A sold-out show is a disappointment for most, but in Marcus Haney’s eyes, it’s an opportunity.
In 2010, while studying film in college, Haney found himself too short on cash to pay for entry to his dream festival, Coachella. So, armed with his trustiest cameras, he snuck in. The risk was big, but so was the reward: Jumping fences proved to pay off in dividends for Haney, who wound up snapping photos that were worthy of the pages of glossy magazines. And he didn’t stop there.
Tomorrow at 10/9c, MTV will air Haney’s film “No Cameras Allowed,” which chronicles the young artist’s experiences of breaking his way into City Limits, Glastonbury and Bonnaroo, among other big shows, capitalizing on his time before getting kicked out and earning some rave reviews for his images and films in the process (Mumford & Sons are among his devotees). Take a look at what Haney told MTV News about the movie, watch the trailer to see what you can expect and stay tuned for more information on Haney’s plan to take his production on the road.
What is it about festivals that are so alluring lately?
From a concert-goer’s point of view, you are getting more than a concert experience. You’re getting a weekend or a vacation or an escape. At a Coachella or a Bonnaroo, your phones are off, you’re worry-free, you’re with a bunch of friends and you can let loose a lot more. It’s an adventure and it’s an emotional experience.
Economically, kids are more inclined to save up their money and hit 20 bands in one weekend — people are looking to get it out in one go. Plus, brands are figuring out that that’s how they can get in touch with people through something authentic, which is music.
How did you justify sneaking into Coachella to yourself that first time?
I don’t think I did justify it to myself. I was just like, ’I really want to go.’ It sold out, and me jumping a fence wasn’t going to take anything away from anybody else if Coachella was at capacity. If anything, I hoped my photos and videos would inspire other people to go to festivals who hadn’t gone before, and bring more audience.
Mumford & Sons are avowed supporters of your project, but do you get any backlash for the film?
Reaction has been pretty positive, and I think that’s because it’s pretty evident that the bands support it, and at the root of everything, it’s about the bands. There’s been a very small negative reaction from some festivals, but they’re quickly realizing that the bands are on board, and the festivals rely on those bands.
A lot of photographers are butt-hurt because they begged and pleaded for press passes and didn’t get them, but it’s not my fault you didn’t get a press pass. I didn’t take it away from you.
What’s the message you hope the film sends?
It was never specifically about sneaking into concerts. I mean, that gets people to watch it, but when you see the film, it’s so much more. At the heart of it, it’s not even about music festivals or music; it’s about looking outside of society’s parameters to figure out how you can get to where you want to go. It’s about carving your own path, and I’m not saying go and break every rule — I’m just saying don’t blindly swallow everything that someone feeds you.
What mood do you try to capture when you’re taking a photo or recording a video?
I love documenting humans when they’re not conscious of themselves. We determine through Instagram and Facebook how the rest of the world sees us, and we’re very particular. But at concerts, in the front row, people are completely lost. There is no self-projection. Those are truly those people in those moments. I love that.