A Music Festival in Newburyport: Waterfront Dream Festival

In 2006, many photographers hadn’t made the jump to a digital photography work flow. I didn’t make the jump until 2008. Shooting events on film isn’t nearly as streamlined as it is today with digital photography.

The images in this post sat in a binder for more than a decade. I scanned the negatives in 2006 and didn’t really do anything with them. Those scans weren’t very good either. In those days we didn’t have social media to share images and video. I think I made a couple of prints and handed them off to a few friends.

I came across these pages of negatives while working on another project. I put that project on the back burner for a couple of days, I think these images worthy of sharing now. I knew if I went past these negative pages today, they would end up staying there for another decade. I was just going to scan these pictures and share them out to friends via Google Drive, but I think this makes a good post.

This was an important event. Months of hard work went into making this happen. Jim has some great friends.

I guess when you dig through your old work you could come up with some gold.

During the summer of 2006, friends of Jim Esoldo organized The Waterfront Dream Festival in his honor. Jim was a great lover of music. What better way to support a friend than to put together a music festival in downtown Newburyport, Massachusetts? I knew Jim, he was a great guy, I think he would have loved having a music in his hometown.

Jim’s best friends put together an organization called the Recurring Dream Foundation and their mission was to raise money to purchase musical instruments for kids at their Alma mater, Newburyport High School. Their first thought was to put together a music festival on the waterfront. They worked with the city and a bunch of local businesses for donations of goods and services to raffle off. I don’t recall how much money they raised, but it was a good amount of money. I’m sure there were a lot of happy kids.

The stage overlooked the Merrimack River. It is a lovely spot for live music. The bands volunteered their time for the event. Local musicians got in on the action and a couple of the bands traveled from out of state to play. There was a great mix of folk, blues, and rock. The sound was pretty darn good too. The weather was amazing, it was sunny, and it wasn’t too hot.

I was tasked with photographing the event. I shot it on black and white film, Ilford FP4 Plus. I carried three cameras, a Canon EOS 1, EOS A2, and EOS 630 and a variety of lenses . Carrying a bag with three heavy cameras and lenses over the course of a dozen hours was strenuous. It was also a ton of fun.

The Musicians

“Have you ever seen a racoon eat a plum?!”

— Jim Esoldo

Friends of Jim


Tom Chamberlain

Photographer, videographer, and lover of all things analog.

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