Festival Crashing 101: Inside a New MTV Doc About a Fearless Photographer

"I've never paid to attend a musical festival in my life," says Marcus Haney, who is featured in 'No Cameras Allowed'

James Marcus Haney no cameras allowed
Courtesy of James Marcus Haney
James Marcus Haney
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There are a lot of ways to sneak into a rock festival, and 26 year old music fanatic and college dropout Marcus Haney knows them all. The tried and true method involves hopping a fence and running as fast as you can into the crowd, but one can also create fake wristbands, pose as an accredited photographer, dress up like a food vendor and walk right past security or even jump the fence the night before it begins and lock yourself in a porta potty until crowds begin pouring in. "I've never paid to attend a musical festival in my life," he says. "And I think I've been to fifty of them."

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For most people, mastering this art would lead to little more than a lot of free music and possible jail time, but for the incredibly charismatic and clever Haney, it's launched his unlikely career as a rock photographer (whose work has been published in Rolling Stone) and filmmaker. No Cameras Allowed, his first movie, airs on MTV this week and has played in select theaters. It chronicles his insane, globe-trotting festival adventures, which eventually attracted the attention of Mumford and Sons and led to a stint as their official road photographer.

The only problem is festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits and Glastonbury aren't likely to be thrilled there's a movie that demonstrates how to sneak onto their festival grounds, though a few have embraced the movie and even offered him free passes. "Others have said, 'This is not cool and you've broken a lot of intellectual property rights,'" he says. "'You need to take our festival completely out of it or you'll be hanging out with our lawyers.'"

Haney hopes reactions will be cooler once the festival organizers see the movie and realize it's primary focus is Haney, his complex relationship with his parents and girlfriend, and his realization that his vagabond lifestyle was tearing him apart from the people he loves. "It's also a love letter to these festivals," he says. "It also shows me getting kicked out as much as sneaking in."

His new role as a rock photographer and filmmaker has largely made it unnecessary for him to keep sneaking into festivals, though earlier this year he snuck into Coachella for old times sake. It involved him and his buddy walking a mile in stifling heat through orange groves and jumping three fences with rows of spikes. "At the last fence we basically landed in the laps of these security guards," he says. "They took after us on golf carts after they came to their senses. I thought I was going to puke and pass out, but we made it. It was such an adrenaline rush."

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