An Open Letter to Hirie – by Andrew Sandoval of Reggae 360

Dear Hirie Family…


It was just a few years ago when I began my journey photographing concerts. In all honesty, it was never my plan to photograph concerts. I was always interested in sports photography, however a chance encounter with the Hirie crew changed everything. So this is my open letter to the Hirie Family.

If I remember correctly, it was Friday night and a couple friends had invited me out to check out a show in Salinas, CA. The show was going to take place at a place called Hacienda, a local Mexican restaurant that converts to host events and concerts after hours. My wife and I had just moved back to California from Illinois a few months prior. I had heard of Hirie from these same friends, however I had never seen her live. I decided to take my camera along to see if I could get a couple of shots of the band. Before the show began we decided to have a quick adult beverage. While hold my pint of 805 we began chatting with a solid dude that started asking questions about my camera. He had mentioned he was interested in photography as well and shot when he had time. It was “small talk” but a genuine conversation. As the conversation continued he explained he was married and managed the lead singer of Hirie . His name was Jamey Jetton. One thing led to another and he had invited me out to shoot a show in San Francisco, CA at the Mezzanine.  I took the opportunity not knowing where it would lead.

Hirie was supporting The Green on a Wednesday night at the Mezzanine in San Francisco. The truth is that I probably was not prepared. I had not idea where to park. In fact I had no idea of how to check in. I was a rookie. Earlier that day I had learned from an Instagram post that the night before the band had most of, if not all of their equipment stolen. I wasn’t sure what the mood was going to be like. I was anxious, nervous and questioned if I had made the right decision. I eventually I was able to meet up with Jamey and the crew during sound check. Still wondering what the mood was like when a very energetic, charismatic, with her contagious smile, Trish introduces herself. I could remember how welcoming and genuine she was.  Considering this was only hours after her band had so much taken from them I was amazed. A true professional, she knew the show had to go on. After our introductions were complete I was “forced” to take a shot with her. At that moment I was welcomed, it was a right of passage and I knew at the moment, in my eyes concert photography was my calling. I was hooked.

This chance encounter turned into a world of opportunities. The relationship with the Hirie Family led to a load of shows. I was introduced to a new world. In fact, it likely led to this piece I’m writing now. It was a world that only played on Pandora or a live stream of Cali Roots. I guess my point is that music will always provide an escape when obstacles arise. It has led to so many relationships along the way that have made every sacrifice, road trip, fork in the road worth it. So this is my open letter to the Hirie Family. We are forever grateful for you.


Thank you,

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