2012 Virgin Mobile FreeFest

COLUMBIA, MD - October 6th, 2012 - Santigold performs at the 2012 Virgin Mobile FreeFest in Columbia, MD. She released her sophomore album, Master of My Make-Believe, in April. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

Another year, another Virgin Mobile FreeFest in the books. I’ve been lucky enough to shoot all seven festivals in the Baltimore and D.C. area (and also one in Toronto). Last year was overcrowded and a bit of a clusterfuck, but this year went very smoothly and I had much more fun than I expected.

COLUMBIA, MD - October 6th, 2012 - Jack White headlines the Pavilion Stage at the 2012 Virgin Mobile FreeFest in Columbia, MD. His set touched all points of his career, from The White Stripes to The Raconteurs to his recent solo work. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

COLUMBIA, MD - October 6th, 2012 - ZZ Top perform at the 2012 Virgin Mobile FreeFest in Columbia, MD. The band played new material from their recently released album La Futura, as well as old hits such as "Legs" and "Gimme All Your Lovin." (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

This year’s much improved lineup definitely got me excited about this assignment. Jack White, ZZ Top, Santigold, Nas and M83? That’s a solid lineup. Future Islands, Volta Bureau and Alabama Shakes also turned in great sets.

COLUMBIA, MD - October 6th, 2012 - Anthony Gonzalez of M83 performs at the 2012 Virgin Mobile FreeFest in Columbia, MD. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

COLUMBIA, MD - October 6th, 2012 - Hip-hop legend Nas performs at the 2012 Virgin Mobile FreeFest in Columbia, MD. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

The only hiccup in an otherwise pleasant day was the soundboard shoot that was forced on us 10 minutes before Skrillex’s headlining set on the Festival stage. We were originally told we would be shooting from the pit, so I didn’t bother bringing my stool, so of course they moved us and unlike last year when we were allowed to shoot Deadmau5 from the soundboard platform, we were stuck on the ground this year. Sightlines were pretty impossible without being above the crowd.

COLUMBIA, MD - October 6th, 2012 - Skrillex (Sonny John Moore) headlines the West Stage at the 2012 Virgin Mobile FreeFest in Columbia, MD. His DJ equipment was set inside a replica space ship. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

COLUMBIA, MD - October 6th, 2012 - Will Eastman and Outputmessage (Bernard Farley) of Volta Bureau perform at the 2012 Virgin Mobile FreeFest in Columbia, MD. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

Jack White played in a very dim blue light for his set and was so active, it was hard to keep up with him. He’s not my favorite artist by any means but I was impressed with his set. The best set of the day (and the most crowded photo pit) went to ZZ Top. They were incredible and I would give anything to shoot/see them again.

COLUMBIA, MD - October 6th, 2012 - Jack White headlines the Pavilion Stage at the 2012 Virgin Mobile FreeFest in Columbia, MD. His set touched all points of his career, from The White Stripes to The Raconteurs to his recent solo work. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

COLUMBIA, MD - October 6th, 2012 - ZZ Top perform at the 2012 Virgin Mobile FreeFest in Columbia, MD. The band played new material from their recently released album La Futura, as well as old hits such as "Legs" and "Gimme All Your Lovin." (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

One treat from this year’s show was the Dismemberment Plan was nice enough to allow me onstage to shoot for s few minutes. I was hoping they would let people onstage for “Ice of Boston” like they do at their club shows, but it was not to be. Still, I got some great shots.

COLUMBIA, MD - October 6th, 2012 - The Dismemberment Plan perform on the West Stage at the 2012 Virgin Mobile FreeFest in Columbia, MD. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

COLUMBIA, MD - October 6th, 2012 - The crowd at the 2012 Virgin Mobile FreeFest in Columbia, MD. reacts as rapper Nas takes the stage.(Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post) (Kyle Gustafson/For The Washington Post)

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2012 Virgin Mobile FreeFest – Images by Kyle Gustafson

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