Woodstock Ontario

Country Music: Aaron Allen

As you may have seen, most of my photography ventures this year, well.. over the past year, I’ve been returning to my photography roots. My passion for photography started back in high school and quickly became a big part of my life shortly after high school when I started photographing concerts. I’ve always been drawn to music, especially live music and for years it was all about that Punk Rock which then led to EMO and now I’m all about that Country. I love all kinds of music but there’s something about Country.. specifically country rock, I love it. Country music fans are some of the nicest people I’ve met, and I have made many new friends just from going to concerts.
So over the past year I’ve been slowly getting back into the concert photography, it’s a very tough world from what it use to be. I remember you could walk into any show with your camera and start taking pictures, the only worry was having a mosh pit fire up and you get tossed around holding onto the camera you had to save up to buy with a part time job. Now, you have to spend days writing emails … emails to bands, managers, promotors, labels, venues… anything to try and get Approved for media accreditation. It’s a grind, and I get it, everyone has a camera, everyone wants to be a photographer, everyone wants to be the ones up close to the bands in “the photo pit” so the market is flooded, but it’s flooded in every market. Let me tell you though, you put in the work, you send those emails, you make those connections and things start to flow.

Aaron Allen is a musician who has been in the industry for 20 years. After 20 years of the grind, he is finally making some big waves in Country Music. His first big single ‘ Where Music Comes from ‘ was received well and played on country radio (Country 104 - London On & Woodstock On.) Spotify picked it up as well as AppleMusic. Aaron was part of Juno FanFest in London, as the Juno’s were in London Ontario, and that’s where I first got to photograph him. It was a very late night performance.. I could be wrong but I think it was lie 1am… at The Bull & Barrel downtown London. I was very tired after photographing bands all day, but I really wanted to stick it out and see Aaron’s set, it was my last shoot for the night before the 50 min drive home. Of course, Aaron put on a great show, the shoot was tough as the lighting was dim but I made it work. Next day I posted the images, tagged Aaron in them and he saw them and reached out to let me know he loved them. I’ll fast forward this story so I don’t write a book here but, months later Aaron was releasing a new song, that song was titled ‘GOOD TATTOO’. Along with a new song release artists need a new image to go with it so there’s something to see when people look for it on streaming sites such as Spotify & Apple Music, so Aaron remembered me and the shots from the Juno’s, he then decided to give me a shot. We sent some emails back and fourth, found a date that worked with both our schedules, met up here and Woodstock and spent a couple hours hitting a few locations around town, chatting about the music business and creating some album art. Next thing I know, the images we created were being used for lyric video’s, teaser images on social media leading up to the release of ‘GOOD TATTOO’ and the grand finale …. the face of ‘GOOD TATTOO’ … an image of Aaron on a sunny day standing with his guitar on a dirt road which is now published on Spotify & Apple Music!

Huge thanks goes out to Aaron for trusting me with his album artwork, it was a fantastic opportunity and I think it all worked out quite well. Now I will be photographing him in St.Thomas Ontario, Live at the IRON HORSE Festival this coming Saturday!

Check Out Aaron’s Socials for updates. Give “GOOD TATTOO” a listen on Spotify or Apple Music and don’t forget to call your local country music radio stations and request this new song from Aaron Allen!

- Cheers

GOOD TATTOO - Aaron Allen

Cover Photo:
- Kevin Vyse
- Kevin Vyse Photography
- Stage Pass Media

APRIL WINE - COWAPOLOOZA 2018

With South Side Park in Woodstock Ontario packed with hundreds of people under the stars on a warm summer night, April Wine hit the stage for the second time in the Cowapolooza history. 
It's incredible to see a legendary piece of Canadian music history put on such an incredible show after all these years. April Wine sounded amazing playing all their hits, the crowd going nuts, dancing and singing the night away. Best part about this show was the mix of people.. old and young and everyone seemed to know the lyrics to most of the songs. April Wine ended their set with the amazing, and my personal fav song, ROLLER, shortly after they exited the stage, the crowd, without hesitation started chanting "encore" to which April Wine replied with coming back out and Blasting out their hit "Oowatanite" ... and Oowatanite it was! 
 

Maddy & Diesel: A Girl and her Pup!

Maddy and Diesel were something a little different for me as I haven't really photographed portraits for someone and their dog, but it was a lot of fun! We were originally going to do this shoot back in the fall with all the leaves on the trees, but due to unforeseen circumstances, we had to change the date which led us into winter .... pre-snow winter. 

