Tim Broekema on audio slideshow nuts & bolts at Bonnaroo, Part 2!

Bonnaroo 2013 photo by Tim Broekema


Last June, photographer Tim Broekema and writer Jon Waterhouse spent four explosive days at the Bonnaroo music and art festival gathering material for audio slideshows that reveal what festival life is like for the thousands of Bonnoroovians every year. When Neal Cohen of Superfly Presents asked Soundslides to partner with Bonnaroo, he said he wanted a software that was super easy to use and quick and cost efficient to get online.

Part 2 of Broekema’s post-festival reflections contains tips on how to prepare for such a tightly scheduled, high-octane assignment. (Here’s Part 1)

Soundslides:  Getting photos and sound recordings for eight audio slideshows in four days seems impossible. How did you plan it?

BROEKEMA:  Jon Waterhouse, the audio slideshow producer who worked with me, and Neal Cohen of Superfly Presents and I would banter over ideas as much as we could before heading out. It is important to plan, but as journalists know, stories always develop when your feet are on the ground and you start snooping. When we went out for the camping story, we started with a golf cart — oh, so much better for the aching feet and aching back. But after cruising on the cart for a bit and seeing nothing, we started to walk, and within a few minutes I captured an image of a women asleep in her car. I would have never seen that from the golf cart. Get on the ground, be curious and, as I said over and over to Jon, patience always pays off.


SS:  What directions did Bonnaroo give you?

BROEKEMA:  As we worked on the ideas, we followed the ideas that marketing directed us toward. The concepts were very broad — like food, camping, the 5k run, nightlife, etc. Those make okay essays, and I think really helped to explain to the casual viewer that Bonnaroo is more — MUCH MORE — than just musicians on a stage.


SS:  I’m sure you had some glitches…

BROEKEMA:  Jon and I were able to complete the task of eight stories from behind the scenes in four days — including navigating traffic getting in and out as well as dealing with 85,000 people in a tight confined space. The biggest problem was on the web support end. The web team was not prepared to be posting the items as we finished them — therefore it ended up not being a deadline production as we were told it was suppose to be. Lesson learned: If you want to post things online in deadline, don’t forget to think about the backend web-hosting folks. They need staff and time to make that happen. The content gatherers and content producers do just that. There needs to be a “team” in place to post the content once it is gathered.


SS:  Now that you’re looking back, would you say Soundslides was a good fit for Bonnaroo and other events like it?

BROEKEMA:  I would have to say that the complexity of the story that is Bonnaroo is/was best fitted to be told in a Soundslides format. Especially if the desire was for quick and immediate publishing.

What photography equipment did Tim Broekema take with him to Bonnaroo? Read about it in last week’s post.

See more of Broekema’s photography and the complete slate of audio slideshows he made at Bonnaroo.

Read more about the Soundslides partnership this year with Bonnaroo.

Laura Read


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