Concert photography has always been one of my biggest passions and it is still, to this day, an aspect of my job that feels almost like a hobby still. You know those people that run around talking about how if you turn your hobby into your job that you’ll never work a day in your life? They are lying. A decade into being a full time professional photographer and I can tell you with certainty that I now protect my hobbies with fierce boundaries, because monetizing the things that brings you joy also clouds them with drudgery. But that is a story for another blog post. THIS blog post is about how I had the incredibly wonderful amazing good fortune to be a Spokane event photographer for Allen Stone’s Annual Family Field Trip, a three day music festival at the Zephyr Lodge on Liberty Lake in Spokane, WA.
I had traveled to work at the Zephyr Lodge before during Covid to take behind-the-scenes images of Allen Stone’s Allen-Tines Day Special. It’s a unique property with a storied history: it started as a boat in brothel and today it offers a location as a year round resort available for private events.
For years, the Stone Family Field Trip was a completely private affair: a small group of invitations were extended to personal friends and family to enjoy a weekend at the lake and lodge together. This year, for the first time, tickets were extended to few hundred people, a motley crew of volunteer staff of friends and family was formed, a new stage was built, and a festival was born!
The format of Allen’s festival is a bit different than a standard music festival. He brings together a crew of his beloved musician friends and they each take turns singing 2-3 of their own songs on stage, and as the night goes on, they invariably all end up on the stage together. For attendees that bought camping passes, the weekend was rounded out with daytime swimming, yoga, a sound bath, and a songwriting class with Allen himself. It offered the chance for fans to meet their heroes just walking to the bathroom or while hanging out on the dock in the lake. It is intimate and incredible: in short, a really exceptional weekend. I feel nothing but gratitude for the chance I had to be their Spokane event photographer for the weekend.
I didn’t anticipate accurately how exhausting it would be being the sole photographer for an entire festival in the 103 degree heat, but I also didn’t anticipate exactly how wonderful the collective experience would be. I made some amazing new friends and I’d like to tell you all about them. If you are too lazy to read my hilarious and sometimes endearing copy, you can simply listen to the playlist with all the weekend’s songs here. Go follow Stone Family Field Trip over on the IG and make a mental note to join us next year, where I’ll be moonlighting as a Spokane event photographer again!
2022 Stone Family Field Trip Musicians
ALLEN STONE is an American Soul Musician from Spokane, WA that most recently made it to the finale of the Eurovision inspired TV show the American Song Contest. Allen has been featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, has two podcasts (How Goods This and Live at the Lodge) that you can find on any of your podcast services, and will be embarking on a reprisal of his beloved karaoke
extravaganza tour with his frequent sidekick Julian Gavilanes. I will also be photographing some of the karaoke tour, so grab yourself a ticket to one of the Texas shows, LA, Portland, or Seattle if you want to see my face.
TEDDY SWIMS may look like a fierce mean human but don’t let that tattooed face fool you: he’s a mushy American singer with a theater and Pentecostal background that loves his mother more than anyone else on this planet and soulfully blends genres including R&B, American soul, country, and pop. I originally met Teddy working on the Allen-tines Special. He’s embarking on a tour of Hawaii,
Australia and New Zealand soon and his US fall tour kicks off at the end of September. His most recent single and video was a collaboration with Meghan Trainor. Teddy has a massive following of youth and almost every night of the festival his baby super fans ended up on stage with him. Get your kid a Teddy Swims plush bear today!
Allen surrounds himself with gentlemen (that all love their mothers, seriously) and MAC AYRES is a stand-up gentle soul that yes, lives next door to his mother. Mac is an American singer-songwriter and R&B musician. He plays the piano and the guitar, both self taught and is the oldest of 6 children.
Mac was also featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert (the pandemic home edition). Mac’s most recent EP Magic 8 Ball was released in 2021. Although Mac has no current tour dates available, give that man a follow so you get the heads up when he emerges again. He’s worth it!
THEO KATZMAN is my favorite find from the weekend at the Stone Family Field Trip as a Spokane event photographer. His melodies are a fusion of blues, funk, indie and pop and damn he slaps on stage. His energy was infectious and I took WAY too many photos of him because of it. He’s a performer that makes use of every bit of stage that he is given, and then he’ll take over just a little bit
more. To be frank, his energy is kind of insane. His most recent album release, Modern Johnny Sings: Songs in the Age of Vibe, is EXCELLENT and has been on heavy rotation in my house since that weekend. If anyone out there can find me a vinyl copy of it, I shall love you forever and ever Amen. Katzman is also a founding member of Vulfpeck, where he still plays today alongside SFFT performer Joey Dosik.
