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Music Festival Photography

By Terri Stone

High prices. Baking sun. Big crowds. Yes, these all describe summer music festivals, but we love them anyway. And for the lucky few credentialed photographers, the festivals aren't just fun—they're income.  

Dana Pacifico, 29, is one of those photographers. "I've always loved going to concerts," she says. "I was that '90s kid bringing disposable cameras with me to Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC concerts to revel in glossy 4x6 CVS prints." But it wasn't until she saw Gorillaz headline Madison Square Garden in 2010 that she had the epiphany that shaped her future. "I said to myself, 'I want to be down there in the photo pit.'"

Travis Scott, Governors Ball Music Festival, 2018.

Florence + the Machine, Governors Ball Music Festival, 2019.

Crowd shot by Dana Pacifico.
Crowd shot by Dana Pacifico.

Crowd at Tame Impala, Bonnaroo, 2016 (left); Crowd, Governors Ball Music Festival, 2016 (right). "Large music events are like a spiritual experience for me," Pacifico says.

MØ, Hammerstein Ballroom, 2019.  

The 1975, Governors Ball Music Festival, 2019.

Governors Ball Music Festival, 2015.

Florence + the Machine, Barclays Center, 2016. Copyright Dana Pacifico.

Florence + the Machine, Barclays Center, 2016. 

Pacifico, who has a BFA in Photography from Parsons the New School of Design, smuggled a 35mm camera into every show she saw. In 2013, she finally secured proper credentials to photograph James Blake at Terminal 5. "It's been a wild journey ever since."