James Marcus Haney is a modern day hero. He managed to sneak into some of the biggest music festivals in the world, around 50 of them or so. Cool, right? But what’s even better than that is in some of them he managed to be in the VIP area and even on stage with the bands! How crazy is that?
In the documentary No Cameras Allowed, Marcus tells the story of how it all began with a typical boy-meets-girl story. This girl just so happened to go to the Coachella Music Festival in 2010, which would be his first festival experience ever. As usual, turns out that Coachella was sold out and Marcus was unable to afford the tickets. Marcus and his friend Adam decided that they would sneak in, so they wrote a post on Craigslist trying to find someone who would pay for their gas to Coachella from Los Angeles. That’s when they met Chris (better known throughout the movie as Acid Chris). Marcus and Adam jumped the fence while they were wearing all black and had to sleep underneath the trailers. The next morning they changed clothes, while it turned out that they were right by the VIP area. Acid Chris did something slightly different, but I’ll let you watch the movie to find out.
Marcus used his cameras as props and managed to get past security on multiple occasions, but even if they were props to get inside the festival and press area, he also managed to snap some amazing photographs and videos. Without giving too much away, he started getting recognized for his photos to the point that he even became friends with Mumford & Sons. Do you remember the Babel album cover?
Marcus Haney did it.
The film feels as exhilarating a ride as it would be to manage to break the rules and get in to festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Austin City Limits and even the GRAMMYs. It’s both exciting and thrilling to see how Marcus’ life changes with the access to these music festivals, and how bands start recognizing his work as well. There are also moments in the film where Marcus’ life feels like he’s at a crossroads, and provides some insights into the life of a young college student and how his priorities balance out.
Above everything, this movie is first and foremost an ode to music festivals. There’s something particular about the energy at music festivals and how so many people come together and enjoy music that can’t be explained, not even in film. After watching this movie, I want to go to even more music festivals, but knowing that my fence-jumping, pretend-to-be-press skills are not the greatest, I’ll probably pay the ticket and might as well enjoy them to the fullest.
No Cameras Allowed is an adventure worth watching, an ode to music festivals based on a true story about a sneaky dude and how he managed to make something great out of what many would consider a bad decision.
You can watch the whole film below.