Take a little bit of jazz and blues and update them to a modern approach and you get JOEY DOSIK, a Los Angeles based musician with a catalog of songs brimming with emotion. Dosik seems to want to brend, but not break, the rules – taking music that feels like it’s from another era entirely, adding a dash of humor, and updating it for today. The songs are at times quiet, and at other moments catchy. His
debut full length album from 2018, Inside Voice, is available on streaming platforms, as well as his most recent single, Make a Wish.
Nashville based indie pop artist STEPHEN DAY turned the pandemic into an opportunity to slow things down and infuse some R&B into his music, and he did so with aplomb. You can catch him crooning next at Nashville’s very own Live on the Green, featuring some of my favorite bands and SXSW finds, like Yola, the Seratones, and the Wild Feathers. He’s both sweet and soulful. His
Florida based Cory Hueston most recently could be found representing his birth state of Rhode Island showing off his songwriting skills alongside Allen Stone on the American Song Contest. He recently embarked as a solo singer-songerwriter under the moniker HUESTON. I can attest personally that in addition to being incredibly raw, honest, and emotional, this young man is funny af. Stripped
down, Hueston is soulful and enthusiastic. In so many moments over the course of the weekend, I caught him blatantly and so obviously awed by his collaborators, friends and fellow musicians on stage (literally, I have photos of the man’s stank eye that are incredible). Don’t mix up my meaning though – there were no jealous daggers here – it was overflowing with passionate awe and excessive love and gratitude. It was enough to move one to tears – and that included his own. I’m personally very excited to see what comes next from him in future years. His newest single was released last week – go give the aptly named Cry a listen today.
Canadian based JESSE GOLD lived up to every single Canadian stereotype about niceness and made me his best friend forever when he complimented me on my ability to pull off a neckerchief. I can assure you, it wasn’t a fashion statement, but a necessity as I was dipping it in ice cold water once an hour to keep my body temperature down in insufferable, unseasonably
high Spokane temps. Doesn’t matter though – we good. Jesse was a standout for me over the weekend – sweet, kind, and always an engaging conversation. He’s an infectious blend of enthusiasm and wonder, which perfectly matches his music, an equally infectious blend of pop and R&B. He’s the kind of person you feel at ease around, no matter the situation and his music reflects it. Gold’s newest single Happy Lonely Boy is available everywhere you stream music now.
Spokane based BLAKE BRALEY was the real MVP of the weekend, part of the three piece backing band that learned 75+ songs for the festival. He also writes and performs his own original pieces, steeped in funk and soul. He slays on the organ and his most recent 6 song self titled EP is available everywhere.
There was a moment in the second night of the festival that I did a double take because I was certain that out of nowhere Dolly Parton was on stage. It wasn’t Dolly, but it was the next best thing, Cassandra Lewis. She’s raw and wild, funny and crass. She croons, in between telling honest, suffering stories that somehow are also incredibly funny. It’s messy and invigorating and oh so perfect
and when she belts out her massive voice your jaw drops to the floor. Cass’s debut full length album Always, All Ways just went on limited sale on pre-order and you know I bought the vinyl as soon as it did. Darlin, I want you!
JENNY ANNE MANNAN is an Americana singer-songwriter and musician that hails from the Pacific NW. As a child, she toured with her family’s bluegras band, the Bullas. She became a child prodigy on the fiddle, winning awards and eventually settled in Nashville with her brother for awhile. She’s toured with Paul Overstreet, and as a guest of artists such as Ricky Skaggs, Chris Jones, and Jim Lauderdale.
She currently lives in Spokane, WA and as the official Spokane event photographer of the weekend, I must say that she had the best backlight of any artist the entire weekend. Just LOOK AT that light! Her most recent release is Carnies & Cowboys.
Is any music festival complete without some yacht rock vibes and boys in matching shirts? Fuck no and THE BGP knows it. Frontman Brandon Ghorley is now on of my favorite new IG follows, mostly because the man seems to think he can do ANYTHING, including home improvement projects that are far out of his wheelhouse. Then again, maybe he can – the band has opened for Allen
Stone, Andy Grammar, among other, and advanced to the Las Vegas round of America’s Got Talent on two different seasons. If you want a crash course on their wheelhouse, head to their personalized Spotify playlist here.
Catch a PRÓXIMA PARADA show and you may just get a Spanish lesson alongside it. Frontman Nick Larson used to be a Spanish teacher and the band, whose name translates to “next stop,” effortlessly blends latin roots with Cali-style beach grooves for an extremely chill relaxed vibe. They are joyous, positive and incredibly uplifting AND you can catch them on tour this fall! They are hitting most of the US (including a stop in Austin that I intend to catch on Nov 4th at Empire Control Room).
On a side note, one of the youngest volunteers, Jack Pavlina, is also a musician and he has a brand new single, Pretty Girl, coming out this Friday.
Lauren Lindley is available as an event photographer nationwide. If you are looking for a Spokane event photographer, fill out the contact form here.
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