Nichole Lyons joined the Gentlemen of the Road camera crew Friday to capture live shots for the main stage screen. Click here to see more pictures from the event.

Five Wartburg College students had a front row seat—and an all-access backstage pass—when Mumford & Sons’ Gentlemen of the Road tour stopped in Waverly June 19-20. The outdoor festival, which brought 10 internationally known bands and more than 16,000 people to the community, is just one of the ways Wartburg is able to provide students with real-world experiences without ever leaving campus. The students, all crew members on the college’s student-run production team, Reel Orange, filmed and photographed bands on the main and downtown stages and the crowd and community as part of the college’s official event coverage.
“This experience gave me a taste of a true day-to-day shooting environment, and it was exciting and exhausting,” said senior Ben Bogard, communication arts and mathematics major from Oronoco, Minn. “There were lots of late nights and early mornings. It was super intense to be out filming until after 2 a.m. and then wake up early and do the same thing over again.”
But, every minute was worth it, Bogard added.
“Without Wartburg, I would never have had these opportunities. This is something I’m sure most college students will never get to experience,” he said.
Under the direction of Simon Sager, Wartburg’s digital media producer, and Julie Drewes, visual media manager, the students collected more than 1,000 gigabytes of footage that includes everything from the building of the stage to the last artist performing Saturday night.
“The students realized that this was a huge opportunity and took advantage of every second of it,” Sager said.
The crew—Bogard, third-year Michael Bowden and fourth-years Austin Boyke, Jenny Kuennen and Nichole Lyons—can now use that film to produce any number of videos for their personal portfolios. Bowden, a communication arts major from Cedar Falls, already has three videos in the works, including one for a local artist, one from a one-on-one interview with Mumford’s Ben Lovett and another about the impact the event had on the community.
“We had the freedom to go and do what we needed to do. If I had a shot in mind or video I needed to get, I would go back stage and get it,” Bowden said. “That access means I will be able to make some really cool videos.”
Lyons also was given a last-minute opportunity to run the main stage, in-show camera for the tour’s production team when a weather detained some of the crew and their equipment in Chicago until early Saturday morning. With only a few hours notice, Lyons stepped in and shot the Friday night lineup, which included The Very Best, Blake Mills, and Dawes, with the pros.
“There was a director under the stage calling out shots and telling me through the earpiece to get a shot of the lead singer or to focus the camera on the drummer doing a solo or guitar player doing a riff,” she said.
After the show, the tour team praised Lyons’ professionalism.
“It was flattering to have them tell me how impressed they were with my camera experience and that I did an awesome job,” she said.
Despite the long hours, the team was able to sneak in some fun during the festival weekend, especially backstage between sets. Not many college students can say they’ve rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in alternative music.
“The headlining acts, like My Morning Jacket, Mumford and The Maccabees, were all hanging around backstage. A few of us ended up playing ping pong with some of the guys,” Bowden said. “They were so cool. They wanted us to get involved and wanted to know more about the community and the people. They were all genuine, nice, down-to-earth people.
“Working with the artists and being around them was crazy and surreal. This is something I have always wanted to do—just be around artists who have a big influence in their field,” he continued. “It’s crazy to think that I got to be a part of that because of Wartburg.”