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‘After All That We’ve Gone Through, We Really Needed This’

A nostalgic visual ode to last summer's return of music festivals by photographer Dominic Markes

After All That We’ve Gone Through, We Really Needed This is a photoseries illustrating how music festivals represent vital spaces for the rekindling of social interaction and creative self-expression, following sixteen months of social distancing and self isolation. Traditionally known as places of creative sanctuary and artistic liberation, music festivals offer audiences the opportunity to break free and perform identities outside those of their day to day lives.

Shot over 10 days and across 6 festivals, this collection, shot by photographer Dominic Markes, poses the question: where do the performances really exist? In doing so, moving the gaze from the stage to the crowd and capturing the joy, release, connectivity, and community for those attending festivals for the first time since 2019.

Wide Awake Festival, London, 3 September 2021
"A city like London is so rich and diverse in culture and talent.  It’s so important to celebrate this. Events like this feed back into London’s  culture by inspiring people. When lockdown first happened, it felt like a door had closed on music and culture. I was so relieved to see that during this time, all the creative minds were still ticking. I’d waited to see what they had to offer. And it was such a breath of fresh air."
We Out Here, Cambridgeshire, 19 Aug 2021 – 22 Aug 2021
"For me, it was being in a muddy field with my best friends -  finally all together after so long! The sun was out and we were all there -  present, sharing this moment with each other. Energy flows through people, and this was transcendent."
Cross The Tracks Festival, London, 5th September 2021
"Festivals have always been a comfort and a home to me, like going home and feeling happy. A chance to forget about the real world and just have harmless fun, a release. This gave me so much energy and serotonin."
Naked City Festival, Beckenham, 11th September 2021
"I’ve recently moved city away from a lot of friends, so it was a great chance to connect with them in a joyful space while supporting great music. It’s increasingly hard to support musicians in a meaningful way and I think live music is the best way to do that. As a musician myself I know that people coming to see you is the biggest gift. Festivals are an amazing way to support and discover music."
Brainchild Festival, Sussex, 6-8 August 2021
"As a teacher, I find work demanding and emotionally draining sometimes. Going to a festival lifted me out of any negativity and put me in high spirits so that I can be my best self at work. Theyre so much fun we forget they’re important too- for me they help escape from the realities of the daily grind which can take its toll on our mental well-being! They should be on prescription in my opinion."

Dominic Markes

Written By
Oliver Gilbert

Rosalie Hare
Meg Ryan
Ed Lea
Emma Hanson
Alex Isaacs
Nick Wemyss
Tom Davidson