Rocktoberfest 2019 | Photographing a Day of Music

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

October 5, 2019. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful warm autumn day in Albany, NY. I packed my camera bag with the Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 6D Mark II, Canon 70-200mm f2.8 VII, Canon 16-35mm f2.8 VIII, Lensbaby Twist 60, Composer Pro with 80mm Optical, the Omni Filter Kit, and my dual harness from Coiro. Needless to say, that day my bag was quite heavy. But I felt prepared and ready to capture the day!

Rocktoberfest Banner Image also created by AK Photography & Design

This year, Ambassador Music Group partnered with Community Miracles in Action (CMA). CMA is a drop-in teen center offering a safe place for kids to set and achieve goals, build meaningful relationships, and connect with adults who provide structure and compassion. CMA’s flagship program, Louder Dreams Entertainment, engages teens through workshops on lyricism, audio engineering, licensing, publishing, and live performance.

This festival's lineup was packed with incredible local talent that is passionate about youth having access to music education! Each band/musical act had to submit an application and express why they thought music education in youth was important. The lineup that day did not disappoint.


This Strange Paradise

This indie-rock band with ambient electronics, driving melodies, and surrealist imagery kicked of Rocktoberfest. They sent their listeners to a dreamlike dimension.

When asked why music education was important here's what they had to say.

"Most of us started out with music at extremely young ages, giving us an outlet for self-expression and promoting our intellect and creativity..."

These images were taken with a combination of the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 VII and the Canon 6D Mark II with the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 VIII.

David Cuttino & The Antiks

This R&B band got the crowd movin' and groovin' with some soulful music featuring brass instruments, keys, drums, guitars, and three backing female vocalists! David Cuttino won over the crowd even more with his unique and energetic dance moves. I know I couldn't stop myself from dancing along with everyone else.

"....Every child deserves the chance and opportunity to use music to express themselves and feel comfortable."

These images were taken with a combination of the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 VII and the Canon 6D Mark II with the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 VIII.

Julia Gargano

A mix of soul & pop with a little bit of edge, which has now become a staple on my Spotify playlist.

"As a music industry student, I’d be lost without guidance from the in-depth and preparatory courses for this business. Even students who don’t want to pursue music as a career can utilize music education for creative and emotional outlets."

These images were taken with a combination of the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 VII with the Lensbaby Omni Filter Kit and the Canon 6D Mark II with the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 VIII.

Vince Palmeri

Following Julia Gargano at Rocktoberfest 2019 was pop singer-songwriter, Vince Palmeri. He kept the afternoon lighthearted with his original song "The Rush" as well as covers like "Uptown Funk". I've had the pleasure of seeing him live before, he puts on such a good show.

..."Simply put, access to music education is just as essential as having access to math and science class.”

These images were taken with a combination of the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 VII and the Canon 6D Mark II with the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 VIII.

El Modernist

Their energy on stage is infectious and their music is unforgettable.

"The access to music education in the US should be a right, not a privilege..."

These images were taken with a combination of the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 VII and the Canon 6D Mark II with the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 VIII.


C.K. & The Rising Tide

This indie-rock/American band brought roots and rock to Rocktoberfest.

"We are living in a time where the arts and art education are considered second fiddle to the other disciplines, such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Of course, these things are important, but there is a special place for art and music education in our lives and especially in the lives of children who are learning and growing up in a fast-paced and always-changing world... By providing kids an outlet for music, we're granting some of them permission to be who they are."

These images were taken with a combination of the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 VII and the Canon 6D Mark II with the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 VIII.



Madison VanDenburg

No stranger to the Capital Region, Madison VanDenburg brought a generous mix of R&B, Country, Pop/Rock, & Acoustic Music to Rocktoberfest. After her third-place finish on American Idol, Madison has become a local legend!

These images were taken with a combination of the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 VII and the Canon 6D Mark II with the Canon 16-35mm f2.8 VIII.


In between acts, students from Community Miracles in Action, Youth FX, Future of Talent Company preformed on the Louder Dreams stage, as well as rapper Theory. Seeing the direct impact these organizations have on local teens is beyond incredible.


Ambassador Music Group

The AMG Mission is simple:

Support local musicians, partner with local businesses, and help children through music.

Rocktoberfest is truly an example of their mission. Rose & Andrew worked tirelessly to make this event a reality and their efforts do not go unnoticed. It is always such a pleasure to work with them in any regard! Can we start counting down to Rocktoberfest 2020?


Quotes from artists were provided by AMG.

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