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Book Review: Festivals Are Good by Cheryl Dunn


As a lifelong music fan I have always appreciated festivals. However, they are not for me. I used to go to Ozzfest every year in my late teens and early – mid twenties and festivals for me ran their course. Flash forward almost twenty years later and the festival scene is even bigger than ever. They have become life events and major trips for tons of people. When you have that many people in one place there is bound to be ridiculousness and chaos and what Cheryl does is capture the grittier and grimier side of the festival scene almost like an embedded photographer in a war torn country.
She also captures the magic of a crowd. Those fleeting glimpses of a cute guy or girl in the audience that so happens to meet your gaze are staring at you through her lens. If you love music you know that feeling. At some points in the book it’s almost as if you’re staring at a zombie invasion…if the zombies were dressed for summer time music festivals. Cheryl captures all aspects of the crowd from the intense, to the tired, to the downright blackout drunk.
Mud Man

The whirlwind of emotion, depravity, innocence, uniqueness, non-conformity, and conformity all shine through in these photos. If you’re someone who thinks too much (like me) then you’ll feel all those emotions you get when you enter a large crowd. The paranoia, joy, fear, elation, and serendipity is all laid out before you in a cacophony of brilliant true to life photos. At the end of the day we all want something to cheer and someplace to fit in. Some of us also just want a place where we can be as friggin weird as possible and hey – that’s the festival scene!

The book is gorgeous. The wide aspect of the book lends the photos to strike out just a bit more. I see Cheryl as a silent observer in an apocalypse brought on by killer tunes that have laid waste to an entire populace in an end of the world party that’s gotten out of control. The pages are of excellent thick paper stock and this book could be displayed anywhere. I would love to see a volume 2!

Cheryl Dunn: Festivals Are Good
Published by Damiani/Standard Press

For more info or to purchase the book: www.artbook.com/9788862084666.html

About Richard Storm

Richard Storm is a photographer and writer based in NYC. You can see his work at nyphotony.com He tweets too @nyphotony

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