Sam Reed lives nothing close to a quiet, boring life. Between working at the Vans store, shooting shows for Girls Behind The Rock Show, and flying across the country for different events, it’s no wonder she always has a vanilla or caramel iced coffee in hand. With her colored hair, multiple nose piercings and flawless makeup, she can come off as pretty intimidating, but as soon as she opens her mouth “ her laugh, smile and twisted sense of humor just light up the room,” said Casey Hausner, Sam’s best friend.
Reed started attending shows in Buffalo in 2009. At the time, she traveled from a small town called Albion to Buffalo, only really making it out for national touring bands. When she moved to Buffalo in 2013, she started to get very involved in the local scene.
Sam found out about local shows and bands through the booking agency in Buffalo, After Dark Entertainment.
“They (After Dark) would have me cover local shows every once in a while, and through that many of the locals became interested in my photography and wanted to support me so we maintained close relationships. It was predominately the metal/hardcore scene starting out that really went out of their way to work with me. It was nice even with the large, national shows, to cover the locals and see the support that they had among each other and Buffalo at large,” said Reed.
Throughout her years of attending shows, Sam has seen some substantial changes in the Buffalo scene. The area has lost some valuable venues and promoters which has put quite the dent in the scene, but she doesn’t consider it dead. The Buffalo music scene still has a pulse, it was just masked for a bit.
“The metal scene as I once know it definitely is no longer, but it seems as though the other genres have maintained success and there are some truly phenomenal and hard-working locals in the pop-punk/alt-rock/indie wheelhouse. Seeing shows where they all come together is super cool. It seems as though a lot of kids get pretty discouraged here, we are a small city that doesn’t get the bills that others do, and I feel as though kids get bummed out about that and they forget there is SO much rad local music to take in still; and if you don’t support them while they’re local they’ll never be nationally known,” she said.
Lately, Reed hasn’t been able to attend as many shows in the area as she’d like. Compared to other cities, Sam thinks the representation of women in the music industry here isn’t too terrible. When working at After Dark, Sam commented that many of the interns, employees, and photographers were women. Most of the merch sellers, VIP workers, and most other behind-the-scenes jobs are taken by women and Reed loves that.
As much as she loves the amount of representation behind-the-scenes, Reed mentioned that there is a lack of women representation on the frontlines.
“There aren’t very many bands or artists I can think of that include non-men and I’d love to see some more non-men getting on stage and killing it,” Sam comments.
Working with After Dark is what made Sam realize that photography was her passion. After her time with them, she started shooting for music publications that had reached out to her via Tumblr and worked her way up. She has climbed the ladder of success from shooting no-barricade shows to being able to photograph Paramore at Riot Fest.
Casey Hausner, who considers Reed her best friend, says that Sam finding out she was photographing Paramore at Riot Fest is one of her favorite memories.
“The day itself was long and awesome, but was made longer by the fact that only a handful of photographers were allowed to shoot Paramore but they didn’t find out until the middle of the day. I remember the look on her face when Sam told me she was picked and hugging her so tight. She deserved it, and to this day those are my favorite photos she’s taken,” said Casey.
Sam has worked hard to receive the opportunities she has gotten over the past 10 years and is constantly trying to bring together women who work in the industry.