lightning to the point where they evacuated the grounds and stopped Chris Janson mid-act. It was 8:36. The meet and greet was at 8:45. Alysa and I bagged ourselves up in trash bags to keep us dry as we could and walked over to where the meet for M&Gs. We were told it was cancelled, so we started to head back when two wonderful ladies came running after us to tell us it was back on! So after standing in the rain for another like 40 minutes we finally were going to be able to meet Jake. Alysa cried through the whole thing. And for me, it was kinda a blur in all honesty. After we headed back to the camper to get our phones and then since Mike and Joe left we didn’t know who we were gonna watch with, so we took the other backstage pass and went over to the sky box to hang out with the girls. Well, they were already drunk and Megan’s sister was trying to get us drunk. Don’t worry it worked. We drank while belting our lungs out to every word of every song of Jake’s. We ended up going down to the bowl and were even closer, and we continued to belt and have a grand ‘ol time.

After the show, there was a band playing in the tent where our free alcohol was from and we met up with Chelsey’s friends and continued to dance, take shots and have hella fun. Megan and I went back at like 3 am and Chelsey and Alysa went out til like 5:30. It was so nice to sleep in air condition. However, waking up and having to walk back to our campsite the next morning was not.

SUNDAY: Alysa was stil hammered at 11 am. We laid around for a while and Alysa slept off her drunk and then we headed back down so I could shoot. I was so ready to go home at this point. Thomas Rhett started a half hour early, and luckily I opened the door at the right time and caught it and I sprinted my butt down there and luckily I caught him in time. Eric church was a slight disappointment and the bowl was filled with incredibly amounts of second hand weed smoke. Alysa and I just watched from by the Star camper where we could hear it all and tried to psych ourselves up to head back. 2:00 am Sunday morning I was safe and sound in my bed.

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Granger Smith + Earl Dibbles Jr.

Last week, Granger Smith played at Summerfest and then headed to Madison to play a “No Dough Show” for Star at Red Rock. Unfortunately, Earl Dibbles didn’t make an appearance, but Granger Rocked a nice acoustic set. He’s an incredibly talented and very nice guy. Check out some shots!

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Soooo, Here’s the rest of June..

I officially suck at keeping up to date on posting. Yay.

June was full of working weekends, catching up with the kids who were finally home from college for the summer and the start of summer pictures.

I had the opportunity to work for Madison’s first half Ironman distance event; The Wisconsin Milkman Triathlon. It was awesome to watch it all come together, and even better that I got to design some sweet ass banners for the finish line as well!

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Among the seniors I had scheduled at the end of June, I also got to shoot Shake the Lake, which included country stars, 5th GEAR (Local!), Drew Baldridge, LANco and Jon Pardi. After working 9 hours in the heat prior to the show, I was obviously super excited to be running around with 2 cameras stuck to me in that hot heat. I got some pretty sweet shots, so I can’t really complain. (Check out the pictures below!) The boys and I stuck around to watch the fireworks, but at that point in the day, I couldn’t really hang anymore.

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Eastside Vs. Westside

My lacrosse girls had the awesome opportunity to play in the famous Bree Stevens field for their last home game against the Madison Westside team. They were the first girl’s lacrosse game to ever be played there. Although it was gross, wet and rainy, they still made the best of it and had a good time.

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Class of 2016

After the first one was snow delayed in Nashville, it was questionable that the second time around would be able to happen because of the snow here in Madison. But Mother Nature was nice enough to let the show go on.

William Michael Morgan, Clare Dunn, Drake White and Michael Ray took over the stage at the Majestic Theater Tuesday Night and absolutely killed it. There were four rounds where each singer did one song and there ended up being a bonus fifth round where they all picked a song and everyone joined in. They even admitted that they enjoy playing the smaller more intimate shows.

After all the concerts I’ve been lucky enough to shoot, I still have yet to encounter a musician that isn’t as sweet and personable as country music singers. They will start any conversation with you and have the most polite manners you will ever come across.

Thirty Eight.

So it’s been a while since I posted. Well, I’ve posted, but they weren’t terribly thought out posts.

It’s been 38 days since I landed back in the country. 38 days since I’ve had a minute to myself to catch my breath and relax.

In those 38 days, I shot and edited and delivered 12 senior sessions, shot a 1-year old birthday and a swim meet. I worked 30 hours at the Taste of Madison (not including office work for it), another 43 for It’s Glow Time!, plus numerous hours in the office. Oh yeah – I started school full time again in the middle of this mayhem.

I was averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night, and at least 2 cups of coffee a day. (I’m up to about 7 hours of sleep a night and hardly any coffee.) I was running on fumes, completely burned out and wanting to give up on everything. I was cruising Southwest’s website when I had a few minutes looking for the cheapest ticket out of here to Florida just so I could catch a break and not have to deal with adulthood and responsibilities for a few minutes.

My Pictures from Germany and Poland are sitting on my computer, completely untouched. The last thing I wanted to do was go through more pictures. Mary hasn’t really heard about my trip – just in passing of the random things that would happen that something here would remind me of.

I am more baffled by the fact that it’s almost October. I honestly can remember New Year’s Eve and how that night went and every detail of how the 1st went when I worked the New Year’s Day Dash run.

But I love fall so it’s okay. I love everything about it – the leaves changing colors, the thunderstorms, the jeans and sweatshirt weather, the brisk wind and being able to sleep with the windows open again. It’s the beauty of living in Wisconsin and being able to get all four seasons – although sometimes we get too much of one. AKA winter.

I’m excited to have October open and to really enjoy the fall weather and leave colors and be able to relax a bit.