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Do festivals have the right to restrict photography in a public park?

Mauricio Vaca never intended to become a martyr for free and open parks. He just wanted to enjoy the Pitchfork Music Festival with his girlfriend and maybe snap some pictures of the acts.

But after trying to sneak in the wrong kind of camera, he was kicked out of [ Chicago's ] Union Park. "I'm the last person I'd have thought this would happen to," says Vaca, an options trader. "I love music festivals."

Read the article. Discuss. Are the rules different in different countries?


I would say that they do indeed have the right to do so.  Once the park is rented out it is no longer a public space, but a private event.  I have a friend that had this happen a few weeks ago at ACL in Austin.  His beef was the lack of continuity in enforcement.  I saw a bunch of DSLRs out at the park with out the wristband of a press professional.  But I believe that they were letting them in because the did not have big telephoto lenses.  Hell they tried to tell me I could not bring in my stuff untill they saw my credential.  My advise to anyone who really wants a decent photograph without the hassle of getting a publication to vouch for you is to bring in a G12 or even one of the new Sony NEH cameras.  You will get great shots, but you wont be hassled by the gate staff.

Here in the UK any public space that might be used for a festival becomes, temporarily,  "private land" and those renting the space may enforce whatever rules they deem fit. If that means no professional looking photographic equipment for ordinary ticket holders, then that rule is enforced. However with the advent of cameras such as the Sony NEX 5 (not sure if the same name in the USA) it won't be long before some semi-pros unable to get a photo pass but with a normal ticket start taking and selling shots every bit as good as those in the pit.

Spot on Bob.  Most of the people enforcing these rules have no idea the diference between a DSLR and a canon powershot.  The Nex5 is going to change things for sure.