I’m here in Dallas, Texas for the National College Media Association Convention running around the conference center learning tips and tricks from working professionals in journalism. As cliche as it might sound, my favorite seminar I attended today was Emily Bloch’s “How To Cover A Music Festival Before You’re Old Enough To Drink At One” where she talked about things like creating a narrative from bowties and Fruity Pebbles to organizing a festival plan that optimizes the work-to-bathroom-break ratio.
Here are three tips she shared which really stood out.
- “You can interview musicians and not get lame answers” — Look for different ways to engage musicians. If one of them is wearing a Smiths shirt or has a Talking Heads tattoo, ask about it. You may only get 10 minutes with artists before their “handler” takes them away so be sure to have a list of questions in priority from most important to least. Be sure to get creative too. One of the interviews she has done was over Cuban coladas because the band she talked to commonly used coffee in their lyrics.
- “You still have to breathe” — This quote is as real as it gets when it comes to the sheer intensity of covering a music festival. Bloch takes it to another level when comes to her work ethic. She’s covered 13 bands in eight hours before so she knows the kind of efficiency it takes to cover a fest. It all comes down to logistics and preparation; make a schedule, do the research, bring the essentials but don’t forget to set aside time to sit down, eat a sandwich and take in the environment.
- Don’t write cold” — No this doesn’t mean bundling up in your favorite blanket and heating up some hot chocolate so you can write better. She means the day’s not over until you’ve written that last set review, artist interview, or final preview. You’ll have a better story and remember more if you write the day-of while your brain is still hot and processing all the stuff you saw today. You can “trim the fat” the next day and correct any mistakes you likely made writing that late.
For more sweet tips and tricks, check out her website at https://emilybloch.com and follow her on twitter at @emdrums
Also, check out this kick-ass clip of her’s.