Often, while at a public event, it’s difficult to get clean photos without lots of distractions in the background. This happens to me particularly at reenactments, when you want to preserve the look of authenticity at the event and you have other spectators in almost every shot with bright red, green, and yellow clothing that clearly spoil the shot that you are looking for. When this happens I turn to the small details. Instead of trying to capture the reenactment scenes, I begin to look for the little details within the scenes. Here, a War of 1812 reenactor set down his spectacles on top of a piece or denim just outside of his tent. I was able to get this shot with only a flapping tablecloth in the background.
Not far from the spectacles, at the same reenactment, were 3 antique rifles sitting on a table. Once again, getting as close as I could, I captured the fine details of the rifle mechanisms without having to deal with distracting backgrounds.
For sure, I got lots of shots of the reenactment as well but I consider most of them merely record shots of an event, none of which I feel have much artistic merit to them. This is almost always my fallback position when faced with lots of distractions. Look for the clean backgrounds and sometimes the close-up shots where I can control the background and still get interesting details.