This time of year the "lake" where I live gets drained out, not completely but quite a bit gets sucked out through the damn which leaves a nice, sandy beach look. Later in the day as the sun set we headed on down to utilize the park area and of course out on to the sand. Diesel was having a ton of fun running around and finding sticks to bring a long for the walk, which ended up in a few of the shots because getting that stick away was near impossible lol. Over all, with the sun set, the beach vibe, the lake and a great person and dog, it was a fantastic shoot! 

- Shutter Click.   

A Night With Colin James

Colin Freakin' James! 

Colin was brought to Woodstock last year for the Cowapalooza Festival in Woodstock Ontario, Canada, but sadly.. he never made it on stage because mother nature decided to flood the park with a torrential down pour. Summer 2017, Colin James was asked to come back and come back he did! With clear skies, a beauty summers night, stars out and all, Colin hit the stage with powerful guitar solos, deep bass lines, technical drumming, some outstanding keyboard work and of course some powerful, strong vocals that blew me away. 

With no media pass (which wasn't required anyways because it was a FREE, yes.. FREE concert in a public park ) I had to shoot from the crowd which was fine at first.. but pretty much after the first song everyone moved up and it got tight quick. Bobbing around peoples melons Colin made it pretty easy to get the shots using up all areas of the stage to put on an amazing performance. If you haven't seen Colin James, haven't heard of him even.. get out to a show, you won't be disappointed at all. - Shutter Click. 

Colin James
Cowapalooza Festival 2017
Woodstock On, Canada.

Tim Tyler: Musician

Tim Tyler... honestly.. I had never heard of him before and I wasn't even sure if I was going to show up to photograph him or just show up to photograph Colin James. All I can say is that I'm damn glad I went to see/photograph him.... WOW! 

Tim Tylers vocal style has been compared to great musicians such as, Sly & The family Stone, Doyle Bramhall, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Ray Charles. Let me tell you.. the guitar work, the vocals.. his band.. just amazing to see live. If you're into that blues/Rock kind of thing, this guy will blow your socks off and I'm so happy to now have him in my portfolio. 

Tim Tyler
Cowapalooza Festival 2017
Woodstock, ON. Canada

THE MUDMEN

If you like music.. you like that Scottish, East Coast kind of vibe, great vocals, bagpipes, drums, bass and guitar with some funny in-between song banter... THE MUDMEN are for you! 

These guys were amazing, had a fantastic time photographing them in my home town at the Cowapalooza festival. This festival happens every year and every Friday and Saturday night there are concerts. In the past we've had bands such as: April Wine, The Stampeders, Trooper and more. This year: The Mudmen, The McCartney Years which happened on Friday Night... then tonight: Tim Tyler and the talented Colin James! I will be heading back down tonight at 7pm to capture both acts. 

Not only is there music, but there's rides for the young kids, horse back rides, all kinds of vendors and food trucks which all takes place is the beautiful SouthSide Park, Woodstock On. Canada... so if you live in the area and want to get out of the house, or want to see an outdoor concert on a gorgeous summers day... WOODSTOCK is where you want to be! As always... if you see me out shooting, feel free to come by and say hi wether I know you or not... I'm always up for meeting potential clients ;) - Shutter Click.

The Mudmen
Woodstock ON. 
Cowapalooza Festival 2017.

Family Fall Forest Fun!

The leaves were falling, trees looking pretty bare, the sun was out and beaming through the trees and there was a cool breeze making the air crisp as we ventured through the woods out towards the pond. Ashley, her daughter Pyper and I have known each other for years.. we're bestfriends and I'm sure you've all seen them in many of my images. These two I couldn't imagine my life without. There's a strapping young lad amongst these images who goes by the name of Kyle, and he is Ashley's fiance who I am growing fond of and get along with awesomely.. he gave me corn the first time I met him and after this shoot he supplied me with a big bag of Butternut squash.. how could I not like him? 

Every year we get together and set up a shoot or two so they always have pictures to see how far they've come and document Pypers growth, which I love. Every time we head out to shoot we always have a blast, Pyper is a dream to photograph always just being a kid and saying " Kevin, take my picture here... now over here.. can I take a picture with your camera? " as she holds down the shutter button and fires off 50 frames of blur lol, love this kid! 

Kyles parents have a huge amount of land with tons of forest and a big pond all of which we decided to use for this shoot. It was a bit chilly out and windy so we didn't spend to much time out there, but shot as much as we could before we were to cold. Next summer we will be going back and doing some fun creative stuff out on the lake with the canoe and a fog machine.. so make sure you keep checking back for those. 

