Guest Post – Cathy Rong Student Concert Journalist

This Summer, I have been working with a few student journalists on the JEA Digital Concert Project. Students are collecting photographs and reviews so that JEA students across the country can have access to more imagery and concert reviews. Experienced students mentor students with less experience.  I attend a few concerts. Sometimes I mentor and sometimes I learn from students who listen to contemporary artists.

I attended the 2011 Vans Warped Tour at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California with Cathy Rong. Before Cathy and I photographed a concert together, I met Cathy’s and her mother in the parking lot. Cathy and I then walked over to the press tent and gained access to the event.  Even though Cathy the Vans Warped was the first concert Cathy covered which also had a seating chart, she never seemed phased, even when I tested her. I do not know if I would have been as composed as she my summer after 9th grade.  We photographed about eighteen bands and interviewed one. Below is her guest post, with a couple of her photos. I have included a few of my own photos so readers can see Cathy working.


JEA Vans Warped Tour 2011

My first concert-shooting experience is one that I will never forget. The skills that I learned have been invaluable to me, and I’m sure I will use them in the future. JEA introduced me to the world of concert photography, and furthered my love for music, photography, and journalism.

3oh!3’s Sean Foreman performs during the 2011 Vans Warped Tour at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California.

The first show I ever covered was at the Vans Warped Tour at the Shoreline Amphitheater on July 2. Now in its 11th consecutive year of touring, it has become widely known and even a staple name to punk-rock producers. As I reached the huge parking lot of the Tour, I already began to see the fashions that told me what kind of music I would be listening to. Though I had been to concerts before, I had never been to one as punk-y and massive as the Warped Tour before. Famously dubbed “punk rock summer camp,” was indeed, what every emo-punk-rocker could dream of. Anyone who was anyone in the punk world would be playing, ranging from Asking Alexandria to the Black Veiled Brides.

Guitarist “Jinxx” Ferguson of Black Veil Brides performed during the Vans Warped Tour on July 2, 2011 in Mountain View, California. The Van Warped Tour, now in it

I had meticulously researched all the bands that would be playing, and among my favorites were Simple Plan from Canada, and 3OH3! from Colorado. I found that instead of the standard, one stage-multiple act show I had anticipated, there would be 8 stages, with bands of varying levels of popularity and playing at different times. The result was running from stage to stage on a preplanned route, trying to catch the first three songs of the shows. The only time I had to catch my breath was when I got to interview the Montreal based band, Simple Plan.

Cathy Rong interviews Simple Plan

Since I had previously listened to their punk-pop music, I didn’t have to do much research. The Canadian band has had no line up changes since its inception in 1999. Band members include Pierre Bouvier (lead vocals), Jeff Stinco (lead guitar), Chuck Comeau (drums), Sebastian Lefebrve (guitar, vocals) and David Derosiers (bass guitar, vocals). In 2002 they released their first album; No Pads, No Helmets, Just Balls, and their second, Still Not Getting Any in 2004. The band’s third and self-named album, Simple Plan, was released in 2008, with their fourth and highly acclaimed album, Get Your Heart On! in 2011. The band is known for their work in charity, namely with teen related problems. Through feedback from their many fans, the band founded the Simple Plan foundation, raising money to support organizations in helping teens.

To get the meet the band was an absolute honor, and I had many questions I wanted to get answered. Needless to say, I was very nervous about doing my first big interview, and I could barely contain my excitement in meeting my favorite band. Somehow I managed to suppress the overeager fan inside me enough to get my questions out. I was very happy to get to meet the band, and found them engaging and tangible instead of what I always looked to be inanimate figures on posters, or lone voices on CDs.

Looking back on that day, I admit that I had some high expectations of shooting a concert. I’m happy to say that those expectations were very much fulfilled, and I gained experience that I never would have had if I hadn’t been with JEA.


Cathy Rong at Vans Warped Concert – Images by bryan farley

Another note about Simple Plan: Cathy chose to interview Simple Plan, because she knew that the band’s music spoke to teenagers. The Simple Plan Foundation supports young people. Cathy and I may write more about their foundation and mission in future posts, especially since Simple Plan uses Digital Media to connect with their audience.  According to their interview and website, Simple Plan fans helped write an entire song from Twitter feeds.

Read more on their website. … or ask Cathy some questions about her awesome day.

Bryan Farley

Bryan Farley is a visual art educator from California. Primarily a photographer, Bryan also studies and teaches how to use new media to communicate personal stories about people he considers invisible.

Bryan Farley has 13 posts and counting. See all posts by Bryan Farley

9 thoughts on “Guest Post – Cathy Rong Student Concert Journalist

  • September 14, 2011 at 11:24 am


    I have heard that many people have been impressed with your post. What are some of the comments you have heard?

    What have people asked you about the concert and interview?

  • September 26, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    This is sooooo awesome! Its so cool that you got to meet everyone and interview idols. It really seems like an amazing opportunity!!! 😀

  • September 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Nice dude, nice. I look forward to more of your interviews and other projects!

  • September 26, 2011 at 9:50 pm


    Congrats on the guest post! I see you’re getting around to all the concerts! Awesome job – continue to be a star!


  • September 26, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    This is so cool! Nice job on the interviews. So far so good!

  • September 27, 2011 at 11:12 pm


    You have been doing a great job. Heard anything about Simple Plan’s next tour?

  • September 28, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Thanks guys!! Simple Plan is my absolute favorite band. They are heading an international tour, which is amazing because it’s been 10 years since their last one.

  • November 26, 2015 at 5:42 am

    I am SO unorganized. But I am SO with you on that one. There are a few tghnis that are always in order. My hundreds of DVDs are always in alphabetical order by title. Some people call this crazy, I call this, How can you expect to ever find anything in hundreds of dvds if they’re not in order? Also, I color coordinate my closet as well, just as you do. It just looks nice! And my yarn is always caked and cataloged and put together nicely. I might have 10 1-foot piles of paper in my office (literally), but my yarn and closet are beautiful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.