Festival photography is tricky. Too much gear, and you risk not enjoying the event you’ve come to see, due to lugging three bodies and ten lenses around JUST IN CASE. Rely on phone photography, and your battery will be drained before 5pm, leaving you unable to locate your friends in the seething hoardes. Which is why I absolutely love the Olympus XA4 for taking to festivals – small enough to go in a super-stylish bumbag, and sharp enough to take great photos, whatever the conditions.
The lens renders colour so well, it’s a no-brainer for me – paired with Fujifilm Superia 800 or even trusty Poundland film, the colours and tones come out with just the right amount of saturation. Many of the closer shots have a bit of vignetting, but I like this effect so keep it in.
This year I went to 2000 Trees and Boomtown, very different in terms of scale (Boomtown is HUGE, literally a whole town built for a weekend) but equally nice for shooting some candid shots (when I didn’t have a beer in my hand, of course).
My XA4 has been serviced recently (by Miles Whitehead), and it’s performing as well as it ever has, apart from a slight light leak on one photo, but as it’s only the second shot on the roll, I’m willing to bet it’s a loading error rather than an actual light leak – I’ll keep an eye out for it though.