Festivals are a perfect place being in a centralized location to capture some incredible stories and try many forms of photography. This past summer, I had the opportunity to do photos for Bonnaroo 2019. Here just just some tips that might help you get the most out of the experience.
A DSLR camera, standard or zoom lenses, camera bag, tripod (for long exposures at night), water bottle (stay hydrated!!), spare memory cards and batteries, and lens cleaner (it can get dusty). At most festivals, you have to be very careful with what bags you bring in to the gate (they might not let it in). I might suggest bringing a lens harness with your extra lenses attached instead of a full gear bag.
What to photograph
Study the schedule and create a shot list. At most large festivals, there are many different stages and different events happening all at once, sadly, you can’t make it to everything. You have to create your own schedule and shot list. If you are shooting for a company/brand, you need to sit down with them before hand and make sure you get all the shots they want and add that to your shot list.
Telling a story
Now, you have your shot list and schedule. As you get to each stage or booth, see how you can tell a story of what is going on. When you meet a fascinating person at the festival, figure out how you can take a photo that describes them. A picture really does speak a thousand words. Notice the artists on stage and figure out how you can capture their persona. Do not be afraid to approach people (anyone and everyone) and listen. Don’t be intimidated. :)
I would even suggest bringing a journal along (or just use your phone). I wrote down the stories throughout the festival and collected people’s emails on my phone/journal to send the photos to them later. It made people feel more comfortable knowing they would be receiving the photos I was taking of them.
But more than anything, the best recommendation I have for you is just to have a blast meeting new people and hearing and capturing their stories.