Over all, we had a great time, made some great images and I can't wait to do it again!  

Wish them Bon Voyage as they take off to Florida to experience Disney Land! 

The Power of Youth

    They came, They spoke truth, told their stories & experiences about themselves, family members and friends battling with mental illness and some of their peers who lost the battle to suicide. 

   It was an emotional day in Woodstock Ontario, but also an exciting leap in the right direction when students from every high school in the city came together to orchestrate a 'walk out' to raise awareness for youth suicide. Students from Huron Park Secondary School, St. Mary's Catholic High School, Woodstock Colligate Institute ( WCI ) and Collage Avenue Secondary School (CASS) and Notre Dame High School flooded the streets at 9am as they started their walk out heading to Woodstock's Market Square. Signs being held high reading " One minute we're here ; The next we're NOT! ", shirts purple in colour with white semi-colons ( the universal sign of support for mental illness ) worn by most students and purple balloons blowing in the wind came down the main street in Woodstock (Dundas St.). Cars seeing the signs and large groups of students honking their horns repeatedly to show their support for the movement.

   So far this year in Woodstock, 5 teens have taken their lives, it is being called " Suicidal Contagion " and over all there has been somewhere around 36 attempts or youth thinking about it. Bulling and school stress have been thought to be some of the contributing factors to why this is happening. 
   
   Upon arriving at Market Square, there was a massive sea of students, parents, media and on lookers gathered around awaiting the arrival of the students. Each high school in Woodstock had a school representative leading the group, and who would be speaking at the gathering for their school. 300-500 people were in attendance to show their support for the Youth, clapping, yelling out positive comments like " we love you ", " Stay Strong ", " You are the cure ". 
   Once the students arrived in Market Square the song " Fight Song by Rachel Platten " was being played loudly over the PA System which was the "theme Song " for this movement... you could feel the energy build with the students wearing Gigantic smiles as they walked up the middle of the crowd overwhelmed to see how many people came out to support them. 
   Each student representative took their turns telling their story to the crowd. Stories of suicide attempts, thoughts about it and losing friends to suicide. Following the students, Woodstock's Mayor Trevor Birtch had some honest words for the students, words of encouragement and letting them know they are part of the solution!  

   I applaud these students, a high amount of respect for being able to get up in front of so many people and talk about their experiences. Talking publicly about mental illness breaks down barriers  and shows others it's ok.. speak out and get help. I have been hearing a lot of negative comments such as " why walk out of school? how does that help anything.. kids are just using this unfortunate tragedy to get out of school " .... and to those people, I shake my head. If you had been there you would see how much these teenagers care, what it meant.. the work they put into this, and lets not forget.. these teens have lost their friends, and friends of friends as well as family members. As for " How does this help?" It brings the issue into the media. It allows millions of people to see whats going on, bringing in the awareness causing people to ask questions and ask the government why nothing is being done and puts the pressure on for something to be done. These students not only showed up to talk about the issue, but they came with a plan! Put Social Workers in the schools so kids have someone to go to and talk to right away. Open beds in the hospital to kids under 16, as the hospital does not have that option right now. Last but not least... it shows other youth who may be struggling that they can talk about it.. "it's OK to not be OK". It also shows them that they are not alone, there are other youths out there struggling and getting help, talking is the answer! 

 

   

Rise Against Cancer 2016

Rise Against Cancer is an amazing charity concert held once a year in Woodstock Ontario. Cover bands from the Woodstock area come out to put on a concert to raise money for Cancer. The band Sweet N' Innocent are the founders and also the headliners for the event and what a show they put on! Not only is there a concert but there is also a silent auction, pizza and  lots of alcohol! 
I was honoured to be asked to photograph the event by fellow photographer Rachael Little, who has been photographing the event for the past few years. Rachael was unable to photograph the event this year so she set me up with Scott from Sweet N' Innocent so he could see my work and bring it to the band so they could decide if they wanted to have me photograph their event. 

These bands were amazing.. the covers were dead on, the lighting was fantastic and the crowed was pretty big, I was blown away. Everyone was having a fantastic time, singing along to old 80's covers from sweet n' innocent, and a variety of covers from other bands. 

This years line up included: 
 

SWEET N' INNOCENT

BLIND DOG JOE

SOCIAL STONE

ECHOING CONCUSSION